Issa Rae debuted her latest project Insecure October 9 on HBO. The first episode contains a relentless allegiance to the hidden beauty of South L.A.’s small eateries and palm trees, women speaking crass about their lady parts and a genuine portrayal of a black female friendship. Rae, along with Larry Wilmore, have developed a TV comedy series similar to her freshman project “Awkward Black Girl” on YouTube. Reigning praises from Mara Brock Akil, Ava Duvernay and Lena Dunham, Insecure is expected to be one of fall’s popular new shows.
The show opens with Kendrick Lamar’s “Alright” and Issa speaking with middle school students about her non-profit organization. The students then bombard her with questions about her personal life. These questions range from topics regarding her natural hair, her age and as one student put it, “why men have no interest in black women.” Rae tackles common questions asked to black women within the first five minutes of the show. Although the show is a comedy, Issa does not shy away from cringe-worthy topics.
Because Insecure is partially a revamped version of Awkward Black Girl, viewers will continue to see Issa Rae play herself as Issa Dee. Alongside her TV best friend Molly, played by Yvonne Orji, the two ladies endure awkward situations that many can relate to. From heated arguments with your best friend to looking for reasons to make things work with your ex, the show delivers content the audience is likely familiar with.
Rae took to Tumblr and Twitter to discuss wanting to create a show where viewers understand the urban jargon without having to compromise the true meaning of the writers. Her writers have a clear understanding of what Rae is trying to portray in her new series. From the importance of code-switching to being passive aggressive within her workplace, Rae embodies the true elements of an awkward black girl.
In lieu of the soar of African-American TV shows, such as ABC’S Blackish, FX’s Atlanta and OWN’s Queen Sugar, Rae loves seeing African-Americans portrayed in different ways. None of these shows are the same, but many can relate to the experiences each one has to offer.
“I just want to show that when it comes to blacks on television, we are not all the same,” Issa stated in an ask forum on Tumblr. “We do not all fit in one category.”
Returning fans can expect to see a few familiar faces on the new show. Sujata Day (Ce-Ce on ABG) comes to Insecure as a co-worker of Issa’s as well as Catherine Curtin (Joanne) as her boss. Jay Ellis, Blue from BET’s The Game, stars as Issa’s five-year boyfriend that won’t commit to her or find a job.
With the commendable writing in Awkward Black Girl, it is good to see Issa’s work reaching a larger platform. Because the likelihood of women in comedy is fairly low compared to men and even lower for women of color, Issa provides a gateway of representation for awkward black girls everywhere.