I just finished the audio version of The Misadventures of the Awkward Black Girl by Issa Rae.
In case you’re two-thousand-and-late and aren’t hip to Issa Rae’s wildly popular and hilariously insightful web series The Misadventures of AWKWARD Black Girl, treat yo’ self, and educate yo’ self by heading to YouTube right now to binge watch!
I was delighted to find her new book The Misadventures of the Awkward Black Girl on Audible.com read by the author herself. Oh yes, she had me giggling at my desk. Thankfully, I’m in a dungeon-like cubicle and didn’t have to worry too much about looking like I was headed for the straight jacket guffawing at my computer.
This is certainly a must read and an even more entertaining listen. I especially loved her chapter on “Connecting with Other Blacks.” As the title may suggest, this chapter is not just for Black folks. In my opinion, it provides some levity to a tricky topic by serving as a fun, easy to digest primer on the spectrum of different types of Blacks. If you’re another Black person, you will absolutely identify yourself in at least one type of Black. If you’re a non-Black – it’s a fantastic way to gain a little knowledge on the different type of Black folks there are out there. Best of all, Issa’s explanation may help to illuminate a universal Black truth: we. are not. all like “that.” Issa Rae has appropriately dubbed this flavor of Black “Ratchet Black” or if you please, the previously popularized “Ghetto Black.”
The Misadventures of the Awkward Black Girl is not a militant account of what it’s like to be a strong African American in a whitewashed society. If that’s what you’re looking for, might I suggest a good ol’ Black literature classic like The Autobiography of Malcolm X as told by Alex Haley or Native Son by Richard Wright (both amazingly deep books, btw)? No, Issa Rae enlightens and delights the reader with background of her (very normal) multi-national upbringing. She leads us to conclude she is a product of her regional environment and familial influence (which may, to some, appear to be the straddling of two worlds) and how this experience has come to exist in the singular body that is simply Issa. She makes no apologies for being Black, or awkward, or who she is now. In an uproariously funny manner. What she doesn’t focus on (say perhaps the Black experience or the Black condition) speaks to the fact that Issa Rae, like a lot of us Blacks (Rachet Blacks excluded), really are just like everyone else. I might be speaking out of turn as a non-Black, but I suspect Issa does more to capture what we all can identify with as a child of the 90’s on the cusp of technology take-over, than alienate every member outside of a minority group with the differences between races.
In fact, by the end of her narration, you won’t even notice she’s Black. Just kidding! That is however, a variation of one of those “things” girls like us get used to hearing.
I highly recommend giving this a read or a listen. Issa Rae is amazingly talented and has a way with communicating the plight of the unsteriotypically Black girl that is tragically underrepresented in every media outlet ever that I just can’t get enough of. Besides, you’d be “helping a sista’ out.”
Issa Rae, on behalf of Awkward Black/Nerdy Black hybrids everywhere – I salute you.