“The Misadventures of Awkward Black Girl” is a show on YouTube. It stars Issa Rae as J, the title character. The following is a cross post from Ankhesen Mié’s blog, At the Bar:
I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: I don’t want TV to go anywhere near this show. I don’t even care if it’s HBO. If TPTB get their hands on ABG, they will fucking ruin it.
Or…we’ll get one semi-decent season, and then it’ll be canceled, while the network conveniently hangs onto the rights to it and keeps anyone else from touching it.
J’s story is not universal. The awkward moments are, but outside of that, her story is that of a WoC’s living, dating, and working in America. There’s nothing “universal” about that. Once TPTB get a hold of something like this, they’re going to do something crazy like tell Issa she has to wear her hair differently, or tell Tracy Oliver to lose some weight (or simply recast them both), while the white fans who never watched the show before will flock to blogs and forums to talk about how they hate the fact White Jay is called “White Jay”, and how he and J “have no chemistry” – no. I refuse.
The Misadventures of Awkward Black Girl and Ktown Cowboys are perfect examples of what happens when POC take matters into their own hands and make.shit.happen. Their creators and actors have reclaimed the POC entrepreneurial spirit which our predecessors wielded with deadly force. There really is no excuse for our generation at this point – PayPal, YouTube, Facebook, and Kickstarter have made a 21st Century American POC Renaissance possible, and we have to continue on our own.
Now that you have our attention, set up a website where fans can pay $5/mo for unlimited viewing. That’s a reasonable $60/year for each of us, and since a show like ABG has at least 25000 fans, that’s a generous $125,000/mo for them. ABG and Ktown Cowboys have shown us that we don’t need to see special effects or massive explosions, or ridiculous, over-the-top wardrobes. We just need to see us. We just need to see people who look like us, sound like us, and behave the way we do in real life, without someone else’s agenda coloring the script. I watch a 10-minute episode of ABG and it sends me straight to Cloud Nine. I end each episode feening for the next one. I see a dark chocolate, natural-haired black woman being witty and holding it down on her own show and I am catapulted into heaven.
So congrats to Issa Rae & Co. for all their amazing accomplishments. I am in awe. I am impressed to see Issa on CNN; it’s a testament to how much attention her show has garnered. But for the love of all that is holy, ABG needs to stay in firmly her hands and the hands of her fans.