As we bring you some of the highlights of the writing assignments from my Ithaca College Promoting and Managing ITHACON class, this week is the first runner-up by Maya Lewis.
Maya’s column spoke to us from the a very emotional and introspective place. Some of the things that good media can do is promote introspection and inspiration. Maya found that in the HBO show Insecure. The way that she relates to the show and how it has affected her are what we are looking to promote here at Pop Culture Squad.
Insecure Made Me Confident
by Maya Lewis
Growing up, my mother was always against me watching copious amounts of television, to the point where she had me convinced that if I watched too much TV, I would lose brain cells. And I believed her, that was until I got older.
I started to find a comfort and joy from bingeing shows and fell in love with the feeling of immersing myself into the lives of different characters and their storylines, both emotionally and mentally. It was both therapeutic and freeing, and nothing compared to the feeling I felt, when I was able to recognize parts of myself within certain characters, allowing me to form a deeper connection with both them and the show itself. Unfortunately, this feeling did not occur often, as I rarely encountered shows that starred young black women as leads, who did not play into stereotypical tropes. However, this feeling changed during the summer of 2017 when I discovered Insecure, which is a comedy-drama television series set in Los Angeles and stars Issa Rae and Yvonne Orji, who plays her best friend, Molly. The show is centered around these two women, who are both in their late 20s, navigating through different aspects of their lives.
Watching the show for the first time was like magic. Right away, I was able to see certain parts of myself in Issa Rae’s character. She was quirky, creative, and a little chaotic, much like me. It was also an amazing feeling to see an all-black cast that played three-dimensional characters, that went beyond the harmful tropes. And even though I did not know it at the time, the show would become one of my saving graces that helped me grow, reflect, and learn so many things about myself, as young black woman.
The second time, I re-watched the older seasons of Insecure was during the summer of 2020, as I was going into my senior year of college. At the time, I was also recovering from the heartbreak of a relationship, that had recently ended and decided to turn to my favorite show. One of the seasons that specifically helped me during this hard and emotional time, was the second season. In this season, Issa’s character has just gotten out of a three-year relationship with her ex-boyfriend, Lawrence, and was trying to figure out what it meant be single and independent, in the mist of juggling her career and friendships. When re-watching this season, I reminded that I was not alone in how I felt, through my ups and downs. I also found myself laughing at some of the mistakes Issa would make along her healing journey, when it came to first dates or her overall readjustment to her new life, as I found myself doing the same. It was also interesting experience to see how much I had changed since I first started the show, from eighteen year-old freshmen to a twenty-one year-old senior in college.
Re-watching the show also restored my sense of comfort, as I kept finding new ways to relate to it. I also liked the fact, that I was able to connect to Issa and the other characters on a deeper level, in ways that I could have never imagined three years ago. This is because I now understood what it meant to be in love and heartbroken, or to be at stage in your life when you feel as if you should have everything figured out but don’t. Lastly, I felt like I was able to fully comprehend the overall confusing and chaotic twists and turns of navigating through young adulthood, all while being a young black woman.
Looking back, I am forever grateful for this show, as it reminded me that I was never alone in what I was going through. Over just the span of four years, I was also able to re-discover myself as I entered my twenties, as well as create lasting bonds with crucial individuals in my life. As a viewer, the show is more than just a show to me, as it also feels like live journal, that I am constantly adding to.
To me, the show perfectly encapsulates what it means to be young, black, and a woman, trying to piece your life together and figure out who you are.
Thank you Maya for sharing this with us and the rest of the internet. We hope you will come back and give us your review on the upcoming final season of Insecure.