Ahhhhh it’s that time of year again. The rotel is plentiful, the Henny is in the red cup and Tina and I are preparing to debate. It’s Insecure season. The HBO series is set to make its anticipated return Sunday and the culture is abuzz with disagreement and confusion about toxic black masculinity. Insecure is that rare, fun and unique TV show that interacts with reality in such an honest way that it moves us to compare our realities to the storylines that play out in front of us. It encourages important dialogue but it also allows us to just enjoy black excellence. But let’s get back to that toxic black masculinity thing. I’m not going to pretend to be a scholar about the issue, but I have noticed a trend regarding Season 3.
When the news broke that the show’s lead male character, Lawrence, played by Jay Ellis, would not be in the upcoming season, there were plenty of questions and theories about the direction of the show. No big deal, happens with all shows right? Correct. However, a smaller population of confused individuals complained that the Best Buy Bandit would no longer be around to root for. Complaints led to Twitter beef, Twitter beefs led to petitions and then y ’all ended up debating about $20 for the kids’ field trip. Why?
In June, Insecure star and creator Issa Rae did an interview with The Hollywood Reporter. The Emmy nominee stated that she wanted to explore Black masculinity this season. “I love black masculinity as it relates to black women. I think that’s something interesting that we haven’t gotten a chance to explore yet — and specifically toxic male black masculinity as it relates to black women. I’m trying to find a way to explore that and get a rounded storyline that isn’t preachy.” In 2018, black men are striving to build the culture up hand in hand with our women, so I was disappointed in the cries for a male character that the show naturally needs to disassociate from the lead character for now.
This show is about exploring adulthood while being black. Part of that growth that we love to brag about on the gram means learning to live without people and things that we once thought we’d never have to. In extreme cases we may have even considered life pointless without them. To insist that the show NEEDS Lawrence is to insist that Issa’s development cannot happen without him being mentioned or considered. That’s a flawed way of thinking. And besides, the show covered all the bases of break-up. Let’s review those real quick.
This show is intentionally focused on a young black woman’s navigation of black womanhood. Just because a man started out important doesn’t mean he has to remain that way. Black men it’s ok for us to not be involved in every thought and we need to work harder to place value on the individual journeys that lead us where we’re supposed to be. For the longest black women have been limited only to support roles, Hollywood, work, at home and definitely at church. Their strength isn’t only support; their strength is their strength. Period. This really isn’t an issue of women vs. men, but if we keep it a buck the bounce back tool kit comes equipped with different tools. Let’s take a look, shall we?
This is the part where “It’s not that deep, fam” may apply. I may be thinking too hard. Consider me Sharif from Menace II Society, an ex-knucklehead who’s just trying to be better.