I am a fan of Issa Rae.
I am a FANGIRL of Issa Rae.
I liked her before she ever wrote a book! There is an honesty in her that I see in myself. And maybe that ‘awkwardness’ is from being an ABG as well. What is an ABG?
Awkward. Black. Girl.
This book has been in my sights for a couple years if I am honest. But I was just such a fan of the webseries, and cheerleading sis with whatever she was doing! This book, though? It is as funny as it is intraspective as it is honest. I love how open Issa is with this book!
From her name, and how no one could say it. To her name–Rae–being an homage to her aunt.
To her being Ivy league educated, fluent in French and her escapades with fuckboys…I loved this book. It was like having a conversation with Issa. It was like being able to get a plate, sitting on her front and turning on a recorder! There were parts of the book that had be screaming laughing (her attempting to dance, her making up her own nicknames) and others that let me know she is stronger that what she looks (her parents divorce, trying to find her place in the world–that refuses to see her Blackness or talent).
In following Issa Rae, I felt a kinship. That kinship is from being, feeling like I do not have a place in the world, but determined to make one! When she got to the inevitable point of the book where she talks about the theft of her equipment I cried! Although, I knew about it. I cried. I know what it is like to put your all into something and it be gone. From it being gone, wondering two things:
What do I do now?
Can I rebuild this?
She decided to rebuild. From leaving all she knew at Stanford, with one credit card, debt and in New York. She rebuilt. Issa Rae, Jo-Issa Diap, the Torch that is in Hollywood? It is from that point, that I decided I was going to ride with her. No matte what she did, I was was going to buy or support. Why? I have been there. I have been there where the only person that believes in you is YOU. Man.
And I was at the same time jealous of her. Issa makes no secret of loving her Senegalese heritage. As a Black girl in a strange land, her having that ancestral home and background? It was bittersweet! But, oh so beautiful.
But that’s what it is to be an ABG–it’s bittersweet. There are highs, lows, broken hearts, restarts, and having to go through madness, rejection and self-discovery to be the person you need to be. If anything being awkward is your key to get where you must. Its another reminder that Black writers matter, stories matter. Awkward Black Girls matter.