Real Talk: Good News for Issa Rae Is Good News for Us
Michael Rowe
I can’t get enough of Issa Rae, the all-things-fab Black girl who created hit web series The Misadventures of Awkward Black Girl. I’m one of the millions of viewers who has been watching the show, and Rae’s popularity, rise. I tuned in late — sorry, Issa, I didn’t know! But my former co-worker and cubicle mate used to randomly quote the show’s hilarious one-liners and then put me on to the brilliance I was missing. I was hooked at first view. This has been a big year for Rae. I had my figurative pom poms ready when she  teamed with Pharrell Williams, who presented the second season of her show on his YouTube channel, i am OTHER, earlier this year. Via Rae’s Twitter, I knew to look out for her appearance on TJ Holmes’ new BET show Don’t Sleep as the host of “This Week in Ratchet.” And yesterday, I was ready to backflip when the Washington Post announced that Rae had teamed up with Grey’s Anatomy producer Shonda Rhimes to write and co-executive produce a new show on ABC, I Hate LA Dudes. According to Deadline, the half-hour comedy will center on “an aspiring journalist, new to Los Angeles, who becomes the lone female voice on a budding, male-driven Internet talk show, while learning to decode the often humiliating and exasperating rules of the L.A. dating scene.” I’ve got my own wild tales from dating in L.A. that involve a crazy weekend at the ESPYs; discovering an odd mating approach (without any introduction, men hand women their phones and instruct them to put their number in); and a late-night diner excursion with Suge Knight, who was a perfect gentleman — no lie. (You can read all about it here.) So I can’t wait to see what juicy bits Rae has in store for us. Rae, always humble even as she racks up accolades — she won Best Web Series at the Shorty Awards, which acknowledge the best content producers on social media, and was honored by ESSENCE at the Evening of Excellence Awards last month at the Congressional Black Caucus — told the Washington Post that working with Rhimes has “been a dream.” The fulfillment of her dream is mine too. Rae has often said that one her biggest issues with Black women on TV is that she doesn’t see reflections of herself, which has always been my gripe as well. Speaking to the Post, she added that her new show proves “there are still opportunities for awkward black girls.” You know well how badly I want more from the images of Black women on TV, or just TV period. Reality shows are entertaining, but so many of the images cater to the lowest common denominator. And while I enjoy reality series like Tia & Tamera, Mary Mary and R&B Divas, I still miss well-written scripted shows, like Martin, A Different World and Living Single, which captured our interests in the ’80s and ’90s. Of course, I tune in to Scandal each Thursday to catch Kerry Washington, but I greedily want more, more, more! I’m glad ABC is filling my hunger by adding Rae and Rhimes’ collaboration to our TV lineup! Demetria L. Lucas is the author of A Belle in Brooklyn: The Go-to Girl for Advice on Living Your Best Single Life (Atria) in stores now. Follow her on Twitter @abelleinbk