On behalf of all shows that veer left of mainstream thought, or conservative black thought, or just every day “n#$&@” talk I am so excited that Issa Rae, the ultimate awkward black girl, and her show “Insecure” was picked up for a second season. This was on the heels last month that another nerdy fav “Atlanta” starring Donald Glover, was renewed for a second season as well. Add Ava DuVernay’s “Queen Sugar,” which was renewed for a second season before the first one even premiered, and you have a very complex and diverse line up of black programming.
This is important because while historically and currently LGBTQ concerns have been viewed from a “Not our issue” stance or our very community was marginalized and ridiculed; it is nice to know there are conversations going on by our allies.
To be fair, on “Insecure,” and “Atlanta,” there are no LGBTQ characters prominently featured. But this past week, Rae and her show took on a heated subject with grace and humor.
Sexual fluidity and the double standard applied to men and women in the black community.
If you have been following Rae’s show you know she plays a version of the ABG, Issa, a hilarious, and complicated young woman pushing towards 30 and a little lost in direction and life. She has a decent yet unfulfilling job, a decent yet bland unmotivated boyfriend (played by the amazing Jay Ellis who managed to tone down how beautiful he really is on the screen) and quest to find something more for her life.
Her ride or die is Molly, played by Yvonne Orji, a talented, smart, and attractive attorney, who takes relationships with men a little too seriously.
It’s their dynamic and friendship that sets the tone and invites the audience in to ask the hard question about leaving your 20s and entering adult, adulthood.
The episode “Gulty As Fuck” brought us back to Molly who had dissed a decent guy Jered, played by comedian Langston Kerman, because he didn’t graduate from college. After she discovered educated guys could be dicks too she fell back into the arms of Jered. They had intimacy and great sex – what could go wrong. Well in a very sweet moment of truth-telling (which you should NEVER do in a relationship by the way) Molly revealed secrets from her past: sexual trysts, lies, etc…, and Jered feeling an open space, reciprocated by sharing as well. But the buck stopped when he revealed he went down on another guy after being drunk at a party.
It is important to note that the writers made sure to tell the audience that Jered went down on the guy. There would be no way to interpret the act of passive homosexuality; “oh he went down on me when I was sleep.” Nope. Jared provoked the act. He was responsible for the action and took responsibility for it.
Cut to the typical sister girl clutch saying to “drop him because he is gay” speech. What was interesting and refreshing to note this time is that not everyone was on #thatniggagay. There were arguments that Jered could, in fact, have an affair and not be homosexual, or even bisexual. He could fall on the somewhere off the middle of the Kinsey scale. At one point Issa’s character pointed out that Molly had had an affair with a girl in college, and that we might be subscribing to “heteronormative ideals” of sexuality.
As a black gay male this was a welcome conversation and an important one to see on screen because for decades the idea of “hypermasculinity” went unchallenged. If you had one experience, got anywhere near a penis as a man you were instantly gay. It is an unfair conclusion. The stigma also a lot of people to decide not to reveal such moments from their past for fear of being judged.
I will not reveal the end, you have to watch Insecure for yourself, but I give the creator and writers points for offering different voices to the same questions.