Issa Rae: “I Felt Like My Voice Was Missing”

Issa Rae

Issa Rae/Photo: Jonathan Leibson/Getty Images for FIJI Water

You may be familiar with Issa Rae’s hit series, Insecure, on HBO, but she’s certainly not new to curating dope content for Black men and women.

Issa got her start on YouTube with her first web series, Dorm Diaries, which she produced her senior year at Stanford University. The series focused on student life at Stanford with an all-Black cast and it quickly circulated around campus and eventually made its way to Georgetown and Harvard. It was then that Issa realized she had a knack for portraying everyday Black life.

In 2011, Issa created The Misadventures of Awkward Black Girl because she could not relate to the Hollywood stereotypes of Black women and felt they were limiting. “I felt like my voice was missing, and the voices of other people that I really respect and admire and want to see in the mainstream are missing,” Issa said in a past interview.

ABG focuses on the life of J as she interacts with coworkers and love interests who place her in uncomfortable situations. Funds were tight for Issa so in effort to raise money to fund the rest of the first season, Issa and producer Tracy Oliver decided to raise funds for the series through Kickstarter. With 1,960 donations they were awarded $56, 269 and released the rest of the season on Issa’s YouTube Channel.