Issa Rae is probably the only person to have a successful 2016.
She went from a seemingly unknown writer and producer to a Golden Globe-nominated actress with a hit show on HBO. In honor of the Senegalese beauty’s 32nd birthday, we put together a list of videos either directed by, written by, or starring Issa Rae in the days before she was Insecure and dating Lawrence. Gots to love her!
Back in 2007 when YouTube was just a toddler, Stanford student Issa Rae put her writing skills to work with “Dorm Diaries,” a satirical look at Black life on Stanford’s campus. Although Issa didn’t star in the webseries, her name was all over it, beginning her buzz as a YouTube sensation.
“The Legend of Human Black Guy”
In this creative and powerful web series created by Issa, she addresses some of the questions society poses about the Black man. The description of the series reads, “Some say he no longer exists. That society has hidden him. That a series of events transformed him. Into what? We’ll try to find out.” TLOHBG was created in 2015, just before Issa signed her deal with HBO.
In 2014, Issa served as executive producer of this buddy stoner comedy centering around two girls with the best intentions, who accidentally kidnap a 4-year-old boy. The TV movie was created by Syreeta Singleton, but Issa’s ideas helped bring it to life.
“Black Twitter Screening” Short
Ms. Jo-Issa isn’t just skilled at making series, she also dabbled in creating shorts like “Black Twitter Screening,” which depicted the scenario “If Black Twitter went to the movies.” Brilliant!
“Misadventures Of Awkward Black Girl”
Before any of her other work on the Internet, Issa hit YouTube gold with her webseries “The Misadventures Of Awkward Black Girl” in 2011. The award-winning web series follows the life of J, played by Issa Rae, as she interacts with co-workers and love interests who place her in uncomfortable situations. It also served as an outline for her HBO hit show Insecure. If you’re late to the MOABG party, it’s time for a YouTube binge session before season two of Insecure returns to HBO!