Issa Rae Responds to ‘Awkward Black Girl’ Criticism

by Britni Danielle

Earlier we told you about an open letter by the Crunk Feminist Collective which critiqued Issa Rae’s popular series, ‘The Misadventures of Awkward Black Girl’ for it’s use of offensive terms. Although the CFC made it clear they are ardent fans of the show, they wanted to highlight the fact that some of the language used on a recent episode was divisive and hurtful to the LGBT community.

As promised, Issa Rae and her production partner Tracy Oliver have responded.

They write:

Some of our viewers may have been offended by some of the language in our recent episode. We take this matter especially to heart, considering the CFC and members of the LGBT community were among the first to embrace ‘The Misadventures of Awkward Black Girl.’

Since our first episode debuted in February this year, ‘Awkward Black Girl’ has received an incredible outpouring of support from hundreds of thousands of fans. We love and appreciate each and every one of our fans! In return, we strive to provide a show that uses irreverent comedy and humor to address the oftentimes uncomfortable situations that many people have experienced at some point or another in their lives.

In creating a series of this nature, we are willing to accept the praise when the jokes work and the feedback when they may not.

Sincerely, Issa & Tracy

What do you think of  their response? 

  • S.

    Well done response

  • IamAwkward2

    It was very respectful.

  • http://crunkfeministcollective.wordpress.com/ sheridf

    This is why CFC gets crunk for ABG.

  • Alexandra

    That’s all there is; changes are expected.
    Good response.

  • dany

    no apology though, eh?

  • Timcampi

    Exactly what I was thinking :/

  • Megan

    Issa and Traci…keep doing you! For every ten with complaints, you have 10 times more compliments. No one is safe in your vids. Love it! Continued success!

  • secretaddy

    At least she listened.

    Ideally there would be an apology but … yeaaa

  • renee

    i support this and i support the fact she didn’t apologize, why? because it is her art. equating tranny to nigga is not the same. if people can’t see she was joking and said “no lesbo” to mock the “no homo” movement, then i don’t know what to say.

    she wasn’t mocking the lgbtq community in any shape way nor form. where were the groups to flip their shit when she mocked sister mary and other churchical folks? or where are the greeks that flipped out when she clearly expressed her anti greek sentiment?

    abg is not meant to political correct, she never pretending it was meant to be politically correct and i hope she doesn’t start being politically correct now, this is comedy.

  • Raquefella

    Please apologize. It’s words like that that get people killed.

    Check it: What It’s Like to be a Young, Black, and Transgender Woman in Washington, D.C.

    http://www.alternet.org/story/153331/what_it%27s_like_to_be_a_young,_black,_and_transgender_woman_in_washington,_d.c._?page=entire

  • professorjawn

    ^^ what raque said!

    ABG clearly has the prerogative of not apologizing for their perpetuation of transhaterration (not to mention the more complicated issue of associating trans-ness with whiteness in episode 11), but at least they acknowledge that they have room to grow, and that they want to continue to be in dialogue with the community

    however, the amount of fans who have used this as an opportunity to dis and dismiss the struggles of queer and disabled people is *so* unacceptable – in jails, on street corners, and in hospitals trans and queer folks lose everything from our dignity & sanity to their lives over this shit. if anyone needs to apologize, it’s the hundreds of “because i ride for ABG, i will ride over the real lives and concerns of queer people of color” fans that need to be first in line.

    #justsaying

  • Nikki

    @professionaljawn – You are spot on! Most people don’t want to deal with consequential externalities of decisions others or they make. One day we will all have to deal in some way or another with being marginalized, so hopefully this very minor instance can help us all start and move us in the direction of acceptance not tolerance.

    ABG has no reason to apologize if she does not understand why she would be apologizing in first place. It would be disingenuous. Good luck to this series and continue to grow

  • Nikki

    Stay Crunk and keep fighting the good fight! If we fail to name the problem, the silence will suffocate us all …

  • Tamanisha

    Good response. Glad she didn’t apologize, because that would mean changing the show.

  • Fanye

    Really? The consequential externalities of decisions? OK.

  • Devan

    I think her response was spot on, and no, she doesn’t need to apologize. The criticisms were clearly noted and considered. But she doesn’t owe anyone anything. If you want to equate “tranny bitch” with “nigger”, then it stands to reason that the LGBTQ community should take themselves to task for using and CREATING the terminology in the first place. One Sunday brunch in with my friend J and his crew (all gay men) was filled with more “bitches”, “cunts”, and yes, “tranny bitches” than I’d ever heard in one sitting.

    As for the “no lesbo” comment, if you don’t get the jab at the nonsensical “no homo” movement, then I guess I get you were so offended by this in the first place.

  • http://www.eclecticflavor.blogspot.com EclecticFlavor

    Very well said Issa!

    I think that she responded respectfully, yet stands by her craft, a true artist indeed.

  • LemonNLime

    She is an artist in a country that supposedly allows for free speech. What do she have to apologize for? The fact the some people who feel insulted by her dialogue are too dumb to stop watching? The fact that they don’t mind the other insults so long as it as anything that might make their subgroup look bad? GTFOH! And an apology means nothing if you don’t mean so yea, get over it or stop watching.

  • http://commentarybyvalentina.wordpress.com/ Val

    I know, right? I was thinking is there more? That was pretty 1/2azzed if you ask me.

