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  • Jayden Pierce

Thank You Issa

Issa Rae celebrates the 10th anniversary of her award-winning web series The Misadventures of Awkward Black Girl. Rae, the actress, writer, and producer, embarks on a new journey, finishing her 11 times Emmy nominated and Peabody award-winning show Insecure. Insecure has run four seasons strong with a final fifth season later this year. Both shows created by and starring Rae focus on showcasing black people who are unrepresented in media.

In media, the term ghetto gold applies to the majority of early 2000s shows in reality TV. White producers, looking for black people to play in shows like Charm school (a flavor of love spin-off) and Bad Girls Club. These shows highlight the negative stereotypes put upon black people and exploit them for views.

Rae created her two shows from personal reflection during the exploration of her twenties and early thirties versions of herself. She brought black representation into a new light. Not allowing her shows to represent one black person or one archetype. Rae takes specific black people to breathe life into her characters.

In an interview with Vogue, Rae attributes her early twenties to The Misadventures of Awkward Black Girl and connecting her late twenties through early thirties to Insecure (Subair 2021).

The stories of how The Misadventures of Awkward Black Girl came to be through the community are inspiring. Rae started the show on youtube. With two of her friends with access to her dad’s clinic, her apartment, and her car to get the show started. As the show progressed, Rae began getting offers for help with production, sound, and lighting, making the show progressively get better. Her community rallied around her, bringing her a crew and a cast majority of them being her friends.

This show laid the groundwork for Insecure having similar themes of community portrayed in the show. While also keeping the awkward black girl trope and amplifying diverse and unique black voices within her TV community.

Ghetto Gold doesn’t exist in Rae’s work. She doesn’t take black experiences or trauma and capitalize off them, instead, she utilizes her authentic life and the community around her. Rae’s work in The Misadventures of Awkward Black Girl, Insecure, and her constant support of black creatives makes her someone to admire.


Finley, Taryn. “10 Years After ‘Awkward Black Girl,’ Issa Rae Reflects On The Table She’s Built.” HuffPost, HuffPost, 3 Feb. 2021,

Samaha, Barry. “Issa Rae’s Style Continues to Get Brighter and Bolder.” Harper’s BAZAAR, Harper’s BAZAAR, 22 Sept. 2020,

Subair, Eni. “10 Years ‘After Awkward Black Girl,’ Issa Rae Discusses the Last Season of ‘Insecure’.” Vogue, Vogue, 3 Feb. 2021,

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