Webseries To Watch: The Misadventures Of AWKWARD Black Girl [Culturelicious]

By Arturo R. García

(Video slightly NSFW – one F-bomb near the beginning)

Issa Rae’s The Misadventures Of AWKWARD Black Girl has been picking up critical acclaim as of late, and as the series has progressed, it’s becoming easier to understand why. Slight spoilers under the cut.

The video above shows the jump-off for our protagonist, J, played by series creator Issa Rae. J cuts off all her hair in the wake of a break-up, not anticipating some second-guessing on the part of her now ex-boyfriend. And that’s when things start getting awkward, indeed.

Most of the series, though, takes place around J’s office – ironic, since the language is at times NSFW – where she deals with a parade of cringe-inducing co-workers: the boss trying to be “down,” a somewhat regrettable hook-up, and a one-man “Rainbow Coalition of racism,” among others. “I’m passive-aggressive, and I hate confrontation,” J says via internal monologue. “So I just hold my feelings inside …” The Office Space vibe these scenes conjure up have been among the best in the series so far.

J does have a way to cope, though – she writes some hilariously goofy “gangsta” rhymes and spits them, mostly to herself, though as of the fourth episode, there’s signs of an upswing in her social life. Maybe.

Colorlines’ Akiba Solomon has called J “one of the most textured black woman characters I’ve ever seen,” and our own Andrea says she’s “representative of quite a few of us nerds of all colors.” I know I’m waiting to see where things with her go from here. As a bonus, here’s the first episode:

Editor’s Note: Readers who watch the whole may notice that MABG has a lot of problematic jokes and language, particularly around queer identity and colorism. Feel free to bring these up in the comments section here. It’s an ongoing tension where we want to highlight works by creators of color, but all creators don’t share our anti-oppression values. (A good reference point would be almost all of our conversations around the depiction of women in the Harold and Kumar series.) We are still working out, internally, how we want to engage with this type of work. – LDP

About This Blog

Racialicious is a blog about the intersection of race and pop culture. Check out our daily updates on the latest celebrity gaffes, our no-holds-barred critique of questionable media representations, and of course, the inevitable Keanu Reeves John Cho newsflashes.

Latoya Peterson (DC) is the Owner and Editor (not the Founder!) of Racialicious, Arturo García (San Diego) is the Managing Editor, Andrea Plaid (NYC) is the Associate Editor. You can email us at team@racialicious.com.

The founders of Racialicious are Carmen Sognonvi and Jen Chau. They are no longer with the blog. Carmen now runs Urban Martial Arts with her husband and blogs about local business. Jen can still be found at Swirl or on her personal blog. Please do not send them emails here, they are no longer affiliated with this blog.

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  • miga

     But I’m DEFINITELY awkward like that…um, yeah….just popping back in to add…that…

  • miga

     Grrr.   I would wholeheartedly love this series if it weren’t for the colorism/homophobic ish…  I don’t know how to deal with it…I mean, it’s “better” than some other stuff I’ve seen, but again it’s frustrating to always have to decide what problematic ish am I going to have to ignore today?  

  • http://twitter.com/cheekymonkeyboo Helen Dunson

    i felt like the no homo comment was perhaps a comment on black male masculine stereotypes..even applying that to black women with a buzz….gender may seem interchangeable. but i agree i dont get the humor in the whole im not gay thing….i feel as though shes poking fun at everyone else view of whats attractive regarding black women but i dont know id like to hear other opinions…

    • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=39605048 Key Shantel

       I agree. I find it hilarious when straight men, will say “no homo”, so frequently in conversation that it seems like it is should be in the damn sentence.

      I see that she is making fun of that phrase.

      I also, can see the comment regarding, her looking like a man, is when some people assume that you are lesbian because you did the big chop.

      • miga

        I would agree, but in another episode she says “no lesbo,” after writing a rap dissing the scent of her enemy’s vagina.   I’m kind of inclined to think she’s not too upset by that phrase.enemy’s vagina.   I’m kind of inclined to think she’s not too upset by that phrase.