On November 27th 2016, the season finale of “Insecure” aired on HBO, garnering the attention of viewers who were eager to watch Issa and Lawrence’s breakup unfold. The episode divided the audience into #TeamIssa and #TeamLawrence, and became the topic of conversation among social media, group chats, and any other setting involving more than one person.
There is no denying it, “Insecure” has been praised, especially within the African American community. Issa Rae’s diligence has started to pay off since her humble beginnings as an awkward black girl. She is on the come up. Her glow up is real.
Born Jo-Issa Rae Diop, Issa began acting when she was a student at King Drew Magnet High School of Medicine and Science in Los Angeles, California. She further developed this interest during her time at Stanford University, creating music videos, plays, web series and mock reality shows. Following graduation, she took her talents to The New York Film Academy after receiving a fellowship from the Public Theater in New York City. While she struggled to decide between business and law school she and Tracy Oliver, a producer and fellow Stanford alum, teamed up to bring life to an idea she’d been brewing up: a web series, entitled “The Misadventures of Awkward Black Girl.”
Funding a web series proved to be quite costly for Issa and Tracy, who were paying out of pocket. According to a Vulture article, the tight budget was one of the main reasons Issa decided to act in her own series. It was ultimately a Kickstarter campaign that raised $56,000 and helped them pay for a few more episodes than the six they’d already self-funded.The series went viral in 2011, but even then Issa displayed thoughts of a visionary as she made the following statement in an interview with Vulture that year:
“I would love ‘Awkward Black Girl’ to be on television, with the right team of people who understand and get it. If ‘Awkward Black Girl’ could make it to HBO starring a dark-skinned black girl, that would be revolutionary,” she told Vulture.
Roughly five years later, “Insecure,” an HBO series partially based on “The Misadventures of Awkward Black Girl,” was born. Since then, it has gone on to receive nominations for the NAACP Image Awards and The Golden Globe Awards. If that wasn’t enough recognition, during last year’s White House Christmas party, Issa found out former president Barack Obama was a fan of her show. That night, she tweeted “President Obama actually spoke to me at length about #InsecureHBO. Like … HOW ‘POSED TO RECOVER?! HOW?!” as well as a tweet about Obama hugging her mother.
Issa Rae is finally getting the credit for her work, which also includes her memoir, “The Misadventures of Awkward Black Girl”, and the platform she created to tell the stories of people of color. She is well deserving of the accolades, to which we are proud to add EGL Chick of the Week!
Written By: Sweenie Saint-Vil