What are the chances of a young, black woman getting tapped to write and co-produce a network TV show? Pretty good if your name is Issa Rae. Yep, our favorite awkward black girl has hit the big time. According to The Washington Post, the 27-year-old Rae, working with the production company Shondaland, run by Grey’s Anatomy’s Shonda Rhimes, has sold a comedy called “I Hate LA Dudes” to ABC. You may be, like me, doing a happy dance in your seat for Rae and getting excited about seeing some smart brown girl comedy on network television, but be sure not to miss the potential for personal inspiration in this news.
Do what you love and the money will follow. You’ve heard that saying, right? It may be trite, but it’s true. Good things happen when you work hard and follow your bliss. We’ve all been watching Issa Rae toiling on the web for a minute, putting her energy into crafting smart comedy with a voice not generally heard in Hollywood. I don’t know Rae, but I tend to believe that her passion for her projects gave her the impetus to keep plugging away when money was tight, inspiration was low and everyone was talking about how nothing like what she does will ever make it to the small or big screens. She wasn’t afraid to be different and dynamic, to think big and put work in. Now she’s reaping her reward.
Unfortunately, doing what you want is a privilege–and one many sisters simply don’t have. Rather than following our creative passions, a lot of us are doing what we gotta do to keep the lights on and the mortgage paid. And you know how we often do for others, while failing to make room for self. But even those of us who have the resources to pursue our wildest dreams often don’t. Being satisfied is easier than being driven. But making time to work on that screenplay about Fannie Lou Hamer…plan that non-profit for single moms…knit baby booties in shades of the pan-African flag…whip of vegan soul food recipes…whatever…will pay off.
I know this to be true. I started blogging five years ago with a desire to read voices like mine in the media and to someday be published. Now, I have been. And I have this sweet gig at Clutch that allows me to regularly interact with really awesome black women. I don’t have a big time TV contract…yet. (HBO, call me maybe.) But I am enjoying some success that makes me happy and fulfilled.
I was cyber talking to our fearless editrix Dede Sutton and she expressed amazement at how many really good, black woman-driven websites are on the scene. In recent years, I’ve come to know a bunch of super smart black, female writers. Our point–potential Issa Raes abound. I am astonished by black girl awesomeness on the regular.
But unnurtured creativity won’t grow. And too many of our talents will be lost to a lack of drive and commitment, and an excess of timidity. I hate that.
Will you make me a promise? Take 10 minutes this week to think about your creative dreams and what it will take to make them come true; maybe sketch out a plan. Write that essay on the 2012 elections that has been stuck in your head or begin designing that website. Don’t mind if what you want is odd or hard or something black folks allegedly don’t do. Just take some time and do your damn thang. Really great things are just over the horizon.