Excuse my cultural appropriation, but Issa Rae is my spirit animal. I know my sentiments aren’t unique, a lot of black women identify with Issa Rae, but I’ve always been the O.G. black girl. When The Misadventures of ABG first premiered on YouTube, everyone reached out to me. “Renee, this character reminds me so much of you!”
When I heard that Issa Rae was going to have a network show on HBO, I felt like a proud mama bear. Her show premiered on my birthday; the first episode was about her birthday and she turned 29, the same age I turned! How anyone could deny God connecting us together is beyond me. Insecure just finished its first season yesterday, and the finale had black millennials in a tizzy. It had me in my feelings.
One of the strong points of Insecure is the relatability of the characters and how their insecurities manifest; specifically Molly and Tasha. Molly is reminiscent of Olivia Pope, Annalise Keating, or Mary Jane; a successful, black woman, with so many accomplishments, who loves to self-sabotage her personal life into smithereens. Molly is a big time firm lawyer, has an office with an awesome view, has great style, but she has a broken *****. Her dating blunders, while they were mostly painted in a comedic light, were uncomfortable because they are a reality for a good amount of women. The more education a black woman has is inversely related to her probability of marriage. Women are taught to settle for education, fidelity, looks. And when you have a terminal degree, you are most likely to be Type A controlling individual.
While Molly did not want to settle, she subconsciously made decisions to break her own heart, and keep her from the love she knew she deserved. Once she realized she was standing in her own way of greatness, she had a moment where she condemned herself to purgatory. Molly was so damn insecure that she was worthy of a healthy and whole relationship, that she consciously succumbed to her demons and had sex with a man who still was in undergrad.
Issa and Molly’s friendship were so necessary for her salvation, which brings up the importance of having people who believe in you when you don’t see your own beauty. This also brought up the concept of living with intentions; what choices will you intentionally make that put you in a position to reach your goals or definition of happiness? What habits will you unlearn that invariably cause you grief? I’m sorely invested in seeing how the writers tackle Molly working through her issues.
Tasha AKA Bank Teller Bae AKA Yam and Mac N’Cheese Based Gawdess, her character became sympathetic in the most insidious of ways. She was initially regarded as a threat to the failing Issa/Lawrence relationship, she had a stacked body, nice weave, great smile, and supportive to the emotionally abused yet unavailable Lawrence. I won’t deny that I cheered when he rejected her at Best Buy.
The Tasha/Lawrence interlude was inevitable, especially after Lawrence discovered that Issa cheated. The writers still shocked us because they led us to believe that Lawrence and Issa were going to reconcile. Tasha seemingly got what she wanted, non-platonic attention and affection from Lawrence. And that’s how Tasha, the background character that we know the least about, became glaringly human and sympathetic. One of the hardest lessons in life is recognizing that most people don’t care about you, they care about how you fit into their lives. Most people do not have intentions of hurting you, they don’t have intentions of caring about you which inevitably maims you.
People who leave long term relationships are hurt individuals. Hurt people genuinely do hurt other people, even if it isn’t intentional. And the first person who engages with an individual who is newly single, 9.5 times out of 10, they get hurt. The hurt party is managing their insecurities by preying on yours and usurping your affection. While Lawrence likes Tasha, he is emotionally unavailable; Tasha will be his sacrificial lamb for his healing unless she recognizes the warning signs. His reasons for liking her and having sex with her had everything to do with his insecurities as a man and little to none with him cathecting in her.
Tasha is an adult woman that knew he just broke up with Issa, and she made her choice to have sex with him. But that doesn’t mean my heart did not break for her, because we all have been someone’s emotional balm. I’m not Negrodamus, so I cannot predict what the writers have in store for that relationship. Hopefully it doesn’t include Tasha losing her shit and Lawrence playing victim.
The world needs stories for us by us, and I’m grateful for the existence of Issa Rae Diop. Season 2 is going to spur even more think pieces, even more twitter dialogues, and evoke even more introspection.