Why Was I Sleeping on Awkward Black Girl?: A Fresh Web Series Recommendation

Image courtesy of Amazon: Issa Rae as J in Misadventures of Awkward Black Girl.

Comedy| 2 Seasons|4-15m

Created By: Issa Rae
Starring: Issa Rae, Sujata Day, Tracy Oliver, Madison T. Shockley III, Andrew Allan James, Tristen Winger, Leah A. Williams, Lyman Johnson

Issa Rae came out swinging with her hit web series, The Mis-Adventures of Awkward Black Girl. Popularized on YouTube in 2011,  Rae flexed her acting, writing, and producing chops in this series about a woman named J (Rae), living in Los Angeles and trying to balance her life between a dead-end job and bad relationships. With interesting characters ranging from a white boss obsessed with black culture to a walking medical anomaly, Rae proved early on that she was meant for the big time.

Let me just say, I should be slapped with the force of a thousand YouTube Sensations for not watching this show until recently, especially considering that I found out about it by accident. A few days ago, while randomly going through Rae’s YouTube channel, I stumbled across this web series and was hooked from the first episode.  Showing a side of the black experience that is never shown in mainstream entertainment, this series was hilariously refreshing.

The first season was mostly dedicated to J’s love triangle with her co-worker, Fred (Madison T. Shockley III), and his goofy friend Jay (Lyman Johnson), whom she calls White Jay for obvious reasons. Also sprinkled throughout was J’s difficulties at work, and the struggles to make friends, as she sought other “awkward” people in hopes of connecting. Initially, episodes were only a few minutes long, but its growing popularity and confidence eventually elongated the episodes to ten minutes or more. Thankfully, the second season was just as amazing as the first, with even longer episodes and the same great humor. I am still amazed at how sharply written a series can be with a budget so low that it practically didn’t exist, but that just inspires me to keep writing because who cares about a budget when you have a great story to tell?

Vision and talent are everything, and Rae and company have both in spades. I cannot recommend The Mis-Adventures of Awkward Black Girl enough, especially if you’re  willing to give up a few hours to watch a few unknown actors give their all in a bunch of YouTube videos. I have made it a personal goal of mine to put all of my friends onto this web series, because I would hate for them to sleep on Rae’s early days like I once did.

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