7.28.2011

The Misadventures of the Awkward Black Girl


My apologies for not being an active narrator over the past couple of months. I've got one more week of indentured servitude left before I can officially go on my "working vacation." I'll return with more lessons/classes, a good book or two and an overdue recap of a movie I wish I could purchase for every Black woman on this planet.

Until then, I wish to share a series I am feeling: The Misadventures of the Awkward Black Girl, a project created by Issa Rae (pictured). This is not only a good opportunity for Asian men to catch a glimpse of the lives of a single Black woman and her friends, it's also a chance for Black women to discuss our diversity of experiences. -- Hateya

Why ABG exists by Issa Rae:
Television today has a very limited scope and range in its depictions of people of color. As a black woman, I don’t identify with and relate to most of the non-black characters I see on TV, much less characters of my own race. When I flip through the channels, it's disheartening. I don’t see myself or women like me being represented. I’m not a smooth, sexy, long-haired vixen; I’m not a large, sassy black woman; an angry Post Office employee. I’m an awkward black girl.
And I’m not alone.
I created this series as an extension of my everyday experiences, as well as my friends. I wanted to change the perception and portrayals of black women in television by creating characters and storylines that moved beyond stereotypes and one-dimensionality.
Ever since I launched the show in February, the response has been overwhelming. I’ve received hundreds of letters from fellow “Awkward Girls” all over the world exclaiming how much they relate to the show and the central character’s social struggles as she navigates through life’s many awkward situations. They are relieved to know that they aren’t alone. They're excited to see a character who represents them. Finally.
Now more than ever, we need more diverse characters and stories on-screen. The golden era of the 90’s is long gone. The great television shows from my childhood days—The Cosby Show, The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air, Martin, Living Single— are examples of what great television can and should be. Those shows were diverse, human, entertaining, and intelligent. Though the casts were primarily black, the show’s themes and storylines were universal, which was reflected in the millions of people who watched them every week.
Like Cosby and Fresh Prince, I believe ABG is also universal. It’s a series with a black female character in the lead role, but at its core, it’s about being “awkward,” which is a unifying and universal thing that we all have experienced in some capacity. With the series, the lead character, J, faces the most mundane and trivial problems, but they are problems that we all have encountered—and that’s where the humor and heart from the show originates.
ABG is simply about embracing the “awkward” person in each and every one of us and learning to accept and love ourselves for who we are.
(Below the cut, you'll find links to the first six episodes and a cast video. I can't upload videos from the computer I'm currently using. Sorry! - Hateya)

  • Episode 06 - The Stapler: Unable to properly deal with her personal frustration in the workplace, J is sent to anger management.
  • Kickstarter video: Cast discusses why you should support The Misadventures of Awkward Black Girl.
Issa Rae is a producer/director/writer striving to make her mark on the entertainment industry. She received her B.A. from Stanford University, where she produced and directed four theatrical productions, including two stage adaptations of Spike Lee films. Because film was her true passion, she took time off from Stanford to attend the New York Film Academy where she honed her filmmaking skills. Upon graduating, Issa Rae has worked on various music videos and shorts. "The Misadventures of Awkward Black Girl," often referred to as ABG, is Issa Rae's third web series. It has been featured on several sites and publications, including Vibe, Clutch magazine, Huffington Post, The Root, Shadow & Act, AOL, and an upcoming issue of Essence magazine. Rae recently signed with UTA and 3 Arts Entertainment with plans to turn ABG from a web series into a cable half-hour comedy. In addition, she has two other web series, which include, "Dorm Diaries" and her award-winning series, "FLY GUYS present the F Word."


13 comments:

  1. The series recharged me. Now I can continue with my Blasian novel with renewed vigor. One of my goals is to write my own Blasian series in this vein. As there are Asian men as far as the eye can see and beyond, all I need is a decent script, a camera and lovely young Black woman.

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  2. Episode 5 has music from Chrono Trigger! That's Schala's music!

    Argh Im such a nerd!

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  3. I love this web series. I'm excited to see it mentioned here :D

    "Did I die and go to simple bitch hell?"

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  4. I love this show I have been hooked ever since episode 1 came out and glad you guys are doing a post on it. it is so relatable every one who I have showed it were like "Yep that is sooo me right there."

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  5. This is one of my favorite things on the web. I remember waiting so anxiously for ep 6 and was rewarded in full! It has some of the best one liners. She's a genius.

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  6. Issa Rae did write an article about Asian men and Black women on her site: http://www.issarae.com/random-rant/black-women-asian-men-are-at-the-bottom-of-the-dating-totem-pole

    Although I gave her side eye for some of what she wrote (she used the "we're at the bottom to we should date each other method).

    But I enjoy ABG a lot. I can related to a lot of what she's gone through. Her show and K-Town Cowboys is the reason why cable companies should start looking at YouTube for ideas. Stop making those fuckin' shows about cops, doctors, and lawyers, and try something new!

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  7. Been meaning to watch this for a while now. FINALLY got around to it and really diggin' it!

    I am so proud of all these POC who are doing their own thing and making their mark. Like I often say, online media is now popular media, and online, we have a hell of a lot more say.

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  8. @Sha Sah

    I went and read that article to and had a similar reaction. It was so defeatist. Like "no one wants us so lets get together out of desperation". People should get together because they're genuinely attracted to each other and want to be with each other not because no one else will have them. Sad.

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  9. I went and read that article to and had a similar reaction. It was so defeatist. Like "no one wants us so lets get together out of desperation".

    Yeah...never been a fan of that mentality. I think it does more harm than good to Blasians.

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  10. @ShaSha, Pepp and Ankhesen

    Although I gave her side eye for some of what she wrote (she used the "we're at the bottom to we should date each other method).

    I suppose a part of this mentality stems from the American habit, regardless of ethnicity, of not being able to see beyond its own borders. Her post makes it seem as though Black women are actually LIMITED to long suffering Asian men in America. Obviously, despite all evidence to the contrary, American people can't grasp that a Black woman can have an Asian man from Asia who also has rank, privilege, status and substantial wealth in his own country.

    Black women don't need to settle for anyone's leftovers.

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  11. Please please please support Awkward Black Girl by going to Kickstarter and giving even $1. I really want to see this web series continued. I had no idea she was relying solely on donations until a moment ago when I saw one of the commenters on YouTube implore people to lend financial support.

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  12. This is pretty awesome. Don't have time to watch right now, but 'bout time. If we don't tell our stories, no one else will, so big ups to the ABG.

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  13. The only reason I stopped watching ABG is because of the excessive profanity. It's grating!

    And if I hear ONE MORE person saying how horribly unattractive and "bottom of the barrel/totem pole/food chain" black women are... if we are so bottom of the barrel and unwanted then WHY does the American media fixate so intently on who we are choosing as mates? Please. It ridiculous. The worst thing of all is when black women themselves go on and shout that foolishness from the rooftops!

    Asian men aren't the bottom of anything either, whether they be foreign OR American born. There are some guys who are not about anything, but there are lots of quality Asian guys out there too.

    Maybe I will give ABG another look, since it is a very funny show.

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