From Martin to Fresh Prince of Bel-Air to Living Single, Black sitcoms have always been a reflection of what’s most valued to Black people who are either coming into adulthood or are somewhat experienced as we navigate careers, relationships, and our identities.
Insecure has been that television series for me, and based on the overwhelming support the show has gotten, it has been an important and memorable show for Black people, but especially Black women ages 18-30.
I am 19 going on 20 in a few months, and outside of the experiences of the women in my family, Insecure shined the light on what navigating the world today looks like as a Black woman who does not have it all together.
For many of us, or me at least, Black womanhood has only been portrayed as strength and confidence and knowing what you want from life. While these characteristics are part of the many that make Black womanhood powerful and beautiful, it was so important for me to see the side that is less spoken about, the insecurities that makes us just as human as anyone else.
Portraying insecurity as a Black woman is a slippery slope. For so long our insecurities have been thrown in our face by the outside world and by members of our own community. When you have to be superwoman, when you have to work five times as hard as others because your constantly undermined, when you have to be well composed and not allowed to express your true thoughts and feelings out of fear of being seen as aggressive or nagging, when your not allowed to be quiet, shy, and reserved because then your seen as being hostile, it can be so hard to shed that “perfect” version of yourself that was forced onto you.
That’s why Issa Dee (Issa Rae), Molly (Yvonne Orji) and the rest of the gang were so important to see on a major platform. They were constantly thrown in the life situations we know all too well, the confusion and struggles in our love lives, maintaining our friendships, the hardships and emotional strain of motherhood, and comparing our success to others in our careers. They handled these experiences not with this “perfect image” we’ve been accustomed to seeing, but with honesty. We got to see the tears and the conversations and the self-doubt that happens behind closed doors.
For me this show was about moving forward despite your self-doubt, and that’s a lesson I’m still in the midst of learning in my own life when there have been plenty of times I have let fear of failure keep me from opportunities I thought I wasn’t qualified enough for, or relationships with friends and others that I’ve pulled away from out of fear of rejection, or even when I look around at the people in my age group who seem to know exactly what they want and how they’re going to get it, when my wants and goals seem to change every other week.
Being secure in your insecurities is what stuck with me most throughout this show, and to me that means that insecurities are a normal part of life and they should be acknowledged and something we learn and grow from, without allowing them to run our lives.
Insecure inspired me to tear down the “perfect me” and focus on growing from and being confident in the me that is very awkward (sometimes corny), quiet and introverted at times, loud when I’m comfortable, creative, spontaneous but still has issues with control and taking risks, a procrastinator since birth, competitive when I feel like it, and can’t dance to save my life (I’m still going to try though). The series also gave me a realistic timeline, I’m not going to have everything down by 25 or even 30, I have the rest of my life to figure things out and grown and change.
I really appreciate this show for portraying that Black women can have everything we deserve without having to constantly suffer and being dragged through the trenches and having us settle for less (I’m looking at you Tyler Perry).
I can’t wait to see what new projects Issa Rae comes out with and I especially can’t wait to see the content from the Black creators she has inspired. We’ve truly entered a new era for Black entertainment, and I’m here for it.