While late to the game I fell in love with Issa Rae’s webseries, Awkward Black Girl, for its honest and hilarious interrogation of race and race relations via the lens of some very typical situations. From her humble approach to her daring showcasing of other talents (i.e. her rapping skills) I felt endeared to her struggles with dating, co-workers, and friends each episode. Watching the web show with my best friend or my aunt made the ‘Awkward Black Girl’ experience less…awkward and more…laughable and okay. However, reactions to Ms. Rae’s big win at the Shorty Award reveals that being Black is still awkward for some.
The 2012 Shorty Awards served as a platform to honor the very best in the world of social media. In the category of Best Web Show, Awkward Black Girl won over 783 competitors through some intense social media campaigning. When announced the same venue that applauded ABG’s efforts backlashed with some very hateful comments:
Needless to say, the comments were much less about the content of the character of ABG but the color of the producer’s skin. Issa addressed the comments in a mature and reflective article with the following statements:
“…[the negative reaction] it not only makes me laugh, but it reminds me of why I wanted to create ABG in the first place…This mindset is exactly why creative shows of color don’t get to exist on television anymore. There’s an overbearing sense of entitlement that refuses to allow shows of color to thrive. How dare we even try?
The next morning, in a pleasant twist, I noticed that one of the members of the web series who had initially written something negative about us, tweeted us again: “OK. So I actually watched an episode of your Shorty Award-winning web show and it’s really quite good. Congrats.”
And that, to me, was the best thing ever. Amidst the anger, hatred and the obnoxious quest to be offensively extreme, she put all of that aside and acknowledged that she enjoyed the show.”
Good for you Issa Rae! Congratulations and thank you for daring and taking such a honest yet positive stance on and off camera.
Below is a clip for the lovers and haters!