Before Issa Rae, it never would have occurred to me that I could get hooked on a web series on Youtube. But after being introduced to “The Mis-Adventures of and Awkward Black Girl” I was rushing to Youtube every week to see how J was going to deal with racial and cultural insensitivity in her workplace, making friends, dating interracially, dealing with obnoxious and annoying co-workers with odd and irritating behaviors (people who speak in really a really tone when they’re right in front of me drive me crazy as well) and also being conscious of the ways in which her own awkwardness defines her and her relationships.
Being a Black woman, working in an office, dealing with ignorance, pet peeves and tough dating choices is something that as women of color we can all relate to. But Issa’s exploration of the role in which “Awkwardness” plays in her every day life and her use of it as a metaphor for the discomfort caused by a range of social insensitivity was an application of comedy as it related to the life of a woman of color that I had never seen before in quite this way. What it means when someone really gets you has long been relegated to comedies like “Friends” and “Seinfeld” where the New York locations we natives are familiar with all feature prominently but our faces are for the most part are non-existent.
As producer, writer and director of “Misadventures of and Awkward Black Girl” Issae took it upon herself to fill a void in the white washed world of comedy and tell a story she had never seen told on network television. This web series was very much a do it yourself collaborative effort by a group of people who dedicated themselves to very involved and detailed shooting schedules while still working day jobs themselves. Thanks to the overwhelming response of viewers, followers and fans of the series, Issa has been able to finance entire seasons in response to the demand for more. Which reminds me I really need to catch up!
Since the success of this web series Issa has written a book, developed other youtube webisodes and also signed a deal with HBO to release a new show called “Insecure.”
I can’t wait to see where Issa’s adventures on a major network take her next.