Whether you were an Awkward Black Girl fan or the marketing for this show got your interest peaked, welcome the next series which shows TV is way ahead of the game when it comes to diverse depictions of Black folk.
Issa (Issa Rae) is a 29-year-old woman from a good family, works at a non-profit focused on helping inner city youth, and has a boyfriend of 5 years. In many ways, her life, on paper, seems alright. Then you get to know her and start to realize while things may seem good on paper, she is so frustrated. Her boyfriend Lawrence (Jay Ellis) is straight up potential wasted and years wasted. Her job is run by white people with good intentions, but who have no real connection with the youth they are trying to serve, and at 29 Issa is questioning what is she doing with her life? She is almost 30! A milestone and all she has to show for it is a degree, a job, and her living with her boyfriend. Surely she should be further in life and happier, right?
Well, she isn’t alone in her struggle. Best friend Molly (Yvonne Orji) is more successful than Issa with her corporate job and being able to mix with both corporate culture and still hang with the boys downtown. However, one thing which eludes Molly is a good man. No, better yet, a husband. Her co-worker can get one to put a ring on it, much less a Black man to do that, so what’s wrong with her?
Together, they are trying to do more than perhaps do well professionally but get their personal life together. Which perhaps will be easier said than done.
For those who liked the character Rae played in her web series Awkward Black Girl, pretty much expect the same character under different circumstances and, sadly, with less memorable co-workers. She still raps her frustrations, is a bit socially awkward, but you have to like just the subtle remix of what is becoming a common tune. Issa, the character, has everything together, but she isn’t like the Olivia Pope, Mary Janes, or Annalise Keating. She isn’t in some high-powered professional position, she is in the type of job you and I could be in and is having normal people problems. Which, to me, is refreshing.
If only because I think Black media, be it movies or TV shows, has followed the Cosby Show model too long. Meaning, any depiction of Black folks as leads, they have to be in these positions of power and respect. The kind when someone says “Oh my daughter is a lawyer, doctor” or whatever, it is supposed to be impressive. But, at the same time, what about everyone else? Surely shows can feature characters like Issa who just work at a non-profit and may not be the top person there, but they are doing their job.
Which isn’t to say the show doesn’t have its Cosby Show character in Molly, but I feel between her and Issa they aren’t focused on respectability politics. Rae and company want women who are a bit more real, who don’t live in a soap opera featuring murderers, presidents, and rich people problems. They want to focus on the normal issues girls like them deal with. Be it trying to find someone worthy of your time, not feeling like a token in the workplace, or never being sure if the grass may be greener or you are just seeing a floor model. Plus, they want to show women who can code-switch like Molly, those who can be indecisive and not have a drinking problem or try to illicit your loyalty by wondering if they may ever make it with some married man. This is a new era and while the old way works, I believe Insecure is trying to show there are various different paths to take.
On The Fence
I’m trying to be fair and come up with something I don’t like or think you may not like, but it is a bit hard. I mean, outside of possibly being sensitive because Black guys aren’t depicted or talked about well, what can you nitpick over? Yet, even if you want to feel slighted by that, remember these are Black women speaking on their relationships. They don’t mean brothers as a whole but the negroes who wasted their time, energy, and maybe their money too.
Overall Feelings: Positive (Watch This)