Awkward & Proud: Congratulations Issa Rae!

A friend of mine just blessed me with the breaking news (at least for me) that Issa Rae, creator of the web series Misadventures of Awkward Black Girl and Shonda Rhimes, best known for creating the hit TV series Grey’s Anatomy, are teaming up to work on a new television show together. My friend’s announcement linked me to Essence where I happily lapped up the details and verbally co-signed the author’s enthusiasm about this well-deserved opportunity for Rae. The show, I Hate LA Dudes,will air on ABC and per Deadline will be a half hour comedy that “…centers on an aspiring journalist, new to Los Angeles, who becomes the lone female voice on a budding, male-driven Internet talk show, while learning to decode the often humiliating and exasperating rules of the LA dating scene.” I. CAN’T. WAIT.

My love affair with Awkward Black Girl (ABG) began in summer of 2011 when a college connect (thanks J.S.) posted on Facebook (FB) about ABG’s Kickstarter campaign. She made it real clear that if her FB friends could go out and buy coffee and all kinds of random ass shit, we could certainly shell out a few dollars to support another female artist doing her thing. Thankfully her tactics worked and encouraged me to check out the campaign and the ABG site. I was hooked from the very first episode The Stop Sign. In this episode we meet Rae’s character J who is attempting to navigate life’s daily awkward moments. Between her hilariously deadpan, yet earnest expressions and her gangster-rapping inner voice, I became an ABG fan for life.

I’ve touted Rae’s comedic brilliance near and far and beseeching my diverse group of friends and acquaintances to NOT get caught up in the use of the word ‘black’ in the title. Yeah Issa Rae is black, but that does not mean the stories covered in her series are not universal. How many times have we all experienced the discomfort of running into someone in a narrow hallway at work AFTER we’ve already said hi, or breaking up with a boyfriend and rebounding in a brilliantly public crash and burn fashion, or even pretending to talk on your cell to avoid being asked for change on the city streets (maybe that’s just me). If any of these scenarios make you wince with recognition or simply laugh out loud you MUST check out this series.

Since last summer I’ve watched Issa Rae’s trajectory steadily building toward this fantastic partnership with Shonda Rhimes. If I’m honest, I have to admit I selfishly hoped Rae would get an opportunity to take Misadventures of Awkward Black Girl to HBO where we could enjoy J’s tale without fear of losing her inner gangsta rapper. However, watching the show online I’ve realized I like feeling like some kind of ‘insider’ with an invite to one of those underground word-of-mouth parties in some downtown warehouse in the cut. I’m so proud of Rae for not just talking about lack of diverse representations of black folks on TV, but for creating what she wanted to see. It takes a special brand of guts to not only say ‘fuck errbody, I’ma do my thing’ but to actually DO IT! Rae’s new partnership is going to expand her fan base for sure and in the meantime I’ma keep following ABG and Ratchetpiece Theatre.

Check out my 8/13/11 blog post Awkward Moments… that I wrote in honor of my then new-found love affair with all things ABG.


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