LET WOMEN THRIVE
As usual, Issa Rae’s Insecure is stirring up Twitter drama, and, more importantly, nuanced intra-community dialogue.
Jay Ellis, who plays former love interest Lawrence, will not be returning to season three of the hit HBO comedy Insecure. And fans had a lot to say about that decision. The #LawrenceHive was not taking this sitting down, launching an online petition and even a website (whereslawrence.com) dedicated to keeping their leading man on the show.
Fans argued that Lawrence provided critical male perspectives and plots to a show centered around female characters. Lawrence was a draw to male audience members in which they could see nuanced portrayals of average black men.
Emmy-nominated writer and star Issa Rae was not having it. And rightfully so. Issa had this to say after confirming Lawrence’s exit from the show:
“We want to stay as true to life as possible. They had a great conversation at the end of season two and it was just about like, hey, she’s moving on Daniel, sometimes we have those conversations,” she said. “You never see the exes again. And it’s okay! You gotta explore life without Lawrence.”
Issa and Lawrence’s relationship has long since run its course. How realistic is it to keep dragging your ex and your shared past with them around for seasons on end? Let Issa move on from someone that has clearly made strives moving on from her.
I’m not here to debate who was truly at fault for why Lawrence and Issa couldn't make their college romance stand the test of time. I am here to argue that Issa and Lawrence have had several rehashings and semi-final goodbyes in the past but the last post-breakup goodbye should be their last.
For seasons, fans have watched as many characters have relapsed into people and habits that prove to aid their more self-destructive tendencies. And while this is true in life, over time, people tend to learn how to cope without things that no longer serve them.
This short controversy leads to questions about spaces and characters we believe to serve one community, gender, or another.
A well written character is one any audience can see even a glimpse of themselves in. And Insecure is stocked full of dynamic, authentic portrayals of young black voices exploring their place in the world. Black women as an audience never seem to have problems empathizing with different gender identities, backgrounds, races, nationalities, etc. Why is it such a terrible thing to want the focus of Insecure to remain on Issa, a black woman still learning to navigate relationships with others and more importantly herself, instead of her ex?
It's important that us as black women have spaces to showcase our talent. Not only when it comes to writing, directing, or acting, but on screen, sharing the common struggles we only air out in our group chats, church groups, and weekly wine nights. Regardless of the direction the new season seems to be moving in, change remains the only constant in Insecure’s realistic display of life itself.
Give Issa permission to move on from Lawrence, give yourself permission to let go of the Lawrence in your life. That relationship or inexplicable bond that wraps around you with the comfort of familiarity, is holding you back from something better waiting for you to seize it.
Issa Rae’s new projects are reportedly focusing on changing the way dark-skinned Black women are given space to grow in black media. We’re looking forward to exploring Issa Rae’s new takes on love, loss, growth, and happiness moving forward.