'Awkward Black Girl' Forges a Successful Path

Issa Rae, the creator and star of the Web series, has created a template for success.

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Issa Rae

The Misadventures of Awkward Black Girl, a Web series chronicling the daily foibles of J, played by Issa Rae, is more than a comedy; it's a study guide to steady media success. The New York Times argues that Rae's series, now a part of producer Pharrell Williams' IamOTHER YouTube channel, and its path to larger markers of growth could be a lesson to other Internet entertainment hopefuls.

A couple of the entries were strikingly bold, particularly one in which Ms. Rae — who writes, produces and stars — likened training sessions at J's workplace to black sorority pledge hazing, or the one in which CeCe (Sujata Day), J's Indian-American friend, prepared J for her first date with a white guy.

"Tonight you're gonna wanna wear something that shows off your curves but still reminds him that you can read," CeCe tells her. "But the most important thing is to be casual. White guys are always casual, even when they're dressed up."

In an earlier episode J woke up on White Jay's couch, but her life had become no more comfortable. There's still the bum job, at Gutbusters Inc., which sells a nebulous fat-fighting product. And even though J has chosen her man, she's still forever on guard around the one she didn't choose ...

For people so interested, "The Misadventures of Awkward Black Girl" is a great template. Start small, build a following, raise money as proof of a concept, get bigger, garner early mainstream support, expand cautiously and, with luck, jump to a bigger screen. There’s a path here waiting to be followed.

Read more at the New York Times.

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