The moment when you finally meet someone you know only by way of the Internet can be, well, awkward. In some cases, that meeting is disastrous, because the real-life relationship pales in comparison to the Internet friendship. Other times, however, the in-person encounter strengthens the hunch that said person could actually be someone you have things in common with, beyond the laptop. As I hopped out of a cab and walked into Los Angeles's Paper or Plastik Cafe on a hot afternoon in August, I wondered which I was headed for.
Having spent over a year watching the YouTube phenomenon The Misadventures of Awkward Black Girl, created, written, directed, produced, and starring 27-year-old Issa Rae as the lovably awkward "J," and then exchanging e-mails for the past few months, I was banking on the fact that this young woman whose on-camera character and off-camera persona I connected with would ultimately be someone who, in real life, I connected with. Upon walking in and being put at ease by her similarly unprofessional attire and relaxed nature, it immediately felt as if we were about to have a conversation, instead of me conducting an interview. It was like we were new old friends. Or old new friends? Either way, it was good.