Beyond Tyler Perry’s Existence: Why We Need More Awkard Black Girls Friday 23 March, 2012

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“The problem with Tyler Perry isn’t that he exists…” Of course, everyone in the audience on Issa Rae’s college tour couldn’t stop laughing as she began to explain her thoughts on stereotypes in Perry’s films. She thinks the real issue is bigger than Tyler Perry. There are plenty of talented artists telling rich stories about […]

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“The problem with Tyler Perry isn’t that he exists…” Of course, everyone in the audience on Issa Rae’s college tour couldn’t stop laughing as she began to explain her thoughts on stereotypes in Perry’s films. She thinks the real issue is bigger than Tyler Perry.

There are plenty of talented artists telling rich stories about the black experience that struggle to fund their projects because they aren’t seen as relateable or marketable. Too many people believe Tyler Perry is the only black cinema that sells. So, the problem isn’t just stereotypical characters that don’t represent our complexity as a community, it’s that Hollywood isn’t giving other directors and their stories a chance.

We need more awkward black girls. “The Mis-Adventures of Awkard Black Girl,” shows that projects like Issa’s are not unmarketable, they are differently marketable. She has tapped into a young audience that is politically conscious, but not uptight; likes to laugh out loud, but not at the same played out stereotypes; and, isn’t wealthy, but will spend money on art they believe in.

Issa didn’t wait for Hollywood to get her vision and fund her project, she tapped into her own network to start the series and online funding sources to sustain it. Now, she only has to be accountable to herself. Artists with an unconventional message can’t afford to just have the most creative piece, you also have to have the tightest hustle; we have to be entrepreneurial.

On a personal note, when I met Issa, she was so down to earth and approachable. I thanked her for our interview and she thanked us for supporting her. It’s beautiful when awkward black girls unite.


And, I am thrilled that she supports Live Unchained!

Oh, and for good measure, here I am with Fred :-).

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2 Comments

  • I totally concur with this article. It frustrates me that ethnic minorities are shoe horned into a particular role based on the widely accepted stereotypes. To a large degree, I think we as in the black community need to have some sort of accountability and ask the critical questions about how we represent ourselves to other ethnicities. I am happy to see shows like the Akward Black Girl about as it is a refreshing take on the representation of Black culture. What now needs to happen is that we have more companies promoting these kind of programmes.


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  • […] “The problem with Tyler Perry isn’t that he exists…” Of course, everyone in the audience on Issa Rae’s college tour couldn’t stop laughing as she began to explain her thoughts on stereotypes in Perry’s films. She thinks the real issue is bigger than Tyler Perry. We need more awkward black girls. “The Mis-Adventures of Awkward Black Girl,” shows that projects like Issa’s are not unmarketable, they are differently marketable. She has tapped into a young audience that is politically conscious, but not uptight; likes to laugh out loud, but not at the same played out stereotypes; and, isn’t wealthy, but will spend money on art they believe in… Read the whole story at liveunchained.com […]

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