Issa Rae, the creator and star of the webseries Awkward Black Girl, recently launched a Kickstarter campaign to raise $30,000 to keep the show going. Fans donated $56,259 for five more episodes. Clearly, says ColorLines’ Akiba Solomon, “there’s a demand for black, female-centered satire that deals with isms in the same breath as office-stapler theft.”
She talked to Rae about support (or lack thereof) for black movies in Hollywood, the future of the series and how the industry might be different for a white girl. Read an excerpt here:
I can’t imagine a show like this originating on television — network or cable. Everybody looks and acts so — regular.
Half the people in the show are my friends! I knew Tracy, who plays Nina, from college. I went to high school with Tristen Winger, who plays Baby Voice Darius. My little brother, Enimal, does all of the scoring and he guest stars. I just had to tap into my resources and carve out this Web space because studios aren’t supporting our work. The reality is that studios don’t like to make black movies. No matter how good your script is, they’re trying to replicate Tyler Perry’s work, put out his work, or just do movies like “The Help.”
You graduated from Stanford with a poly-sci and African American history degree. Any other observations about Hollywood’s race problem?
I would say that right now, Hollywood doesn’t understand race and they’re not considering it. It’s up to us to acknowledge and combat the stereotypes because mainstream media just don’t care. They’re making money either way.
It seems like you’ve found another way. Do you have industry people trying to figure out how you’ve pulled this off?
A couple of people have asked me, but it’s not like they’re falling all over me to get this made. I know if I was a white girl, people would be on me tough. But I’m not a white girl. [Laughs.]
Read more at ColorLines.