Impact | Brand | 14th November 2021 | Virtual Wire
Issa Rae was born Jo-Issa Rae Diop on January 12th 1985 in Los Angeles, California. She attended & graduated from Stanford University with a Bachelor degree in Arts in African & African-American Studies.
It was there, where she flexed her creative muscles. She wrote & directed plays, music videos & made a spoof reality show called Dorm Diaries. She would meet Tracy Oliver, who would become the co-producer & co-star of Issa’s YouTube show, Awkward Black Girl.
The Awkward Black Girl from YouTube becomes the Face of HBO
Picture -Hollywood Reporter
In 2011, she created a web series for YouTube called The Mis-Adventures of Awkward Black Girl. The title of the show is pretty much self-explanatory. The show was basically showcasing Issa Rae in awkward & uncomfortable situations in terms of dealing with people in interesting situations. The show was highly praised by critics & went on to win a Shorty Award for Best Web series in 2012.
In 2013, Issa pitched a pilot with Larry Wilmore & within 2 years, HBO would pick up & green light that pilot. In 2016, that pilot would become her groundbreaking hit show, Insecure. Insecure has become a MASSIVE CULTURAL FORCE for Issa & HBO, as well as a critically acclaimed darling that was a breath of fresh air in terms of storytelling in television. It went from a word-of-mouth show to MUST SEE APPOINTMENT TELEVISION that Twitter (especially Black Twitter) watched for as a community, as a family. The show has tackled topics from relationships, friendships, code-switching at work, career choices, sexism, gentrification & sexual desires from the female perspective.
Issa not only became a superstar from the success of Insecure, but she also became a well respected creative genius that breathed new life into the world & craft of scripted television. She has been nominated for a Golden Globe Award & numerous Emmy Awards, not only for her acting but also for her writing. She has won a few Black Reel Awards, a BET Award for Best Actress & an NAACP Award for Outstanding Lead Actress.
Picture -NBC News
The Impact of Issa is mostly displayed through the content that is presented by Creative Black Women at HBO following the success of Insecure. Pre-Insecure, HBO was pretty much a Game of Thrones network. During the Insecure era, there have been shows like Two Dope Queens with Jessica Williams & Phoebe Robinson & I May Destroy You that was created, produced, written & directed by Michaela Coel. Then there is A Black Lady Sketch Show by writer & comedian Robin Thede that was also co-produced by Issa Rae. Even Issa’s Insecure co-stars Amanda Seals (who plays Tiffany Dubois) & Yvonne Orji (who plays Molly Carter) delivered hit stand-up comedy specials on HBO called Amanda Seals: I Be Knowin & Yvonne Orji: Momma, I Made It! Even Issa herself has expanded into film, as she co-starred with Regina Hall & Marsai Martin in the comedy called Little.
As Insecure has announced its 5th & Final Season, Issa has signed deals for multiple projects under her Issa Rae Productions company for more shows, music & movies. She has stated in interviews that although she is proud of the success of Insecure, she dares to create something completely different from the iconic show. Issa’s brand will continue to grow, as she became the new face of CoverGirl. To sum it all up, the Awkward Black Girl is now the AWESOME BLACK FRANCHISE that has taken Hollywood by storm. Issa Phenomenon & Issa Impactful One!!!