Issa Rae’ Insecure coming back for a second season may be the only thing that keeps me sane as I watch this cavalcade of vulture capitalist flood the Trump ‘Tower of Terror…or Power’ depending on who you ask. A welcomed departure from the weekly ratchet reality television fights and wig snatching; Issa and Molly’s depiction of the ‘code switch’ so accurately portrays what gets most black folks through the workday without catching a case.
I love a good, strong, female lead on a show; the only thing better is an ensemble of strong female characters. In the same vein as Tracee Ellis Ross’ Girlfriends and Queen Latifah’ Living Single, Insecure gives me everything I miss from those shows as well as the gold standard of whiteness, ‘Sex in the City‘. It’s the weak female lead that irks me, namely that damn Hannah from HBO’s Girls.
Lena Dunham’ Girls depicts a cast of Becky’s living vicariously through the all white metropolis we call New York City. An utopia where Lena-light characters play educated but dumb ‘thot’s’ (those hoe’s over there) who can’t seem to make a single life choice that sticks. Girls epitomizes squandered privilege and latent entitlements knowing intrinsically that their white knights will rescue them at some point before they hit rock bottom.
Lena did a great job of masking her characters insecurities beneath her brazen nakedness and reckless sexuality with conquest imagined that real life could never conjure. And although opportunities abound in writing, teaching, and higher education; Hanna chose to work as a barista at a friends coffee shop. Girl power, sexual independence, self discovery, and ‘potentially’ progressive career choices is what brought me to the show in the first place, but lawd gawd by the end of season five these broads are more confused than ever.
Insecure demonstrates just how tentative work, relationships and love are on the hourly basis for upwardly mobile women of color in diversity free work environments. The flagrant waste of resources real and imagined are a dream but not an option. Issa’s character resides in a diverse realism that influences behavior modifications that keep any inflection of culture in check. The code switch is real and an absolute necessity to keep from punching tone deaf coworkers in the face.
Although I live in the insulated world of hairdressing, I too must swerve in and out of character to maintain a diverse clientage. Constantly working against assumptions that plaster permanent labels on our foreheads; she’s angry, she doesn’t work well with others, she’s loud, irrational, always late, uneducated, not well-read, not well-trained, not well-groomed even. (a few of these assumptions may be true but not exclusive to the brown class) What we wear to work and how our hair is styled somehow continues to be a coffee break discussion, or ‘secret white meeting’ as described on Insecure as Issa walks into a discussion that immediatly ends as she enters the room.
What a great show of modern-day feminism it would be if Issa and Lena could co-write, direct and star in ‘real’ female ensemble show that tells the whole truth about gender and race; what a gem that would be. Maybe we would then understand why 53% of white women spoke with their color and not their uterus by voting for Donald Trump for the President of the United States……. even though they’ve been the benefactors of all the greatness America already has to offer….including affirmative action. One’s security should not supress anothers freedom…just saying your whiteness is safe, your uterus is now in the hands of the worlds most powerful pussy grabber.