That was the time that elapsed between the season three finale and season four premiere of the critically acclaimed HBO TV series, “Insecure.”
The comedy drama created by and starring Issa Rae, started its fourth season earlier this month. And we are here for it.
Every season has been commemorated with an annual block party which has become a pivotal staple in celebrating the show. Rae and her team didn’t allow for COVID-19 and social distancing to stop them from hosting a virtual block party.
Fans begged Rae for more than the succinct 30-minute episodes, but were told to stock up on the Advil. The virtual block party went on, watch parties gathered and Black Twitter continues to propel #InsecureHBO to trending status.
For Black women, this new season has been a long time coming. We’ve been anxiously awaiting for our favorite low-key problematic friend group of Issa, Molly, Tiffany and Kelli pondering where life is going to take them next.
This is a show for us, by us, representing us.
“Insecure” creates a necessary space in the world for Black women to gather, find community and unapologetically stand in their identity. Black women are capable of seeing themselves in tricky relationships, striving for ambitious goals and navigating complex adult friendships.
As early thirties, educated, Black women, with established careers in community development and surrounded by incredibly fun girlfriend circles, we find that Rae’s glow up has been a journey of our own. From the humble days of “The Misadventures of Awkward Black Girl,” it was natural to lean into ourselves with the maturity of “Insecure.”
This hilarious and sometimes brutally honest show is the saving grace and community each of us so desperately want to feel—especially during a pandemic.
Even before the quarantine and isolation enforced by COVID-19, more Americans have been living alone today than ever before, up from 13 percent in 1960 to 28 percent in 2019. That means over 35 million people are likely quarantining solo.
A separate, 2006 study showed that 66 percent of Black women are single, or unmarried. It is likely then, that many of the quarantined Americans are single Black women.
As this fictional girlfriend group in “Insecure” explores sexuality and professional progress (or the lack thereof), we see ourselves reflected. Navigating microaggressions and juggling dating relationships—monogamous or otherwise—is a lot. And in 2020, with all the isolation and solo quarantining, it seems like all too much to bear alone.
The beauty of escaping with “Insecure” is that the reality of COVID isolation is not a part of the show’s story. Even though the characters are not experiencing social distancing or adjusting to working from home, the relatability of the issues they face remain relevant.
So processing these issues with quite literally thousands of other friend groups across the country, seems more fitting. “Insecure” is a space that specifically helms the authentic experiences that Black women face today. Black women are multi-dimensional; funny, serious, determined but most importantly, real.
According to relational-cultural theory, as described by Dr. Judith V. Jordan, “throughout life, human beings grow through and toward connection, and that we need connections to flourish, even to stay alive. This theory views isolation as a major source of suffering for people, at both a personal and cultural level.”
The health concern of COVID-19 isn’t just to our bodies—it’s also to our minds.
Encouragingly, the same theory also holds that when positive interpersonal connections take place in growth-fostering relationships, great things happen, like validation and empowerment.
Science backs up all the activity happening in our brains and the good vibes we feel after, when we authentically connect to others.
So how to meet social needs while remaining physically distant? Rae and Black women all over the country may have given us just the remedy.
Tuning into our favorite #awkwardblackgirls (and guys) as a substitute for the tribes we can’t be with in person is a refreshing silver lining.
Like many others around the country, we hopped on virtual watch parties in Dallas through Zoom so that we can share our many “I told you so” moments, disapproving “SMH” texts, and surprised “oooh’s” at the new subplots that unraveled.
The sacred space to unpack and deeply analyze these seemingly familiar Black characters is available again—albeit digitally—and that’s a good thing.
“Insecure” is the therapy we love and didn’t know we needed.
Many young Black women appreciate feeling seen and understood through the intricate writings and the complex intersectionality of the characters. Rae creates a dynamic space for Black women to relate in ways we have rarely seen ourselves represented before, notably different from the seemingly monolithic Black characters that are usually included into mainstream television.
While COVID-19 may rob us of physical quality time with those we love, virtual and interactive community groups may help mitigate the impact of isolation and improve your well-being.
Once the world re-opens, we still must navigate other demanding issues, hopefully loneliness and the need for a community are not top of that list. In the meantime, it’s doing everyone good to socially connect while physically distant.
So find a local girlfriend circle, tune into the virtual discussions that help us unpack our real problems and exhale.
Take it all in.