“YouTube has revolutionized content creation. If it weren’t for YouTube, I would still be at studios trying to convince executives that Awkward Black Girls really do exist.” — Issa Rae, The Misadventures of Awkward Black GirlThe representation of Black women and girls on television matters. Currently, we’re witnessing a shift in how Black women are portrayed on screen.
A few weeks ago, I was thinking about the impact of Issa Rae’s Awkward Black girl characters. Before her show, I don’t recall seeing any black girls on television shows that had personalities similar to my friends and me.
With the help of characters like J on the YouTube series The Misadventures of Awkward Black Girl, Black women and girls were given a chance to envision themselves outside of stereotypical roles. The show helped push boundaries set around identity. It contradicted the images most Black girls have seen while growing up immersed in pop culture.
There is no doubt that viewers will continue to see more shows like The Misadventures of Awkward Black and Insecure because we need shows with narratives that reflect diverse representations of black women and girls.
Lakenzie Walls is a graduate student in English at SIUE and a contributing writer for the Cultural Front.