Black Women's Improvement Project (BWIP)

The New, NEW Black Woman: Issa Rae!

OMG how could she NOT be on this list? She’s beautiful, creative and hilarious, and has created a cult following with her Awkward Black Girl (ABG) web series.

ABG Trivia: Did you know that all the “Gut Busters” scenes are filmed in her father’s doctor’s office? Speaking of doctors, everyone expected Issa to follow in her father’s footsteps and go to med school, but when the Stanford graduate majored in “flowers,” as her father put it, the family was a bit skeptical, and quite frankly, worried to the point of nearly wetting their pants. They shouldn’t be anymore. Issa brilliantly harnessed the power of You Tube and social networking to make her ABG a break-out success. When the series was in peril of folding due to lack of funding, Issa rallied her fans and raised over $20,000 in a matter of days. Like…whoa.

At the season finale, everyone in the blogesphere was biting their nails about who her character,”J” would pick in the love triangle between African American “Fred,” and aptly named, “White Jay.” Not that Fred wasn’t a good guy (and really cute–is he blasian?), but BB&W was on #teamwhitejay all the way.

In an age when black beauty is marginalized by an all pervasive media, Issa circumvented the traditional route of pitching ABG to Hollywood, and created a success out of a video camera, a script-writer friend, and a handful of other friends and very few hired actors. By the way, “White Jay” is one of those hired actors. So was the big-booby nurse that appeared in the last few epis.

She makes the New, NEW Black Woman for all those reasons and more. She has harnessed her creativity, humor and social circle to produce what might one day be a huge money-maker, and stick Hollywood in the eye, because it will show that you don’t have to be a mammy, Jezebel, or a b*tch to make a good black female character on the TEE VEE.

You make us look good, girl. Go get ’em, Issa.

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