Issa Rae, 27, is beginning to make her mark in Hollywood. She recently sold with Shonda Rhimes a half hour comedy to ABC, I Hate L.A. Dudes, which is about a journalist who moves to Los Angeles to be the sole woman on an internet talk show while navigating the often horrific L.A. dating scene.
Rae’s success stems from her wildly popular and hilarious webseries, The Misadventures of Awkward Black Girl, which she created and stars in. The first episode appeared on You Tube in February 2011 focusing on J, an awkward, rap loving, dating phobic woman. In a voice over, J tells the audience, that she’s “awkward and black. Someone once told me those were the two worst things to be.” The series now has 15 episodes and over 12 million views.
Clearly, from the success of Awkward Black Girl, there is an audience for the content Rae is creating. And it’s exciting to see a woman using the internet to create the material that she wants to see in media. Rae herself, sees many opportunities via You Tube, especially for women.
I think there are way more opportunities and advantages for women on YouTube. It really provides an unique opportunity to find your own audience, big or small, for whatever it is that you do.
Rae’s fresh and honest approach in looking at race and breaking out of racial stereotypes is a voice we desperately need on television. As Jason Parham wrote in an piece about Rae for The Atlantic states:
Never before has the landscape for black sitcoms—or quality, minority-focused programming in general—been in such dire straits.
Parham hopes Rae is the future of the black sitcom on television. We hope he’s right.
Issa Rae and her Web Series ‘The Misadventures of Awkward Black Girl’ are Rising Stars (The Washington Post)
Could Issa Rae Save the Black Sitcom? (The Atlantic)