Issa Rae, the creator of the popular web series The Mis-Adventures of Awkward Black Girl, is taking her talents to late-night television. The creator and star’s newest HBO series, Insecure, is seemingly where Awkward Black Girl left off: a recently turned 29-year-old woman juggling work, friends, and romance in Los Angeles.
As Rae puts it, Insecure is not a “hood story,” but instead an in-depth look at everyday black life. It’s a simple and relatable premise that begs the question, “What does it mean when you don’t fit into this definition of being black?” That and more is answered as we witness Rae’s character, also named Issa, navigate through life’s hurdles. If black normalcy being projected on screen isn’t enough to pique your interest, read on for 12 reasons why you need to tune in on October 9 for Insecure’s season premiere.
1. The show will examine the complexities of blackness and the reality that you can’t exactly escape being black. From being the “token” black employee and in most cases the “only one” in the room to having discussions as to why black men “wife up others with a quickness,” Insecure takes it there and leaves you laughing in the process.
2. Not only does Issa Rae star as the main character, Issa Dee, but she is also the creator, writer, and co-executive producer of the series. If The Mis-Adventures of Awkward Black Girl are any indication of Rae’s genius, Insecure is sure to be packed with chuckle-worthy, candid commentary.
3. In taking on the role of the female lead, Rae tackles everything from adulting and self-esteem to her sexuality. It’s hard not to find yourself falling in love with her infectious spirit, relatable stories, and penchant for rapping in front of her bathroom mirror.
4. Each half-hour episode is essentially carried by the bond between two Black women, a rarity in the television landscape where women of color are primarily portrayed sharing fists rather than their anxieties with each other.
5. Melina Matsoukas, Insecure’s executive producer and director, is black girl magic personified. The New York born-and-bred Matsoukas is not only a Grammy-award winning music video wunderkind but also the mastermind behind a dozen Beyoncé visuals, most recently the politically charged “Formation.” Solange’s vibrant “Losing You” and Rihanna’s trippy “We Found Love” are also the product of her creative genius. The visual artist’s Instagram alone is inspiring enough to get lost in.
6. If you’ve been enjoying A Seat at the Table, brace your musical palette for even more of a treat with Solange as the show’s music consultant. The first few seconds of the season’s pilot open with Kendrick Lamar’s “Alright” blaring, and it only gets better from there.
7. Although it isn’t the first series created by and starring a black woman (comedians Sherri Shepherd and Wanda Sykes each attempted their own sitcoms), the show is breathing rare air. Insecure is one of the first HBO comedies to have a woman of color at its helm.
8. The cast will feature a plethora of melanin. From Issa’s best friend Molly (Yvonne Orji) to her unambitious, unemployed boyfriend (Jay Ellis) and fantasy romantic partner (Y’lan Noel), diverse talent is presented throughout the series.
9. Behind the scenes, the writers room is just as diverse as the cast. Co-created and written by Larry Wilmore, former host of The Nightly Show, Insecure is as whip smart as it is funny. Prentice Penny, of Brooklyn Nine-Nine, has also been tapped as executive producer and showrunner.
10. There will be plenty of sex scenes featuring an equal amount of male and female nudity, Variety reports.
11. Much like the Beverly Hills backdrop of Entourage, the series unfolds in Los Angeles. As a result, the gentrification of neighborhoods like Windsor Hills and View Park, where Rae grew up, will be a focal point of the show. Insecure may actually serve as a time capsule of the richly diverse communities.
12. While Insecure takes place in South L.A. and features a predominantly black cast, it is simply showcasing familiar stories in a context unfamiliar to the television landscape. You don’t have to be black to understand it, but instead a twentysomething searching for your “aha moment.”
Watch the official trailer below: