Issa Rae talks evolving from ‘Awkward Black Girl’ to the final season of HBO’s ‘Insecure’

Ten years ago, Issa Rae introduced us to her charming, witty character, J, which she played on her YouTube series, Awkward Black Girl.

The series inspired Rae’s bestselling 2015 memoir The Misadventures of Awkward Black Gir, and opened the door for her to tell more stories about Black women.

“I wanted to create space for a character who is an awkward Black girl,” Issa tells Vogue of the show that won a Shorty Award for Best Web series in 2012. “I just feel so appreciative that I had friends that rallied behind the series to make it what it is. Half of the cast were friends of mine and weren’t actors. Watching them take the characters and be recognized for it was so much fun.”

ABG led to Issa’s current award-winning series, Insecure, which recently announced its fifth and final season on HBO — that Issa says will be “grounded” and full of “growth, and legacy”

“Both series have been reflections of myself,” Issa says. “Awkward Black Girl is the early twenties version of me kind of getting comfortable in my skin. Insecure feels like the late twenties, early thirties version of myself. I’m looking forward to the next chapter of my life.”

“We started shooting last week for the first time and I’m savoring every moment,” she continues. “We’ve had roadblocks, obviously, due to COVID-19 and we’re being very protective,” she said. “But it just feels so nice to be able to shoot this season.”

Though expressing “frustration” with new filming protocols due to the pandemic, Issa said she hopes “that will all change by the time we finish shooting. Maybe we’ll be in a space where we can celebrate together and mark the accomplishment of finishing a five-season show.”

By Rachel George
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