The Misadventures of Awkward Black Girl goes against everything the mainstream media knows about making a hit TV show.
Issa Rae directs and stars as Jay, a black woman who is not a size zero, as she navigates through life’s many awkward and embarrassing moments. Through YouTube, Rae has found a huge international audience, proving that you don’t have to be a white man to be an entertainment success.
“[J]ust because she’s a black female lead doesn’t mean you can’t relate to her,” Rae once told NPR. “And I think that that speaks more to mainstream media because there just is this sort of perception that, you know, if a black person is in the lead, then it has to be for black people.”
From faking phone conversations in order to avoid coworkers, to dropping a tampon out of her purse in front of a date, there’s now no doubt that Jay’s awkward moments are universally relatable. Today, The Misadventures of Awkward Black Girl has 450,000 viewers, a Shorty Award for Best Web Show, and funding from rapper Pharrell Williams’ creative company, iamOTHER.
It’s a far cry from last summer, when Rae and her cohorts were concerned that if they couldn’t meet their Kickstarter goal, they wouldn’t be able to afford the second half of the season. That all changed when Williams contacted her, Rae told Essence.
Hat tip on Orsini: Susannah Breslin who highlighted her at Forbes.
Here’s the first episode of The Misadventures of Awkward Black Girl in season 2:
I’ll have to watch a few more episodes before making any solid judgments about the show but this seems to be a variation of the same genre as Lena Dunham and Girls on HBO which I wrote about yesterday. And my reaction is the same: I’ve known too many people who are just like this. So yes, it’s entertaining and clever — but watching it is more an awkward stumble down memory lane, not a lighthearted escape.