Why Issa Rae Checked Her Phone During Betty White's Emmys Speech Actually Makes So Much Sense — VIDEO
Has any other device ever been so useful, but also so apt at getting humans in trouble as the cell phone? During the 2018 Emmys, Best Lead Actress in a Comedy nominee Issa Rae was caught on camera checking her phone during Betty White's speech, and Twitter promptly lost it. There were tweets dragging Rae for what users saw as a slight against the iconic Golden Girls star, while others defended her right to check her phone whenever she pleased. Now Rae has spoken out about that phone snafu on Jimmy Kimmel Live!, and her reason for glancing at her phone while White was speaking is totally understandable. It's also relatable in this age of constant connection.
Rae explained to Kimmel,
"First of all, I love Betty White, and I was hanging onto her every word. This cameraman was shady. My phone broke. My family was probably texting me because I had just lost and so I was trying to silence it. I actually don't know what I was doing, to be honest, but I was paying attention."
Think about how many times a day you check your phone, even at work or at an important function. Cell phones are such a major part of everyone's lives now that it's just an automatic reflex for many people to glance down at them no matter what's going on. And if your phone's malfunctioning or your mom's texting, then, yeah, even if Betty White herself is onstage, you're probably going to look down at your device to see what's going on — even if you're a celebrity at the Emmys.
In the same interview, Rae also tells Kimmel that her family was upset that she lost, as were many of her fans. After all, Rae is the star, creator, producer, and writer of her hit HBO show Insecure, and she deserves major accolades for creating a series that speaks to so many people. Her family gathered together in hopes of seeing her win, and they were no doubt texting words of disappointment and support after she lost. And you don't ignore your family's texts, that's just a rule.
Rae also pointed out that the people tweeting outrage were also using their phones during the ceremony, even if they were in their own homes. "People were tweeting while they were going off on me, so they were tweeting during Betty White's speech while being mad at me for checking my phone," she told Kimmel.
It's also worth noting that this was a single moment caught at the beginning of the speech, and Rae was standing along with everyone else — multitasking is a thing, and Rae's multi-hyphenate career proves she's basically a master at it. As for White, the legendary comedian is no diva. She'd probably tell Rae to live her life and forget the haters, because that's what she's been doing for the past 96 years.
Rae may not remember the exact reason why she glanced down at her phone at that moment, but ultimately it's no one's business but her own. She also makes it pretty clear that she has nothing but respect for White. There was no dissing happening here, just a super talented woman glancing at her phone like everyone else does a million times a day.