Issa Rae realized she had to strike just the right balance between homage and humor with her new series, “The Michelle Obama Diaries.”
The series premiered last week and some viewers are already questioning whether the comedic web show is disrespectful to the first lady. That’s something Issa understands, but she said she loves and respects Michelle as much as anyone.
“Everybody loves Michelle. Michelle is like every person in the Black community’s dear aunt or mother figure, so you can’t really mess her up,” Issa told Sister 2 Sister.
The first episode of “Diaries” offers Michelle’s fictional reaction to the president’s first debate against Republican opponent Mitt Romney.
“He choked. I knew we shouldn’t have had anniversary sex on the plane,” said the Michelle portrayer, who also jokes about her high approval rating, “Scandal,” Honey Boo Boo and being raised in Chi-Town.
“Don’t let this fabulous J. Crew ensemble fool you. I’m from the South Side of Chicago. Recognize,” she warns.
Issa, whose web series “Awkward Black Girl” and “Roomie, Lover, Friend” have received high praise, admitted that infusing some humor into the regal first lady was tricky.
“I didn’t want to disrespect her because I love Michelle as well, but I kind of wanted to show her in a comedic light,” she said. “I wanted to show her in the best light possible, but still poke fun at the stress she might be going through in the White House.”
With reality shows offering images of minority women physically fighting with one another and few Black actresses in scripted roles, Issa said she is conscious of how she represents Black women.
“I am very, very conscious of the representation of sisters. That’s kind of why I started. I wanted to bring new images of women that I could relate to,” she said.
Issa talks about her upcoming TV series in the January 2013 issue of Sister 2 Sister.
Get a look at "The Michelle Obama Diaries," below.
Watch more from Issa’s S2S interview below.
Find out more about the popular web series, below.
—Tracy L. Scott
Is the web series funny, or do you find it disrespectful? Leave your comments below.