By now, we’ve all had time to ingest, digest and regurgitate the season one finale of Issa Rae’s pièce de résistance, Insecure.
This episode, entitled Broken as F**k, like countless other cultural deluges we’ve bore witness to, was marked by the ages-old double standards all of us have been conditioned to accept. Whether we bow(ed) to this indoctrination or not, is another story.
Issa been made it clear. Daniel (Y’lan Noel) was an itch she needed to scratch. And while that may have been the case (and mostly wrong because she’s a woman and “society” admonishes against that womanist liberation sh*t propagandized by we who house vaginas), Lawrence (Jay Ellis) wasn’t providing any calamine lotion to assuage that nuisance of an itch. He was lying on that couch (an extremely important character in Insecure, in case you failed to notice), unmotivated, forgetting birthdays and watching the Hodge Twins–apparently allowing himself to believe Issa was happy just to have a man. I mean, she’s a Black woman…that’s all she needs to keep her glowing and far, far from the depths of despair, right?
Meanwhile, Daniel was rekindling in her nostalgic feelings inducing starry-eyedness; doing her a solid for We Got Y’all by showing love for the kids on career day; seducing her by remembering and reciting her pre-collegiate bars; and humoring her by entertaining her rap persona and mixing it up for her in the studio. Oh, and eventually, blowing her back out. It was simply too irresistible not to happen. And the things he remembered were too important to Issa to go unnoticed and unrewarded.
Theeeeeeen, Lawrence decides to reaaaally get his sh*t together, bludgeoning Issa into a guilt-ridden hell of her own making.
While my Twitter timeline was filled with folks holdin’ out hope for the reconciliation of Issa and Lawrence, I silently warned, “Issa, noooooo” from the deepest trenches of my gut. Alas, hope dies last. I don’t man-bash, but I never shy away from correcting misogyny and misogynoir where it exists in plain sight, either. I can recount innumerable scenarios–in the lives of real people and made-for-TV dramatizations–where these types of reenactments are all too familiar.
Issa was entirely too invested in righting her wrongs and renouncing her ain’tsh*tness in presupposition of relational atonement. She was overeager to appease Lawrence, win him back and appeal to his sadness over the loss of her, all while he was plotting his revenge. Lawrence did nothing I wouldn’t expect any *Cardi B voice* ol’ regular, degular, schmegular dude to engage in. And he engaged in it with Bank T*ttays aka Tasha aka his very own wishing well of motivational speeches. I bet if you rubbed dem t*ts, she’d make like a genie and recite a new “Go Big or Go Home” speech every time.
Men scratch itches all the time expecting (and receiving) little to no repercussions, and the woman he already has lacks nothing in the realm of 80/20. She’s bending over backwards, doing anal, paying rent on time, cooking meals, freezing leftovers, and packing lunches and midday snacks. All while holding down a 9-5.
Yet. . .
“They don’t make Black women like they used to. Now my grandmama was a rider. She ain’t leave ’cause she wasn’t happy.”
“Exactly. My granddaddy used to cheat on my grandma all the time. N*gga had a second family and everythang. She stuck with him ’til the end.”
The hell they don’t. And if you heed the misogynoir embedded in the above n*gga quotables, you headed for dire straits, my G.
While white women are expected to marry up, but “when he get on, he leave yo’ ass for a white girl” (Kanye’s iteration and literal embodiment of what Black men do once they became household names), Black women are expected to stand by “our” men no matter their lack of ambition, no matter their lack of respect for us, no matter their erasure of and lack of memory for us.
Issa may have made a mistake and been hurt, but I believe she and Lawrence’s relationship would have still failed in the long run had she not goaded herself into the sack with Daniel. Because, what white woman you know that’s making moves gon’ let a man’s unemployed ass couch-surf free and clear for four years??
Allow me to help you. None. And not one of you would blame her for it.
These are things y’all need to think about while you gazing out the window of your cyber glass house tryna find a harlot to throw stones at. Our world is full of Issas and Lawrences–art imitates life–and they’re all operating on a learning curve.
And for anybody that got a problem with that, one question.
B*tch you still mad?