Past Event

Café Society with WBEZ presents "Awkward Black Girl: Race, Gender, and Hollywood"

 Unfortunately, due to the overwhelming response for this event, pre-registration has now closed.

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The (Mis)Adventures of Awkward Black Girl is a new web-based show that centers on the life of a young African American woman named J as she navigates her way through work and love. The show made its debut last January and has garnered 60,000 viewers every month. This intimate conversation with WBEZ reporter Natalie Moore and LaNisa Frederick will explore how this wildly popular show contends with race and gender. 

LaNisa Frederick is a self proclaimed renaissance woman (based on extensive research from working as an actor, teaching artist, activist, youth worker and casting director. Originally from Cincinnati, Ohio (where Jerry Springer once reigned as mayor) LaNisa attended Loyola University of Chicago (B.A. Theatre) and the University of Essex, England (M.A Theatre Performance).  Since returning to the States she has continued to work with Chicago’s talented teens in a variety of capacities and immersed herself in Chicago’s vibrant theatre scene. LaNisa is an artistic associate and casting director with MPAAC Theatre of which her efforts have led to multiple awards and lots of happy actors of color. With dreams that just will not die, despite all efforts, LaNisa is at heart an actor who has garnered a Jeff Award nomination and multiple Black Theatre Alliance Award nominations for her excellence in the field. She has been seen in multiple commercials, films including “Meet the Browns” and television including “The Chicago Code”.

Natalie Moore is the reporter for Chicago Public Radio’s bureau in Englewood, a neighborhood on Chicago’s South Side. Natalie’s work has been published in EssenceBlack Enterprise, the Chicago ReporterBitchIn These Times, the Chicago Sun-Times and the Chicago Tribune. She is co-author of the book Deconstructing Tyrone: A New Look at Black Masculinity in the Hip-Hop Generation. She is a 2009 fellow at Columbia College’s Ellen Stone Belic Institute for the Study of Women and Gender in the Arts and Media. She’s also on the board of directors of the Neighborhood Writing Alliance.

Questions for consideration and links to online resources:

What resonates with you about the Awkward Black Girl series? How does or doesn’t the show’s main character, J, break with typical representations of the Black female in popular culture? What role can social media and the internet have in transforming media depictions of Black Americans? Is there something about comedy as a platform that makes issues of race and gender easier to address?

  • ‘Awkward Black Girl’ Creator Talks Hollywood, Race and Creative Control
  • ‘Misadventures of Awkward Black Girl’ Star Issa Rae on CNN 
  • ‘Awkward Black Girl’ Garners Laughs
  • How to Write a Wildly Successful Web Series with Issa Rae
  • ‘Awkward Black Girl’ web series grows through social media 

    Co-sponsored by WBEZ 91.5FM

    For more information please call 312.422.5580.

    If you need a sign interpreter or require other arrangements to fully participate, please call 312.422.5580. For parking locations near the facility, please visit