How To Build A Community Like Issa Rae


“Am I the only one that pretends to be in a music video when I’m by myself?”

That’s the first line in Issa Rae’s groundbreaking YouTube series “The Misadventures Of An Awkward Black Girl.” We should have known then that she was going to be around for a while.

Issa grew her fan base by being relatable. The series was centered around a black woman’s awkward journey, but it highlighted uncomfortable situations that people of all races go through in their personal and professional life. We all are guilty of taking a fake phone call to avoid talking to someone or waving at the wrong person. These shared experiences helped Issa create a loyal community.

Viewers saw themselves in the characters and faithfully followed the storyline. Even as the series wrapped up, they rooted for Issa and supported her once she released HBO’s hit show Insecure” a few years later.

In both shows, Issa feels like your homegirl. From her quirks (like rapping in the mirror) to her flaws (like cheating on her boyfriend with an old fling), we all know someone like her characters.

Here are three ways that you can use Issa’s journey to inspire your own and build a community:

Create emotional connections

In a digital world where everything is perfectly curated, people crave something real. Appealing to emotions, as Issa did with being awkward, helps your followers relate to you which builds trust.

Here are a few honest conversations that you can have on your platform if you’re struggling to connect with your tribe:

  • Which life moment brings you the most happiness?
  • Which personal struggle has been the biggest set-back in your life?
  • How do you deal with disappointment?
  • Name five people or things that bring you joy.


Work with what and who you have

“The Misadventures Of An Awkward Black Girl” wasn’t shot on premium equipment, but that didn’t take away from the storyline. Issa also called on her friends to be a part of the show in front of and behind the camera. Her grit early on paved the way for bigger projects, like “Insecure.”

Whatever dream you have can happen if you don’t allow perfection to cause procrastination.

Find your niche

Issa knows exactly who her target audience is. Although people of all backgrounds may enjoy her content, she unapologetically shares stories of multidimensional black women like her who are trying to navigate adulthood.

By being true to your narrative, you will attract people who value your authenticity.

Stay tuned to our upcoming blog posts where we’ll be highlighting other brilliant black content creators like Issa. In the meantime, join our Slack community to network with dope creatives like yourself.

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  1. Great article. Short, informative and refreshingly on point.

    • Thanks for checking it our Kurt! We’d love to feature some 1891 content on our platform as well! Have someone on the team submit an article about the organization.


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