Insecure, created by Issa Ray and Larry Wilmore, is an HBO series exploring the lives of two single black women, Issa and Molly, best friends since college. It represents a great example of the black female gaze. The series, which ran from 2016 to 2021, grew from Issa’s web series Awkward Black Girl. Issa was the first black woman to direct a series for HBO.
The series looks to explore the experiences of black women, navigating a white world. The series explores relationships, careers and identity. It shines a light on a variety of social and racial issues. The Los Angeles Times contrasted Insecure with Girls.
Lead character Issa is a study in awkwardness. Like many other recent shows with female characters, she’s three dimensional and flawed. The series milks the laughs out of her many awkward situations, offering a universal experience, even as its highlighting the experience of being a black woman.
In 2016, Eric Deggans wrote in NPR: “Rae has produced a series that feels revolutionary just by poking fun at the life of an average, twenty-something black woman.” Issa said: “Isn’t it sad that it’s revolutionary? It’s so basic … but we don’t get to do that. We don’t get to just have a show about regular black people being basic.”