Issa Rae wants you to know that she is NOT “J.”
Yes, the 29-year-old played the awkward black girl known as J for two seasons on her hilariously (and deliberately) uncomfortable hit Web series but the two women don’t actually have as much in common as fans might think. The real Issa — funny, whip-smart and, maybe, a wee bit awkward — comes alive though in her newly published The Misadventures of Awkward Black Girl. On the eve of the release of her book of nonfiction essays, MTV News hopped on the phone with the author who first cracked us up with tidbits from the tome before tackling some weighty questions — from being black in Hollywood to why ABC stays losing and the never-ending Lena Dunham comparisons. Read on and be sure to check her fearless new series, “The Legend of Human Black Guy.”
MTV News: Was there anything you recalled being particularly painful to write about in the book?
Issa Rae: Just stuff with my family. I definitely talk about my parents’ divorce and how that affected me. You know it seems cliche to talk about but a lot of people have gone through it … and for me it was definitely something that affected me and my dating life, my creative life. And so just talking about that, and I’d never really talked to my dad about it before. It was just something that happened and I never got his side of it and so the book actually helped me to have a conversation about it.
I let him read it in its entirety just to see if the stuff that I was saying was OK to put out there, and you know he had his issues with it but he respected it at the end of the day and that was really, really groundbreaking for our relationship.