Issa Rae and Melina Matsoukas in their Los Angeles office.
Photographs by Patrick Ecclesine.
A few years ago the future of good black television was looking grim after the end of Girlfriends, The Game (before BET picked it up), My Wife and Kids and Chapelle Show just to name a few. Coming out of highschool mainstream television wasn’t relatable. Thanks to the wonderful world of the internet I was able to turn to youtube, facebook and instagram skits that was a more real reflected my life than any major network could understand.
This was probably what led to the success of so many shows like Scandal, How To Get Away With Murder and my all time current favourite Insecure. Although it seems marketed for women alone, once I was able to bribe and strong arm my males friends to tune in they quickly became fans of the show as well. The show does an impressive job of showcasing the complexities of relationships within the black community. The first few episodes of season one give you an inside of relationships from a woman’s perspective but as you continue to watch into the second season you get to see how a series of events through Issa and Lawrence’s relationship affect him as well.
Black women are easily one of the most highly favoured target audience and why is that? Well the success of black female lead characters has proved that there is an absolute need and want to see ourselves in mainstream media. In a research study conducted by Yahoo, 7 out of 10 African-American responded positively when asked if their ethnicity is a significant part of their identity. Also, when asked if they were proud of their ethnicity 82% of African-American’s said yes compared to 70% of the greater American population.
Nonetheless, it’s great to see people of colour represented in media more now than a few years ago. It’s even better to see us represented by people like Issa Rae who comes from the same communities they are representing. It’s so promising and important to see the overwhelming response to shows like Insecure to keep them living and open up opportunities for future shows like it to be created.