- Molly’s Wig (s): Yvonne Orji is a beautiful woman. Yet her gorgeous African figures succumb to the unstated tragedy of unflattering wigs. This proves that inauthentic hair, be it a wig, weave, or unnatural hair color, is simply an injustice and insult to black beauty. FYI, I feel the same way about Issa’s dyed tresses, as it suggests that natural hair is more approachable or attractive if an unnatural color.
- The Hyper-sexual Black Female: Black women on prime time television function as an SOS that states WARNING MARRIED WOMEN!! Black women will steal your man and have sex with him in bathrooms or AV closets (Scandal) when you are just steps away.
- Lawrence and his non-black arm candy to an otherwise all black event: The series depicts the black man as driven away from the black woman due to her hyper-sexuality—a depiction that paints the black female body as a catalyst for black male emasculation. This of course veils the acts of a villainous white male patriarchal system as the misdeeds of black women.
- The cantankerous, heavy-set black woman: Kelli, the full-figured friend performs a familiar caricature. She’s the comedic relief, she’s comfortable in casual relationships to which many interpret as “winning.” However, an alternative interpretation may deem Kelli’s actions an acquiescence to an inferior position in the social hierarchy. Is Kelli funny? Yes! Is she beautiful? Yes. But her beauty is betrayed by way of humor, doing little to advance or challenge the way we as black people view big black women.
- Light=Right: It is not accidental that Tiffany, the black female character with fair skin and a blonde weave appears the most conventional in the series. Tiffany, the Beyonce of the series, is married, whereas her darker counterparts have issues keeping men and avoiding self-sabotage. She’s also sexually liberated. In the previous episode, Tiffany gloated about her willingness to perform fellatio, referencing her performance as instrumental in landing her a ring—illustrating the fairer skin woman as incurring opportunity where the darker skin woman incurs objectification.
- Colorism Part 2: It is also worth mentioning that Dro, Molly’s fair-skinned, childhood friend also bears a disturbing function on the series. Dro is married to a chocolate woman who he said proposed the idea of an open marriage. Molly finds herself within their arrangement, creating a love triangle where a lighter skin male sexually engages with two women of a darker hue in a manner that resembles their plantation use. Although he seems gentle and sweet to both his wife Candace and Molly, Dro devalues black women in a manner nurtured and encouraged by the white supremacy that dominates the globe.
- A convo isn’t a convo without the n-word: The n word is used freely and frequently—present in nearly every conversation and argument featured on the series. This implies that use of the n-word is a colloquialism or accepted norm between blacks. Are there some blacks who use the term frequently without explication or much thought? Yes. Is this everyone. No.
It seems in the series’ desire to be edgy and “urban” foments a caricatured performance of blacks by blacks—an image that validates not challenges white perception.
- The White Savior Figure
A predominately black series is unapproachable to a white audience without a white savior figure. Insecure implements this figure through Issa’s coworker, whose name will be purposely omitted from this piece to eschew affording this character any more glory. When the black principal restricts resources to only black children, the white woman deems his actions racist and holds Issa— a black woman accountable in ensuring inclusivity.
Sure, this act seems noble—but in reality this white woman is the epitome of a contemporary feminist–implementing anti-racist initiatives by ignoring or oversimplyfing their own racism in naming the oppressed racists in a distorted perception of global racism. As a result, she acknowledges that her approaching a black man on a racial issue as a white woman counters her attempt at appearing antiracist, so she appoints a black woman to do her dirty work. Because it is of course, this is not racist (side eye).
It would have been a step forward in black portrayal to see Issa have an enlightened exchange with the vice-principal, but instead she does not understand or contemplate his behavior. Issa’s white coworker of course does not understand the Vice Principal’s behavior, but she does seem to contemplate said behavior due to her internalized need to emerge as a psuedo “savior.” The white female behavior illustrated in this episode depicts a commonly ignored reality with regards to the white gaze. Namely, that much of black behavior functions as an informal anthropological experiment to white people.
But, Issa is a good slave, I mean worker, and she confronts the black male principal demanding that he include those who in their adulthood will probably view themselves as above blacks, and assume opportunities blacks fought hundreds of years to obtain.
If it sounds like I am disappointed in the series, I am. But at the same time, I tune in to the sole series that addresses my age bracket to support a melanated woman in her creative endeavor. I also watch in hopes for improvement. Yet instead, by the end of each episode I feel as the title of this latest episode reads: Hella Disrespected.
Black Power ❤ `