Black History Month 20 for 20: Issa Rae - Issa Genius
Monday January 30th I was shooting the shit on Twitter as usual, and turned my attention to the love I have for Master P. My friend Courtney with a K inspired me to start this series (as you can see below). For every weekday in February, I will profile Black persons in celebration of Black History Month. #BHM20for20 Why only 20? Y’all too busy sinning on the weekend to read (I’m joking but not really). Thank you Kourtnee.
“Issa knife.” – 21 Savage
The above quote has generated so many social media anecdotes in the same fashion that Issa Rae, and her absolutely amazing show Insecure, have created a hotbed of anecdotes, memes, and real life celebrations/debates. Often times I feel as if we only celebrate people who are older than us, or who seem to be some mythical figure beyond our reach, and that’s not to say Issa Rae isn’t magic, she’s a fucking wizard but to me her most endearing quality is the transparency that helps me relate to her as a creative person.
I tend to relate to “unconventional” Black people, and Issa Rae is as “unconventional” as they come. Her popular web series, The Mis-Adventures of Awkward Black Girl made Issa an Internet sensation (which isn’t a bad thing at all considering the internet is the WORLDWIDE web). Awkward Black Girl became so popular that it caught the attention of none other than Pharrell Williams himself, and the 2nd season of the series aired on Williams’ i am OTHER platform. The highly praised series landed Issa on the Forbes 30 Under 30 list. Later that year, Issa Rae would link up with Larry Wilmore, and begin to script the show we now enjoy as Insecure. As much as I enjoy the show for it’s acting, it’s the creative process behind it that piqued my interest and made me a fan of Issa. The New York Times Best Selling book The Misadventures of Awkward Black Girl was all I needed to read to understand and look up to the artistic genius of Issa Rae.
Issa’s memoir, and how she openly discussed her “unconventional” Black experience is a breath of fresh air in a society polluted by posturing. The way Issa Rae integrated her personal experiences detailed in her memoir into her show is brilliant because as funny as she can be creative, nothing is funnier than the truth expressed in jest. There’s nothing awkward abut Black woman who comfortably displays herself skin in & skin out while giving both Black women & men the confidence to do the same. It’s very rare that I love anything in real time, and when I do? I tend to hold on to those things tighter than I would most others because they mean more to me. Insecure means something to me; someone writing books, and integrated them into something we see on a screen means something to me because that’s what I work towards every day of my life. I love Issa so much that I sided with her character over hashtag, “Lawrence Hive” (the bunch of fucking losers they are). I even reviewed season 1 of Insecure because I am that emotionally invested, on & off camera.
Issa Rae is a genius, a superstar, and has a top-5 smile on the planet (I’m in the top-5 too btw); there’s a very short list of people younger than me who I look up to, and Issa is in that top-5 as well.
In no shape, form or fashion do I ever want to burden anyone with a responsibility they didn’t ask for, but Issa Rae inspires me, and those of this “unconventional” Black experience. I look forward to Issa’s continued success, and will continue to be an inspired fan of all her future endeavors, including being a producer on Killing Lazarus a film that so happens to star my brother Tracey Dukes. Much love, and appreciation to Issa Rae from all the awkward, and “unconventional” niggas around the globe; you are Black History.
Being that tomorrow’s Valentime’s Day (yes with an M) it’s only right I celebrate a couple that embodies Black love.