PENNY: When you’re white, racism is a period, Issa once said in the writers’ room. ‘This is wrong, this needs to stop, period,’ sort of thing. However, if you’re Black, you use a comma. I mean, I had this racist thought, but I still had to go pay bills, drive home, and see my kids. Yes, this incident did occur, but how will you handle it?
‘Insecure’ Broke Ground by Embracing Imperfection
Atlanta and “Insecure” were ground-breaking comedies about Black millennials in 2016. Have any of you ever felt compelled to represent your generation?
I’ve never felt the pressure of having to speak for an entire generation, says MELINA MATSOUKAS. We believed that our mission was to accurately portray these people and their surroundings.
This entails actually filming in the communities where these characters reside, conversing with and including those people in our story, utilising strong female connections, and doing everything else that is authentic to a real, vibrant community and the setting where Issa Dee comes from.
Was exhibiting Black people from various social classes a component of that honesty? Issa and Lawrence, for instance, reside in the Dunes, an apartment building primarily populated by Black working-class individuals, despite having earned degrees from Stanford and Georgetown.
To reiterate what Melina said, it was sincerity. After graduating from Stanford without a job, I moved back to Los Angeles and stayed with my parents. My next residence was an apartment building that reminded me of the Dunes and housed people of many socioeconomic strata.
There’s this feeling that we have to constantly be outstanding, says Penny. I recall that there was pushback when we proposed it using the term “Insecure” because insecurity is not typically associated with Black people.
For Issa, Melina, and I, that was such a turning point, and I realised, “No, that’s even more reason we want the show to be that.”