Sometimes Insecure, But Awkward Black Girl for Life!
With the summer leaving me with nothing other than reality shows to watch each week, I anxiously wait for the Fall line-up. Then, and only then, I will bask in the ambiance that is television entertainment (September, hurry up and get here, why don’t you!). Being that I have always been a fan of Donald Glover since his start on Derrick Comedy on YouTube and playing Troy Barnes on Community, I was excited that there were talks of him obtaining his own series with FX titled, ATLANTA. First of all, yes! The six short trailers dropped last week which left me with even more anticipation. As I have said in previous post, Atlanta is my home. Although I don’t find myself moving back any time soon, any opportunity to watch my city and reminisce is always a good thing.
Yes, I had a new show to get into. That was until I stumbled upon something marvelous. After watching Straight Out of Compton for the umpteenth time on HBO (it is so damn good!), there was a commercial about the premiere of a new series titled, Insecure. It is a new half-hour comedy series about friendship, tribulations, and experiences of two black women. Uh…YES, PLEASE! The trailer was hilarious! This was something I can get with. I don’t know if anyone noticed, but there aren’t a lot of shows on HBO that had characters that I could see myself in. Sure, I watch Girls, but I can’t relate to four white women going about their lives in New York City, but it is funny to watch. I also will never forget the fact that when black women were casted on Entourage, they were credited as Video Hos (though they did nothing of the sort) or labeled as extremely promiscuous; just wanting to have sex (Lauren London’s character). So, allow me to rejoice in the fact that HBO was finally coming to their senses with this series.
After seeing the preview of this series, I had to get some information on who this Issa Rae really was. Apparently, through the grapevine that is Google, she is the creator of a very known web series called the “The Misadventures of an Awkward Black Girl” on YouTube where she plays “J”. Say what? How come I have never heard of such a thing? Usually when I go on YouTube I am looking up how to juggle or how tospeak with a British or Jamaican accent. Mostly, I am looking at trailers for upcoming movies (I LOVE MOVIES!). So, I did some investigating, doing further research on this web series. I watched all three seasons and fell in love. The episode where her boyfriend, D, broke up with her because her recent “Big Chop” made him feel like he was having sex with a dude.
“It feels like I am having sex with a dude. No homo.”
Been there lol! This girl was a freaking genius. It was as though she was telling my life. I am that awkward black girl. Always have been. Always will be, because at my age, it is too late to change my ways.
Google gave me the scoop on Issa Rae. She was born and raised Maryland, where she stated that she did things not “considered” black like the swim team and street hockey (Street Hockey sounds like a good time!). It was until her family moved to Los Angeles and she had to attend a predominantly black middle school that she was berated for “acting white”. Whoa, whoa, whoa. Was I just reading my life story? Was she living my life or was I living her life? This was me!
From kindergarten to sixth grade, I attended a very diverse elementary school. It was mainly due to the fact that a counselor insisted I go to this school being that I was very smart at a young age (at the age of four, I was able to say my alphabets backwards without hesitation). It was called the M-to-M program, Minority to Majority. The program was where black kids from black neighborhoods could attend school in predominantly white neighborhoods. Any race, ethnicity, or nationality you could think of, they attended that school. I grew up learning about all cultures and traditions. I listened to all kinds of music from Rap to Rock. I was one with the world.
Then the shoe fell. That damn racist shoe. I say “racist” because a lot of white parents were complaining about having all the minorities in their district and going to their schools (this was in 1999, people!). Well, the program ended and I had to attend middle school in my own neighborhood. I had to leave all of my friends I had since kindergarten to attend school with strangers. Talk about life sucking!
Oddly enough, attending an all-black middle school was a culture shock for me. Crazy, right? Here I am—a black girl—unable to relate to other black children my age. My favorite thing at that time was skateboarding (do black girls skateboard?). I did. I was teased and berated for trying to be white. No bleach on my skin or blonde straight weave in my hair, so how? How, Sway (in Kanye West voice). Frequently, I was taunted for “talking white”. Come again? Unless I was speaking Swahili, we all were speaking English…a white language. Then there was the teasing for being too smart or a “nerd”. It was not my fault that what we were learning in 7th and 8th grade, I learned in 5th and 6th (that education disparity between race and location is another story I will address when I have the energy and the time). It also didn’t help that I was into Rock. I’m talking System of the Down, Drowning Pool, Disturbed, Godsmack, Nirvana, and etc. At the time, I was not listening to much rap. The radio in my room remained on 99.7. My style was my style. I wore colors, long sleeved shirts under short sleeved shirts, shirts with rock stars on them. Never wore anything name-brand or owned a pair Jordans. I was apparently an Oreo. I was the best freaking cookie ever made?
The whole middle school experience made me feel—for lack of a better word—awkward. It kind of scarred me in a since that I try to avoid groups of black people because I felt as though they could sense my desperation to try to fit in and brutalize me…only mentally…where it really counts. I often questioned myself if I was really black. I mean, when I see my reflection, I see black. My hair is coarse and thick like a black person. I came from black parents. What was the measure of blackness? This question would often hit me from time to time throughout my life. Even in my twenties, I was told that I was not the typical black girl. Huh? What in the heck does that even mean? What makes a black girl black other than the hue of her skin? Was there an application process that had to be done in order to qualify me to be a real black girl? I was confused. Sure, my favorite movies aren’t Love and Basketball and Friday. And yea, I like to jam to Joan Jett’s, “Do you Wanna Touch” sometimes; however, does that make me less black?
The typical black girl comment really bothered me. Seriously! What is the typical black girl? Contrary to what the media likes to portray, not all black women are these loud ratchet beings, who are constantly rotating their necks with their hair filled with extensions and who wear long colorful nails. Not all our names are Laquiesha or Sharkiesha. We are not these hoochie mamas (disgusting song when you actually listen to the lyrics, by the way). We are not these angry women who constantly complain about not having a man or how all men are dawgs. And when did these characteristics become synonymous with being a black woman?
With the media fueling the weak-minded with these stereotypes, I have found myself imprisoned in this bubble. At first glance, the world sees me as a loud fighting black woman like on these ridiculous reality shows, always fighting and causing unnecessary scripted drama. However, once they get to know me, it is a big shocker that I am not the stereotype they thought I was, having them to soon realize that their whole world was a lie. Figuratively, their heads explode. One guy was surprised that I love Guy Ritchie movies. Am I only supposed to like John Singleton and Spike Lee movies? It is like I am being forced to behave a sort of way because of the color of my skin and because I do not, I am plagued with feeling out of place. Can I not love watching Friends or Seinfield? Can’t I love listening to Rob Zombie to get me pumped for a workout? Is it wrong for me to want to learn how to surf? Why should I be restricted? Who made these rules? Why should I feel aaaaawwwwkkwwwwaaarrrdd?
But I do. This is why I am overjoyed with the premiere of Insecure. This is what I need to let me know that I am not alone in this. There comes a show or movie every once and a while that really speaks to you. For me, it used to be Welcome to the Dollhouse (that damn Dawn Weiner). No longer will I be labelled. No longer will I be casted in this Diary of a Mad Black Woman category. I am more than the color of my skin. I embrace my awkwardness.
Hello, world. Awkward black girl here.