It has been a great season for black television, and I don’t mean BET. I mean black creatives in television are showing out and giving us amazing content we didn’t even know we were missing. I have already sung the praises of Atlanta, but now that Insecure has concluded its first season on HBO (and has been renewed for a second) I have to show major love. Insecure takes place in L.A. with the show’s protagonist Issa (played by the show’s Creator Issa Rae) going back and forth between the guy she’s with, and the guy she’s most attracted to (you know that one trash ass ex who reappears right when you’re happy) while also figuring out how to perform well at a job she’s not sure she should be doing. Her boyfriend Lawrence (played by the ever lovable Jay Ellis) is down on his luck and trying desperately to get it together, which puts an even greater strain on an already lackluster relationship that has kind of plateaued. Meanwhile, Issa’s best friend Molly (played by Yvonne Orji) is a successful lawyer with an amazing wardrobe who is climbing the legal (?) ladder, but whose love life looks like one long, endless Drake song. She has taken L after L in the relationship department, and discovers (through some tough love via Issa that she is actually the problem).
A few things I loved:
Black people are rarely afforded the luxury of just existing. Black people (especially those with a platform) have this obligation that’s been forced upon us to be serious, to speak for all black people, and to always represent us in the best possible light, lest you will set us all back 60 or so years. No big deal. It feels like the writers of Insecure said screw that, we should get to be regular. There is no forced agenda to be perfect in anyone’s eyes. There is no overt platform so much as there is just an accurate depiction of what it means to be in your 20’s and 30’s just figuring things out in love, career, and friendships…while black. It can be argued that other black leading ladies like Olivia Pope and Annalise Keating are doing the same things, but Issa’s stakes are just not that high. Literally no one is going to die if Issa messes something up, and that’s the case for most of us (save for those who work in the medical field). This puts the relatability level on a hunned thousand trillion.
There are some fine ass dudes in this show, and there is a lot of man ass. Now I always find it a little odd when women are turned on by dude’s asses, because that’s just not my thing. No tea no shade if you’re into that kind of thing, but that’s not what I’m talking about here. I don’t appreciate black man asses at face value (hahaha face value) but I do appreciate that for once black dude’s asses were outchea for the oogling, as opposed to black women’s. Let’s spread the exploitation of black bodies across genders for crying out loud (I say that with partial sarcasm).
Dope Ass Music
So much good music is played during this show, and guess why?! Because none other than the Soul Angel Solange Knowles worked as a music consultant. The sultry tunes set the vibe for the scenes, and provided a fullness to the experience of watching. Bonus: there is a Spotify playlist for Insecure. Check it out here.
The Realness of You Can’t Have it All
Have you ever noticed that when one area of your life is going really well, another area of your life is going to shit? I love that Insecure explores that. It’s like Oprah says, “You can have everything, just not all at once.” Molly’s career is booming, but her love life is trash (samesies). Issa’s career was struggling with her boss telling her she seems like she doesn’t really want to be there anymore, but once she starts to do better at work, she loses both of her love interests. Yes you can have it all, just maybe not at the same damn time.
It would’ve been smart of me to write down the three or four times Issa dropped Drake lyrics in this show, but I was trying to enjoy the damn show okay?! You will recall that in her imagination about what will happen when she has a conversation with Lawrence she says, “I’m searching for these words to say to you right now.” Direct lyrics from Drake’s Redemption. Are my ears automatically tuned to hear Drake lyrics everywhere? Yes. But this time I was right.
There is a show on Netflix called The Characters wherein comedians get a full hour to do different sketches, and I freaking love a good sketch comedy routine! Each comedian’s hour is one episode. Natasha Rothwell’s is freaking hilarious! I was so happy to see her again in Insecure as Issa’s friend Kelli. Her comedic timing is flawless, and she just warms my heart. In my mind I am Rihanna. IRL, I am Kelli.