I have been avoiding a few movies or shows that highly address VERY REAL struggles of a Black character. I vicariously live in them and what they are experiencing are things I have also experienced. It’s more apparent when I watch shows like Insecure, Dear White People and Queen Sugar. They are great shows! There is nothing about these shows I would change thus far. I on the other hand can’t handle watching character tropes that are near and dear to me. Especially their line of thinking, insecurities or struggles they endure. Insecure was released in 2016 and since then tried to watch the first two episodes. It’s now 2020 and I managed the first four seasons and I had to take a break. I resonate with Lawrence, Issa and Molly’s characters. The title obviously highlights different characters’ insecurities but they all remind me of myself when I was highly insecure of myself and the way I carried myself in the world. I wanted to fit in. Then I wanted to stand out, I wanted to erase my accent, then I wanted it back. I was bullied then began to bully others.
Insecure allows for people who look like me to see myself in stories and learn from their choices. But watching them brings me back to a past where I wish to not be a part of. When Molly tried to tell her other Black co-worker to reduce her Blackness because the white co-workers will use it as a reason to undermine her work. Molly’s co-worker rightfully refused to change herself. Because why would they hire her when she spoke and acted like herself. A proud, Black woman. I agreed, why do I have to conform, I studied and practiced to work. Low and behold Molly is asked to “talk” to her Black co-worker so that she learns the “culture” of the law firm. Molly declined and her Black co-worker gets a “reminder” of company culture from her white supervisors. Stories like these are what I need validated because it normalizes its audience to notice microaggression. Forces us continue to critically think about how we want to truly live our lives.
The show Insecure is a show finally creating a space where a regular Black woman truly figuring out what her twenties are for. Her friends, boyfriend are all complicated beings dealing with regular real life problems. Not a glorified problem that somehow affects everyone in the show and somehow gets solved every episode. It makes me nervous because I see someone like me on TV and this experience truly informed me why representation matters. Living in Zambia allowed me the privilege to watch shows, cartoons and music where I saw people are Black, African and proud.
Share with us: What shows made you feel represented? And which character?