‘Insecure’ did that, and now I want more.
“Insecure” wrapped up an impeccable second season this past Sunday and I felt the need to write.
24 hours ago, I was writing about how much I felt like I related to the characters, followed by my defense that it was only the places in their lives that I really understood – confused millennials that were just trying to find their place in the world.
However, I deleted and deleted, and finally just stopped writing all together because of this quote Issa Rae said in a recent Rolling Stone feature that kept clouding my thoughts and judgments:
“In creating and writing the show, this is not for dudes. It’s not for white people. It’s the show that I imagined for my family and friends.”
I wasn’t confused because “Insecure” is so perfectly made for whom Rae thinks is her target audience is. I was more upset with the fact that I couldn’t think of anyone who I actually identified with on television from a week-to-week basis. And by doing so, I attached myself to a show like “Insecure” because the characters’ lives had lines or bits that correlated with me.
And before anyone jumps the gun… I am not talking about the white gaze. There are hundreds of shows depicting that. I am specifically talking about the 20-year-old, LGBTQ gaze.
I look back and I think, “Yes, ‘Looking’ there was that” or “That one character from that one show kind of had my quirks.” But no, I cannot think of a show right now that really depicts the life I live.
And not only my life. There are so many other ethnicities, races, religions, etc. that can’t even name a character or a plot line where there life has been plucked from, but that is why “Insecure” is so important and why I continue to applaud what they are doing for television in general.
The success of “Insecure” was definitely not granted. HBO has a dozen shows that continue to produce quality content. What Rae and her entire team was able to do is amazing, so much so that I believe it is really a turning point in where we are when it comes to representation on television.
Hell no there isn’t going to be some massive change in content in the coming year, or even the next few years for that matter. But the formula works: give the under-represented a shot and they will go leaps and bounds further than the garbage that pilot season sees every single year.
Right now I may not see myself on television and maybe that is for the best – it would be a hot ass mess at times. The time is now, though, to create these shows.
And in five years if I don’t see myself depicted in some way, I might as well just write my own pilot.