"The Misadventures of Awkward Black Girl" creator Issa Rae is speaking out about the racism she’s suffered following her success at the Shorty Awards.
#ThatAwkwardMoment when you realize racism is still a thing.
Just days after a rash of racist tweets about The Hunger Games was put on blast, it looks like the beloved web series "Awkward Black Girl" (or "ABG" for those in the know) has been targeted too!
On Monday night, "Awkward Black Girl" beat out 783 other online shows to win the 2012 Shorty Award for Best Web Show. The Shortys celebrate the best in social media and online content.
Issa didn’t get to enjoy the well-deserved victory long before detractors began hurling racist sentiments at her via the Internet. Shortly after announcing the win, Issa said the "Internet-equivalent of the Tea Party appeared."
One person started the trending topic on Twitter #ThingsBetterThanAwkwardBlackGirl. One tweeter called her a "n!ggerette" while another person tweeted, "I nominate @awkwardblkgrl for a @shortyawards in #cottonpicking." Still another one stated, "Congrats on winning do you get 3/5 of an award?"
Most shockingly, though, one man tweeted, "#ThingsBetterThanAwkwardBlackGirl The smell coming from Treyvon Martin."
In a blog post written for XOJane.com, Issa pegged the source of the bitterness as producers and fans of two of the other nominees. She sarcastically guesses that perhaps that were upset because "many had traveled to and paid to attend the New York ceremony, ready to receive what was obviously due to them."
Issa believes that had another show won, specifically one starring White people, then the offense of losing wouldn’t have been as bad. But she thinks the fact that a Black show won added insult to injury because they are assumed to be not as good.
"The bewilderment that our show not only exists, but that it could actually be good is indicative of how mainstream media thinks," Isaa wrote. "I’m pretty sure none of the people tweeting that I’d only get three-fifths of my award had even seen an episode of our show, but they were 100-percent positive that it couldn’t be as good as whatever it is someone who didn’t look like me produced."
According to Issa, one of the reasons she loved TV in the ’90s was because there was so much diversity, particularly shows starring Black people. She listed shows such as "Living Single," "New York Undercover," "Martin," "Moesha" and "The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air" as just a few examples. However, she feels that the TV landscape has become decidedly monochromatic as relatable characters of color are few and far between.
That’s a big part of why she created "The Misadventures of Awkward Black Girl," and she points to reactions to her win as another reason why her show is so important. "This mindset is exactly why creative shows of color don’t get to exist on television anymore," she stated. "There’s an overbearing sense of entitlement that refuses to allow shows of color to thrive. How dare we even try?"
Happily, she was able to get at least one convert from among her haters, who actually bothered to find her show. After watching a few episodes of "Awkward Black Girl," the person admitted to her, "So I actually watched an episode of your Shorty Award-winning web show and it’s really quite good. Congrats."
"That, to me, was the best thing ever," Issa wrote. "Amidst the anger, hatred and the obnoxious quest to be offensively extreme, she put all of that aside and acknowledged that she enjoyed the show. It’s what gives me hope and keeps me going."
And the "Awkward Black Girl" star acknowledged that her detractors served another purpose, and she is appreciative of that. "I just want to thank the sore losers for promoting the hell out our web series and most importantly, for causing it to exist," she blogged. "Because of your ignorance and extremism, you’ve made it possible for us to succeed."
Issa summed it up sharply, writing, "You helped us WIN! And thank you so much for continuing to lose, we’re really grateful for it."
Check out one of our favorite episodes of "Awkward Black Girl" below!