I’m convinced that Stanford graduate Issa Rae shrunk herself, found her way to the place where my innermost thoughts and emotions reside, and wrote the scripts that comprise the web series The Misadventures of Awkward Black Girl. This show is everything to me! For the longest, I’ve accepted that I’m awkward, not really knowing how to maneuver in certain situations, like passing a co-worker in the hallway for the umpteenth time that day. Do I say hi again?!? Or is averting my eyes to avoid eye contact sufficient?
I was hooked from season 1, episode 1, minute 1 when Issa’s character J was confronted with the awkward and familiar situation of repeatedly approaching stop signs with someone you know in the car adjacent to you. And yes, I’ve tried all avoidance methods J demonstrates and proudly admit to being the queen of the dramatic slow down.
Issa Rae inspires me on many levels. The honesty in her writing is unmatched, her creativity is fierce, her drive is relentless and her pursuit of realizing her dreams is inspiring. Since its inception in 2011, the series has earned a Shorty Award for Best Web Show (a big deal!), has grown from 4 minute to 15 minute episodes, and garnered donations from numerous fans and super fan music producer Pharrell.
Thank you, Issa, for all that is ABG! Catch up on all episodes of The Misadventures of Awkward Black Girl.
During the last week of August for the past six years, our country has paused to reflect on the 2005 Gulf Coast destruction initially birthed from Hurricane Katrina. The annual reflection tends to focus on New Orleans because of the mass destruction and incomprehensible devastation it and its citizens faced. However, much of what happened to New Orleans was not a direct result of Hurricane Katrina. It’s easier to umbrella the tragedies in New Orleans under the natural disaster Hurricane Katrina, something outside of the realm of human control, than confront the deficiencies of government agencies that allowed New Orleans to drown, which does rest under human control.
By 29 August 2005, Hurricane Katrina had passed through New Orleans. Aside from loss of power and downed trees, the city was in the clear. That was, until a levee broke at the Industrial Canal. Then a levee broke at the 17th Street Canal followed by levee breaches at two other canals. In all, the breaches caused floods of nearly 8 feet in the Lower Ninth Ward, 10 feet in St. Bernard Parish and more than 10 feet in New Orleans East, Gentilly, Lakeview and Plaquemines Parish. Residences were submerged forcing the ambulatory to move to their rooftops and climb trees while awaiting rescue. Death awaited the immobile. The city that rests below sea level was now completely under water.
An already bad situation became worse. The current president chose to fly over the devastation instead of land and meet with victims to ascertain needs; U.S. citizens attempting to flee the devastation in New Orleans were called refugees and treated as such; water and food was delayed in reaching victims causing death; newborns and elderly fatally suffered from malnutrition in great numbers; famished and dehydrated victims were chided and deemed looters for seeking relief; guns pointed at New Orleanians who hadn’t perpetuated violence by NOPD and the National Guard; some fleeing New Orleans were shot and killed as they were told they were welcome in neighboring communities; and families forcibly separated around the country with little notification once buses arrived in New Orleans to remove citizens. It was later revealed that officials had been informed about the weakening levees and chose not to strengthen them.
So no, I don’t wish to recall Hurricane Katrina when specifically thinking about the tragedies of New Orleans (though it’s sufficient for recalling devastation among the rest of the Gulf Coast.) I do, however, wish to continue to illuminate the local, state and federal government insufficiencies and apathy it publicly displayed for its citizens – taxpayers – that started when the levees they built and are charged with maintaining broke.
Happy Monday! Whatever happened last week is in the past. Today is a new day – the beginning of a new week. Reflect on the following as you begin the new week.
Finish every day and be done with it. You have done what you could.
Some blunders and absurdities no doubt have crept in; forget them as soon as you can.
Tomorrow is a new day; begin it well and serenely and with too high a spirit to be cumbered with your old nonsense.
This day is all that is good and fair.
It is too dear, with its hopes and invitations, to waste a moment on yesterdays.
~Ralph Waldo Emerson