Yesterday Issa Rae announced that she will co-write and star in a new scripted series for HBO based off of her web-series The Misadventures of Awkward Black Girl. If you don’t know Issa Rae, prepare to hear her name a lot more in the coming months. Funded through Kickstarter, Awkward Black Girl debuted in 2011 and wrapped its second season this past Spring. Last October Rae announced that she would be collaborating with Shonda Rhimes (the genius behind Grey’s Anatomy and my fave drama, Scandal) to bring I Hate L.A. Dudes to ABC. While that was awesome, I really wished that she would bring Awkward Black Girl to the small screen. Wish granted!
Issa writes, produces, and stars in Awkward Black Girl as J, a twenty-something-year-old black woman who hates her post-college job and co-workers and humorously raps out her frustrations. Why do I love this web series so much? Oh, only because I am J. The situations J finds herself in are just so… me. I love that she embraces her Blackness without being consumed by it. The series is funny, fresh and the character of J is not your stereotypical portrayal of a “Black girl.” However, the show is far from politically correct and Rae is unapologetically honest, about her feelings on everything from interracial relationships to one-night stands. (That's a disclaimer for the easily offended.)
Below are some of my favorite quotes from Awkward Black Girl:
“We should scratch her scalp and put a perm in it.”
“What would ninetie’s Nia Long do?”
“I wish I could ‘White girl’ my mom.”
“You look like you’re going to church. A white one where people don’t care how you look.”
I don’t want to compare her to Girls creator Lena Dunham, or even Shonda Rhimes. These women are creative geniuses who have brought new perspectives to television and each deserve individual recognition. But words cannot describe how happy I am to see the beginning stages of a project that will bring the voice of a young Black woman to a nationwide audience. I'm curious to see how far they will go in censoring Rae although I'm not too worried. After all, it is HBO.
So, while this HBO project is still in the drafting phase, I recommend that you watch both seasons of Awkward Black Girl on Issa Rae’s Youtube channel. (It should take you less than three hours.) You can be like a hipster and say, “I knew about Issa Rae before the Emmy Nominations…” I promise I won’t blow up your spot and say I put you on!
Here's a trailer promoting season two.
Here's a video of Issa Rae giving commentary on rap song "U.O.E.N.O".