Awkward Black Girl: The Gospel of Issa Rae

This entry is part 3 of 2 in the series College: What the F@#k Even Was That?

I want to say I discovered Issa Rae during my freshman year of college. 2015, two years after Awkward Black Girl and two years before the news that her new show, Insecure, hit the blogs. In that year and a half, I basically stalked Issa Rae’s career. I watched every press junket, internet blog interview, screening appearance, everything. I was high key obsessed. When I came across ABG, (on Tumblr – an era for another post) I thought the shit was fucking hilarious. I had, hands down, never seen anything so relatable.

I too was an awkward black girl.

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And I had never felt so understood. I was already in my feelings about what the plan was for after college. I was meeting a lot of new people and having the same cringy, awkward ass moments and it really gave me peace of mind to know I wasn’t the only bitch out here wondering what the hell was really going on.

So meantime, in between time, my bitch Issa was cookin. I had subscribed to her YouTube channel Issa Rae Presents – where she is still producing and releasing phenomenal content, btw – and I followed her on Instagram.

For a while there was chatter about something about a show called “I Hate L.A. Dudes” that was supposedly in the works. She mentioned it a couple times in some interview clips that I’d seen. A few months passed on that and crickets. I rewatched ABG.

Then she released her book, titled The Misadventures of Awkward Black Girl. I didn’t get around to reading it until a few months ago, actually.

As a broke ass junior in undergrad, I couldn’t afford any leisure reading.

But I read all the rave reviews it got and watched as many interviews from her book tour as I could. She did some public readings of excerpts from the books and even the stories she was telling about her own upbringing were so relatable to some of my own experiences growing up.

This bitch – I liked her. She got me.

I forget where she announced that she’d made secured the bag on Insecure with HBO, but I shrieked!

All this time, I had been rooting for her and now, it was go time.

And then the trailer came out fall semester, junior year. And bitch, I was too hype.

The show went on to break records and set precedents. Not even half way through season one, it came out that they had been renewed for a second season. And it was a phenomenal first season. Black Twitter immediately schism-ed into Team Issa or Team Lawrence and just like that, Issa had the game on lock.

Golden Globe noms, Covergirl, another season of Insecure

Above all, Issa was proof that if you just start with what you have simply on the faith that your shit is dope, the results can be monumental.

Her success inspired me more and more to leap out on faith in my own life (i.e. figuring out a way to bounce tf outta MS) off the strength that the things that I create are also dope.

Moral of the story: My sis is poppin’ right now and she really just wants niggas to eat with her. For me, the most enlightening thing she ever said was “Network around, not up.” Because that’s the squad that’s going to hold you down when you pop.

 

 

When I Think of Home

This entry is part 1 of 2 in the series College: What the F@#k Even Was That?

I’m going to grad school in NYC, we’ve talked about this.

Typical of a new college grad, people keep asking me what my plans are for the future. When I tell them grad school, they almost always ask, “Back up at Ole Miss?” If I say or The New School in Manhattan not too many people know what I’m talking about unless they’re in academia so I usually just respond, “No, New York.”

When I say New York, they’re eyes immediately widen and the first thing out their mouth is usually something like, “Oh, so far away!” or “Wow, isn’t it dangerous up there?” In my head, I’m like Well shit, no more dangerous than Jackson. That ain’t but an hour up the highway and they are literally killing the game in homicides right now so… your point? No, deadass, I’m pretty sure Jackson is ranked #1 for homicides in Mississippi – if not #1, somewhere close. 

People are afraid of things they don’t know – I get it but I feel like when I say New York people automatically think New Jack City or The Warriors. And gentrification is a motherfucker and it’s completely own issue that warrants its own seperate conversation but it is also to my benefit that I can pay rent (albeit astronomical) to live in certain areas and be guaranteed relative security. AGAIN, NOT SAYING THAT GENTRIFICATION IS A GOOD THING, but this is just basic sociology at play. But I digress…

Of course, everyone is happy that I appear to be doing something with my life but I still catch the shade veiled in feigned excitement and concern. Perhaps this is all in my head but… whatever, we here now.

So what do I hate so much? Why am I so antsy to leave?

See, it’s not just shade, it’s the principle, I suppose. I know it’s concern but it feels like negativity and I’m just not trying to entertain that.

Most obviously…

M I S S I S S I P P I

The cradle of the confederacy and conservative politics where I’ve personally had to deal with all the microaggressive, ignorant ass, bullshit preconceived notions people have about well… everything. The fundamentalism, the bigotry, the white supremacy, the heteroracistpatriarchy… I mean, that shit’s everywhere, true – but Mississippi just has its own special brand of this shit.

Of course home will always be home and it’s always going to have a special place in my heart and yada yada, but dis tew much. It’s simply too much.

I cannot. I’m tired.

I need some real hurdles to jump.

That feeling in your stomach when you’re riding a roller coaster up the track to a huge drop and you hear that ticking noise and you know with every tick you get closer to the drop and you’re trying to brace yourself and take deep breaths and shit but you’re lowkey freaking out. That’s a metaphor for my life rn.

If the nigga next to me is freaking out, THAT’S PROBABLY GOING TO MAKE ME FREAK THE FUCK OUT!

 

But whatever… Moral of the story is: “My life is like light up sneakers. Long as I keep walkin’ I know I’m gone shine…”

I am very aware of the history of Mississippi and the history of the South and the sacrifices and gains that were made as far as Civil Rights and I honor those who were active in that struggle. I’ve seen the work being done first hand to improve the sociopolitical atmosphere in the state and I’m proud to have witnessed and been apart of some of that but, compared to the rest of the world, shit is still moving at a snail’s pace. And the frustrating thing is that it really doesn’t have to but people are just too stubborn to change.

I really just need to bounce for my own peace of mind and that’s really it.

 

 

 

Welp, Glad That’s Over

So I finally graduated undergrad  and that was just what the doctor ordered. Really, once I finished my last exam, I felt relieved but when I crossed that stage, it felt like the weight of the world had been lifted.

I know I haven’t been updating the blog as much as I’d like and School has been a large reason for that. Of course, I post when I can, but lately it’s been feeling like the content is a bit stagnant. But I like blogging and want to continue. So bear with me as I reconfigure. But I digress…

Whoever said college would be the best years of your life, while not an outright lie, is incredibly misgiving.

I had some of my greatest moments in college, yes, but they were not a constant thing. They were more like the sprinkles on a shit sundae. Still tastes like shit but the presentation makes it look like it could have been something.

Looking back, I was actually wildly depressed for most of my college career. I’m not a drinker at all but sophomore and junior year, I drank my damn life away and my weed habit went through the roof. I still smoke on a regular basis because I do have anxiety and it does help to calm my mind down a bit but I can really go the rest of my life without taking another sip of alcohol and be just fine.

Going out was a thing that I had to accept that people did for fun. Why? I still don’t know. I have never woken up the next morning after a night of bar hopping and felt that my quality of life had improved in any significant way. But you look like an antisocial hermit if you don’t and plus, considering the line of work I want to go into, its helpful to at least look the part and play the game.

Moral of the story: College is a means to an end, not the other way around. I did not put myself through four years of depression, fatigue, and anxiety for a fucking piece of paper. I did it so that I could put myself in a position to do more and I feel like I’ve done that. These four years have given me room to think, explore, and ponder. Yes, a lot of resources, you will actually have to look for but they are there… if you have an idea of what you’re looking for.

To those coming up, college is not for the faint of heart. A lot of folks go to college (including myself) because it’s what you’re “supposed” to do but if you don’t find your own path along the way. Without cultivating some kind of sense of self, the bullshit that comes with college life will swallow you whole.