Dear Issa Rae,
I want to start off by saying thank you. Thank you for showing me what it looks like to believe in yourself. Thank you for being a breath of fresh air and a reflection in the mirror for women creators, more specifically, black women creators like myself. It is amazing watching you now knowing your journey and where you started from.
I remember when my brother first told me about this new web-series on YouTube called “Awkward Black Girl.” I was intrigued immediately because of the way that he described the series. I went to subscribe to the “IamOTHER” YouTube channel as he emphasized how funny the show was. So of course I checked it out and was in tearsss from laughter for the first episode. I fell in love with the show and tuned in every week for the web-series. It easily became my go-to show in college while I ate lunch or dinner or needed study breaks. Personally, I preferred watching the show alone so I could laugh hysterically at the main character J and the new shenanigans she was up to that week. I was invested and it felt good because I could relate to J and understand her experience as an awkward black girl.
This was at a the point where YouTube web-series were really beginning to make a splash and complete with actual televisions series. There are a handful of web-series that I was actively watching and you definitely played a big roll in that shift.
And lets not forget “RACHETPIECE Theatre” which was pronounced without the T in a bootleg British accent and was filled with comical relief and plenty of satire. Without question, my favorite episodes were the Juicy J and Juvenile segments. It was a chaffing assessment on Hip Hop where you analyzed line by line, verse and chorus, sharing witty commentary of the songs, in dare I say, a respectful manner (big thumbs up) :D.
You along with people like Timothy DeLaGhetto, Aasha Davis, Ashley Blaine Featherson, and so many others developed a brand for yourselves using YouTube as a platform to break into the entertainment industry, among other things, opening doors that I’m sure were closing before.
It is inspiring to see your successes and find similarities between the both of us. As a writer and creator it can get really hard to believe in yourself and I thank you for sharing your struggles, but also your resilience to not conform to certain labels and ideas of who or what we should be like. Your story resonates with many of us. You are a reminder of how important representation is and for that I thank you.