If you watched Issa Rae’s “The Misadventures of an Awkward Black Girl” then you know how in love with her and all of her work I am.
To fall in love was easy, the 30yr old, director, writer, actress and producer is brilliant and she deserves everything thing she is fighting for.
Recently she was featured in the NY Times and in the article she spoke about how difficult it has been to transition her work to television.
With the growth of show’s like Empire, Scandal and How to Get Away With Murder there is a clear message that the viewing audience love complexed black characters.
Yet the pitch is still hard, I take that back, the pitch is easy but in order for you to transition to TV it comes with massive changes to a body of work that needs no change.
Issa speculated on this very thing in the piece:
‘It still feels like we need to be in charge to prioritize story lines. Behind the scenes, it can be very white.’’ I asked if she thought that mattered. ‘‘I think so,’’ she said. ‘‘Otherwise, it could just be a trend.’’
To further make that point she told the story about production companies who expressed interest in “Awkward Black Girl” for TV but instead of taking it as is, with either her or an actress like her, they wanted to rework the entire thing.
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Her own show was an instant hit online in 2011, and soon a number of networks and production companies expressed interest in adapting ‘‘Awkward Black Girl’’ for prime-time TV.
To Rae’s disappointment, most wanted to completely rework the show. Rae recalls a phone conversation with a network executive who wanted to make it into a pan-racial franchise operation, starting with ‘‘Awkward Indian Boy.’’
Another suggested Rae recast the lead with a lighter-skinned actress with long, straight hair — in essence, the exact opposite of Rae. She turned down the offers.
‘‘They wanted to make it as broad as possible, broadly niche, but I was like: No, that’s not what this is about,’’
They wanted to white wash the whole thing, still, even after all of the success she has had over the years. Hollywood is still afraid of the awkward black girl who isn’t presented as a pregnant teenager swallowing down a bucket of chicken, (Precious) or a prostitute or a classless reality star. Read her article here.