How One 'Awkward Black Girl' Found Success on YouTube

Producer, director and writer Issa Rae, creator of the YouTube series "The Misadventures of Awkward Black Girl," poses for a
Producer, director and writer Issa Rae, creator of the YouTube series "The Misadventures of Awkward Black Girl," poses for a photo at her home Wednesday, Sept. 7, 2011, in Los Angeles. Since the series first posted online in February, the debut episode has garnered more than 240,000 hits. Subsequent episodes have received more than 100,000 hits and 1,000 viewer comments. (AP Photo/Damian Dovarganes)

"Awkward Black Girl" has come a long way in two years, since Issa Rae originally funded the first season via Kickstarter (raking in over $50,000!). Now that the show is closing out a second massively popular season, creator and star Issa Rae sits down in the What's Trending studio to chat with me and Beth Hoyt about prepping a new TV show for ABC, producing a new online series, and whether or not there will be an ABG season three!

It all started with some introspection, as Issa was sitting around wondering why she couldn't just talk to people normally without getting herself into weird or embarrassing situations. "I knew I was black, but that awkward part -- that's what drove it home," she says. And she knew she couldn't be the only one feeling that way, so she gradually started to build up her brand.

Ultimately, that dream of expanding her portfolio as a writer and director was coming into fruition with her third web series. "I wanted it to be an animated series, but I was too broke," she reveals. She didn't have time to wait for the funds, so she just starred in the live-action version herself and fell in love with the craft again.

After launching "Awkward Black Girl" independently, she connected with Pharrell, who reached out to invite her to be a part of his "secret" YouTube channel, which is now widely known as I Am Other. "He has a lot of awkward in him," she jokes.

The series has proven that it's possible to make longform content work on YouTube. "I wanted it to be like three to five minutes initially and people were begging for more content, more length," Issa tells us. Now, fans can enjoy the epic two-prat season two finale starting Thursday, February 13 at 9pm ET/6pm PT. And Issa even says a movie might be on the way!

In the meantime, she's working with Shonda Rhimes on writing a new project called "I Hate L.A. Dudes," which will set out to combine old and new forms of media. "I think that television and the web are fusing anyway, so I think that ultimately whatever I do, I'm going to blend the two forms," Issa notes.

She's also heating up an Indiegogo campaign for another series called "RoomieLoverFriends" with Dennis Dortch and Numa Perrier, the creators of Black & Sexy TV.

After staking out all of those exciting projects still to come, Issa Rae helps us sound off on some of YouTube's most awkward videos ever. (Was that Bree Essrig pooping herself in public?!)

Subscribe to "Awkward Black Girl" on YouTube and follow Issa Rae on Twitter.
Subscribe to co-host Beth Hoyt on YouTube and follow her on Twitter

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