2019 Webby Awards: Issa Rae, Desus & Mero Celebrate Going From Online to Opulence

(L-R): Issa Rae receives and award onstage, Desus Nice and The Kid Mero attend The 23rd Annual Webby Awards on May 13, 2019 in New York City.
(L-R): Issa Rae receives and award onstage, Desus Nice and The Kid Mero attend The 23rd Annual Webby Awards on May 13, 2019 in New York City.
Photo: Noam Galai (Getty Images for Webby Awards)

The 23rd Annual Webby Awards held its ceremony in New York City Monday night and black excellence logged on!


“So many of tonight’s winners represent the promise of the internet: the ability to unite people all over the world in pursuit of something better,” Webby Awards Executive Director, Claire Graves said via press release. “This is the Internet we want.”

There was no need for any awkward wrap-up music moments because the honorees prepared 5-word speeches. Quite apt for the world of the internet.

Issa Rae accepted her Webby Video Person of the Year award by saying, “Stop believing stupid people, shit.” How timely, especially given this current administration. Rae has been winning; not only upgrading her webseries into a TV show, but also capitalizing on the film and beauty markets.

Other notable speeches included activist DeRay Mckesson, who said, “We will win one day”; rapper Tierra Whack, who accepted the Webby for Artist of the Year with, “Weird hype and creative kids”; and self-artist Fulton Leroy Washington accepting with, “Enough. End mass incarceration now.” Washington served 21 years of a life sentence after a wrongful conviction, released in 2016 under clemency granted by President Barack Obama. He has since dedicated his life and work to criminal justice reform.

Tracy Morgan, sporting a du-rag ceremony worth of waves in his hair, presented the Webby Special Achievement Award to Desus and Mero, likening them to a modern-day Abbott and Costello or Lucy and Ethel. Naturally, the comedy duo went peak Bronx native with their acceptance speech, yelling, “Shoutout to the Bronx, y’heard!”


“It’s dope to be recognized as far as pushing the envelope as far internet and new media,” Mero told The Hollywood Reporter. “It’s wild because other executives, who I’m not going to mention, have been like, ‘This Internet stuff is like meh, we don’t have to put stuff on YouTube and blah blah blah.’ And then look what happens. We have been pushing the envelope ever since we got on TV, and we’re going to continue to do so. I think that this is a testament to that.” The pair certainly got the last laugh, scoring a sweet TV deal with Showtime.

This year’s Webby’s was a particularly big one, since the internet is also celebrating its 50th anniversary this year.


For the complete list of winners, head to webbyawards.com.

Staff Writer, Entertainment at The Root. Sugar, spice & everything rice. Equipped with the uncanny ability to make a Disney reference and a double entendre in the same sentence.


I love Tierra Whack. She is so creative!