  • Stephanie

    Go ISSA & TRACY!

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Maria-Jackson/22608618 Maria Jackson

    I’m not satisfied with this. There is absolutely no acknowledgement of how what they did can affect people. This doesn’t open a discussion nor add to it at all. It’s just, “Oh hai guys, yeah we did that!” Well thank you, I know.

    I’ve told all my friends who watch the show and they are equally as disheartened.
    I don’t understand why people act like being just plain decent to others is below their pay grade. As many topics that ABG and the creators attempt to challenge one would think there would have been some discussion about this on set or in meetings.

    It’s not even a faux-sorry-you-got-offended-pology. I’m seriously disappointed and am strongly considering my support of ABG. I may be an ABG, but I know when to admit when I did wrong and commit to do better.

    They could’ve said nothing, made no response and it would be just effective as this non-statement.

    Do I sound hurt? I am.

  • B

    @Raquefella and professorjawn: THANK YOU! Well said.

  • Rakel

    My only question for the CFC is why point out one thing and not everything else? ABG takes shots at everybody (Muslims, Mexicans, overzealous Christians, etc). Other groups have that critique of the Black community. We seem to only care when we’re involved which makes people believe we’re overly sensitive and not credible just whiners who are quick to pull the race card. I love ABG, and I’m glad they took the time to respond. That was very respectful on their part.

  • Anne

    They didn’t apologize because they didn’t purposely set out to offend anyone. An apology would only make the whole series own up to their non-existent discrimination issues.

  • drum major

    It just seemed unfinished and incomplete. It felt like it was just words and like in midthought, she gave up and signed it.

  • tj

    +1

  • BeautyIAM

    Wow, I had no idea this would be such a polarizing discussion.

    I have to preface what I’m going to say by saying that I do not like when others are dismissive of other peoples opinions. I found some of the comments on the first post about this disgusting and unnecessary.

    This entire discussion reminds me of the time when Issac Hayes was on South Park. Knowing that South Park is an equal opportunity offender, he did not want them to make fun of Scientology because he practiced Scientology. The creators of the show saw no reason why the could not talk about Scientology, so Issac left the show.

    With that being said, I do not think that Issa needs to apologize for what was said in the show. Within the 11 episodes they have had so far, they have managed to offend:

    (off the top of my head)
    1) Light complected women (episode 2)
    2) fat people (episode 6)
    3) cancer patients (episode 11)

    and more.

    She (Issa) might as well apologize to those group of people if she is going to apologize for using “tra**y” and “no lesbo.” She essentially would have to apologize for the entire show.

    I think that things have been taken out of the context they were meant to be in. I think its unfortunate if people are going to leave the show because of this.

  • isolde

    @Anne

    Intent isn’t necessary. I’m sure Isaiah Muhammad (Old Spice guy) didn’t mean to offend when he made his remarks about needing a girlfriend with “good hair,” but his remarks were still discriminatory.

  • Nina

    We live in a society where apologies are constantly tossed around and not meant sincerely, I think she was eloquent and genuine in her statement, everybody is so friggin sensitive!!!!!!!!!!! SHUT UPPPPPPPPP!!!!!!!

  • iQgraphics

    @ BiAM
    I sincerely and wholeheartedly AGREE with you! So you are the proveyor of a movement such as the angst of the LGBTQ, but you don’t know the difference between intent and humor? Taking something out of context and making a case out of it will not bring the type of attention to your plight that you desire.
    The type of comedy (timely and modern) exhibited by ABG is not new. The language, the topics… nothing. Its not new.

    To try to use someone who is on the rise to bring attention to your cause by taking words out of context is not the way to put momentum behind your organization.

    The CFC is looking real PETA right now.

  • jamesfrmphilly

    you do not apologize when you feel you have done nothing wrong…..

  • African Mami

    @j-philly,

    I have SINCERELY missed you!!!!!

  • MarloweOverShakespeare

    Seriously cracked UP reading this response!

  • Gabe

    I’m not convinced you know anything at all about the “oftentimes uncomfortable situations” that trans people, in particular, encounter in our lives. Why hurt people? Why not just apologize and say you won’t do it again?

    I really want to keep being an ABG fan but you’re making it hard.

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  • Whatever

    +2

  • Whatever

    @Nikki

    Then please add these to your lists as well …

    -Mexicans …(feminists didn’t get all worked up)
    -Indians… (feminists didn’t get all worked up)
    -Muslims… (feminists didn’t get all worked up)
    -Christians… (feminists didn’t get all worked up)
    -Sorors… (feminists didn’t get all worked up)
    -Cancer patients…(feminists didn’t get all worked up)

    ***Women with shaved hair…(feminists didn’t get all worked up)***
    Remember this scene??? Germy Patty: “Girl, are you gay now?” ( as J walks into holiday party showing off her big chop for the 1st time)

    -Nigger has been used …(feminists didn’t get all worked up)
    -Bitch has been used… (feminists didn’t get all worked up)

    Pretty much equal opportunity offenders.

  • May

    And where the F*CK are you when heterosexual black women are attacked. Every. Single. Day?

    Where? No one stands up and/or defends heterosexual black women and girls. I guess it’s not “hip” enough, boring maybe? or perhaps normalized? #sickofit

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  • DBarly

    AMEN!

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