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Created by Issa Rae and Larry Wilmore, HBO’s ‘Insecure’ follows the life of a twenty-something-year-old woman who is awkwardly navigating friendship, dating, and life in Los Angeles as a Black woman. The iconic talking to one’s self mirror scenes are what drew audiences in; Issa Dee’s (Issa Rae) poignant, intense, and undoubtedly hilarious conversations with herself. Those intimate moments were a cathartic sense of relatability and an empowering moment to witness as she identifies her daily triggers and addresses them, with herself of course. With the chapter of ‘Insecure’ coming to a close, fans are anxiously awaiting to see what’s next for Issa Rae’s future creative endeavors.
One of the head writers of ‘Insecure’, Amy Aniobi, states that the structural storytelling for the show exists within the narrative of the series lead character, “We wanted to make sure that our stories were through the lens of connecting to our black female lead.” In that sense, Aniobi illustrates an ability to conceptualize relevant topics that are woven throughout the seasons of the show. Aniobi signifies that the series follows the emotional journey of insecure twenty-somethings who are learning how to come to terms with their imperfections on their terms and it’s exciting to watch as they continue to accept the uncertainty of what it means to be mature.
‘Insecure’ celebrates and nurtures the charismatic personalities of Issa’s personal life by showing that path of friendship and even love isn’t always linear, it’s about accepting flaws and arising to difficult moments that define a powerful bond. The show focuses on the difficult journey of growing up and suggests that seeking confidence is less about finding perfection, but about embracing the mistakes of the past. Issa’s perception of life is told through the compelling performance of Issa Rae and her quick-witted personality supports the character’s personal growth in challenging situations.
Transformation and Insecurities
‘Insecure’ is a first-class lesson on personal development. Rather than hitting life’s milestones to mark adulthood, the characters learn to come to terms with life’s uncertainties. They’re transitioning from a point in their lives where they expect to have all the answers of what makes an adult, to a point where they accept their imperfections and acknowledge their insecurities without shame. Instead of attempting to erase the past to look toward the future, they forgive their questionable choices and grow from them. It’s in that departure of craving control that they settle into maturity.
Issa’s ability to recognize her self-described awkwardness and accept that quirky side of herself is a sign that she is ready to embrace an image of imperfection. There’s an intimate connection with the audience when Issa drops her guard and is free to be herself within the confines of her bathroom. That sense of aloneness is anything but lonely, it’s a moment for her to recharge and look inward to process the day-to-day stress that many just learn to suppress. Issa’s interactions with herself are a cathartic release as she verbalizes her triggers and anxiety in bathrooms that carry the echoes of her self-empowerment. Issa’s conversations go beyond just her reflection, there is a sense of her symbolically speaking directly to her audience and permitting them to indulge in any activity that brings a sense of stability amidst the chaos, even if just for a moment.
The Women of ‘Insecure’
The dynamic women of Issa’s world are intelligent, fierce, charismatic, and hilarious. Their ability to remain open with each other, even in the darkest of times, is a testament to the deep love these ladies hold for each other. Despite the heartbreaking rifts that ebb and flow within their friendships, there’s always an element of assurance their bonds will lead them to a place where they discover solace and healing in their friendship. Throughout five seasons of the series, Issa Dee (Issa Rae), Molly Carter (Yvonne Orji), Kelly Prenny (Natasha Rothwell), and Tiffany DuBois (Amanda Seales) share the collective thread of struggling to find the ideal version of what their lives should be. It’s informative for audiences as we witness how these ladies learn to welcome the flawed and precarious nature of humanity, acclimating to the notion that adulthood carries more than one definition.
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Behind the scenes, the direction of ‘Insecure’ was led by women who are passionate about bringing the essence of the show to life by allowing the city of L.A. to help illustrate the rich background of the show’s characters. Melina Matsoukas and Ava Berkofsky wanted to capture the thriving culture and diversity of L.A. through locations, lighting, colors, and the people who embody the spirit of such an energetic city. Berkofsky shares, “We embrace color on skin and we embrace color in production design… I soften the sharpness of all the colors in the camera and bring it into a similar place.… There are a lot of soft pastel colors with a distinct attitude.” She can allow Inglewood, a neighborhood in L.A., to influence the overall mood and personality of the show.
What Can We Expect?
The final season begins on the heels of a poignant and touching season four. Issa Dee is allowing herself to reconcile with errors she’s made in the past and the missteps taken in relationships and friendships. By learning to forgive herself, viewers are waiting to see how that self-love transcends into how she approaches her personal life and her career. We can hope that this season will bring the chronicles of all these characters to come full circle minus the perfection that they thought they would inherit from adulthood. ‘Insecure’ celebrates the imperfection in humanity and the way we allow ourselves to acknowledge and accept our inherent flaws. We can expect that Issa Dee is taking that intensity from her mirror conversations and harnessing that sense of security into her real-life relationships.
Cast: Issa Rae, Jay Ellis, Yvonne Orji, Amanda Seales, Natasha Rothwell
Writer(s): Issa Rae, Larry Wilmore, Laura Kittrell, Mike Gauyo, Amy Aniobi, Jason Lew
Director(s): Melina Matsoukas, Ava Berkofsky, Kerry Washington
By Gina Michele Yaniz
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Gina Michele Yaniz is a writer and digital media content creator with a deep love for storytelling. Charmed by the notable influence of the entertainment industry, Gina is passionate about uplifting the voices of artists and celebrating powerful material. She likes to embody the philosophy of writing through a non-judgmental and a genuine perspective while expanding the perception of film industry. Along with Hollywood Insider, Gina values the responsibility the media holds and wishes to use her writing to provide meaningful content. During her free time, Gina loves to watch period pieces, stand-up comedy, and indulges on her avid interest for reading articles on self-care.