Many of us have known the name Issa Rae for the past few years thanks to her popular web series ‘Awkward Black Girl’. So when it was announced that she was developing a show on HBO with Larry Wilmore, people were both excited and nervous. Excited because we knew how charming and relatable Issa’s writing is and nervous because not many people have made the jump from internet to TV gracefully. If anyone was to do it, though, it would be Issa, especially because she had the resources of HBO available to her.
Not surprisingly, the season premiere of ‘Insecure’ landed with grace and style that rivalled Gabby Douglas.
Ten weeks later, the show has concluded and I can confidently say that it’s my favorite show of the year. I didn’t just enjoy ‘Insecure’, I’m thankful for it. I’m thankful for all the opportunities that it gave actors of color, especially Black actors, and how realistically it portrayed those characters.
‘Insecure’ stood out among other Black television shows like ‘Atlanta’ and ‘Luke Cage’ with its treatment of Black female characters. The former had one female character in the main cast, Vanessa, and she was almost always relegated to a minor role. ‘Luke Cage’, on the other hand, had several Black women in its main cast, and all of them had powerful roles. However, a majority of those women were lightskin, a problem that I’ve already discussed. The leading ladies of ‘Insecure’ are darkskin women who are powerful, independent, and real.
That’s the highlight of this show: the characters were just like real people. Too often are Black people portrayed as one dimensional and all or nothing without a hint of complexity. This show had no trouble treating characters like the multifaceted beings that they are. Issa and company were never forced into different boxed by the writers, instead the viewers were the ones who got to interpret their actions as good or bad. That all came to a head in the season finale which sent Twitter into a civil war, arguing over who was right and who was wrong. The fact that there were arguments at all is proof enough that the characters were real and complex.
Despite being the awkward Black girl, Issa Rae’s transition to television was anything but. In the ten episodes that make up the first season of ‘Insecure’ we were introduced to a whole cast of interesting characters. We got to see their relationships mature and become more complex in a realistic and relatable way. Through Issa’s casual quoting of Drake and a soundtrack that sounds like it was taken right out of your Spotify playlist, ‘Insecure’ became one of this season’s most charming TV shows. Fans of the show, me included, are anxiously awaiting what Season 2 has in store.