While many of us are familiar with the hilarious yet relatable web series, Awkward Black Girl (ABG), many of us only know Issa Rae and her finished product which we eagerly viewed and died laughing at (while yelling that JUST happened to me at our laptop screens).
What many of us do not know is the confidence in her work she must have possessed to get thus far. We have not seen the amount or pressure from networks and those around her for her to make her work less “black” and more broad and tangible for a wider audience.
A recent profile on Rae by New York Times Magazine highlights some of the many obstacles she had to overcome to get to where she is today. The article details her eclectic upbringing and desire to help pave the way for other content creators of color, yet one of the greatest takeaways is how hard she fought to bring to you the ABG that you know and love today.
After ABG became an online hit back in 2011, many major networks came knocking, looking to pick up the show, yet with many tweaks and contingencies. From making it a more universal series that includes titles like Awkward Indian Boy, to recasting the lead of ABG with a lighter skinned actress with long and straight hair to going with an “experienced” writing crew as opposed to a young and fresh “diverse” (read…people of color with new ideas).
While others may have succumbed to big network pressures, especially when face to face with lucrative deals, Rae stayed true to herself and her vision. As Insecure moves through the negotiation progress at HBO, Rae continues to support the next generation of creators through her companies, Issae Rae Productions and Color Creative.
Issa Rae is a true testament to achieving success on her own terms while staying true to herself. We can’t wait to see Insecure when HBO gets their lives together!