In the digital age it is much easier for unknown and undiscovered talents to build their own platform on websites like Youtube.com and establish a fan base. Many have launched their careers from Youtube, Justin Bieber being its biggest success story yet. Issa Rae, the creator of Awkward Black Girl, is a Stanford University alumna who strives “to make her mark on the entertainment industry.” The web series have earned somewhat of a cult following, also receiving attention from Vibe, the Huffington Post, and The Root.
The show centers around the awkward encounters of a misfit named J and her dysfunctional co-workers. Throughout the series she also finds herself stuck in a dilemma of having to choose between her suave heartthrob co-worker, who her arch-enemy and boss is trying to steal from under her nose, and one of his good friends who is a down-to-earth white guy who shares J’s name.
After episode 6, Rae and Tracy Oliver (producer and actress who plays Nina, the bitchy manager) ran out of funds for the show. Through Kickstarter they launched a campaign to save the show from cancellation and humbly asked viewers to pledge money to reach a $30,000 goal. On August 11 the goal was reached, and as of September 15 an additional $26,259 was donated towards saving the show. Earlier this year the two producers were unemployed and pushing the series forward as starving artists (Oliver is also a Stanford alumna and received her M.F.A. from the University of Southern California last year). Despite the roadblocks, they were able to complete and release episodes 7 & 8, and are now working towards bringing it to television as a half-hour cable comedy.
Rae stated that the first season of the web series will be completed with an official season finale. In her own words, she remarked that the campaign demonstrated to her “1) people are tired of mainstream media's limited and confined portrayal of people of color; 2) they are very much willing to unite behind a project they believe in to change that limited portrayal; and 3) people ARE willing to support and watch web series as a legitimate form of entertainment.”