“The life of every individual, viewed as a whole and in general, and when only its most significant features are emphasized, is really a tragedy; but gone through in detail it has the character of a comedy.” ― Arthur Schopenhauer
What’s good my people?
Sooo…here we are ‘black’ for another round of hilarious introspection, denial, sporadic bars, millennial relationship dynamics, “Set It Off” sisterhood, and an overall insight into life as a young, Black professional woman in present-day California.
It feels “hella” good to see different shades and ways of Blackness on television being articulated by brilliant, Black visionaries, especially coming off the heels of “Girls Trip” raking in over $30 million domestically during its opening weekend and surpassing the $20 million it took to produce the film. Clearly, #blackvisualsmatter and communal support of Black visuals matter most.
Comedians are some of the most brilliant humans. Their ability to satirize, humanize, and eulogize subject matter that could be difficult to confront in ANY other context is a demonstration of one the highest form of intellectual assessment.
You may just want to reconsider how you deal with that class comedian who get’s under your skin.
Comedians invite us to walk voyeuristically into their worlds, viewpoints, opinions, perspectives, assessments, shame, and their triumphs unapologetically.
That is what Issa Rae and Insecure do for us. We are allowed to look through Issa’s lens of awkward, imperfection and beautiful flaws with laughter. The writers do a great job of digging into some serious, contemporary ish:
- perceptions of sexuality,
- interracial dating,
- mismanagement of educational resources,
- the patronizing glare of the white man’s burden,
- black girl fire misunderstood,
- lateral/treadmill career choices, and
- the various social classes within black culture
all topics that they confront using intellectualized hood humor (depending on who can get it) to convey messages with resonance. Insecure’s ability to translate experiences or ideas in a manner that levels up with the experiences of the viewer is quite brilliant.
My little cousin put me on to the Misadventures of an Awkward Black Girl on YouTube a few years ago and I have been an Issa Rae fan since. Rae also published a New York Times bestseller with the same title in 2015. Insecure is a show that is currently airing its second season on Sundays on HBO. The premise of the show is an expansion of ABG in many ways, but is more developed and features some different characters, relationship dynamics, and a defining sisterhood component.
As Issa and her non-typical blackness move through different professional, social, and personal situations, we gravitate towards her and her awkward soul search. The sisterhood between Issa, Molly, and their girls is extremely familiar and tangible for viewers to relate to.
I vividly recall the civil war that ensued in the Black community at the conclusion of last season.
Did Issa get what she deserved? Did Lawrence get Issa back for every man that has been done wrong or feels entitled to a revenge episode? Social media subscribers in Facebook, memeland, and Twitter were all of chiming in with regards to who was right and who was wrong in the breakup.
That’s what good art does.
It has a definitive and reflective impact on reality and how people introduce self-inventory to their own lives. Good instruction serves in the same way. If it isn’t applicable to or reflective of some component of your lifestyle and provoking a response from your audience or students due to prior knowledge, then it is just TRAINING, not education.
Last Night’s Ep dropped a couple of jewels on us: (Spoiler Alert, but not really tho)
As Black woman in the workforce, whether working for an aimless/visionless non-profit organization or a top notch, corporate law firm, or in public education we are highly likely to be a victim of systematic injustice. How we handle the experience of living through that injustice varies, but what doesn’t vary is the way our young Black girls experience the injustice. Their consequences are very different and there is a lot more at stake and in the punitive vain for Black girls. The increasing criminalization of young Black girls in school as discussed in Dr. Monique Morris’ book Pushout: The Criminalization of Black Girls in Schools. makes it so that a teenaged or even middle school version of Issa and Molly may never make it into said workforce.
The scene with Molly and her counselor was great because it was indicative of some true elements of the Black perspective on mental health intervention.
We don’t want nobody in our business.
WE don’t want nobody passing judgment on our actions.
We don’t want nobody to suggest or think that “God forbid, I am falling apart and don’t have it all together.”
This vantage point puts us in a place of uncomfortable, vulnerability that we can’t afford to inhabit while saving humanity in a single bound.
Sometimes HURT people demoralize other people.
From an educational perspective, the scenes produced in this show can be used in the high school classroom as visual thematic starters, developers, or emphasizers. The content is so culturally reflective and responsive to the present dynamics of relationships between Black men and women that there are multiple connecting points from the art to classroom content.
There are numerous examples of code switching, code meshing, multiple modes and channels of communication, and how our social orientation impacts vernacular and expression that can be used for exploration during direct instruction. These critical looks into our mindsets and daily interactions are significant to our comprehension of who we truly are at the core and allow us to recognize some of the falsehoods of our self perceptions.
Everything that is produced by Black creatives can and should find itself in our pedagogy. So, if you’re not up on Insecure, you better get ya life.
Til next time, Blessings.