Issa, Molly and the Beauty of Black Girl Friendship
My black girlfriends are my saving grace. Since I’ve been old enough to understand how important friendships are, I’ve grown, lost, and changed in unexpected ways that have fulfilled and made me a stronger person.
That’s what I love most about Issa Rae’s hit HBO show “Insecure.” The beauty of Molly and Issa’s friendship is the quintessential example of black girl friendship and the ups and downs that come with figuring out how to flourish as an adult with someone by your side that’s not a lover, but a partner.
The black women in my life are my strength. I have witnessed women in my life take a beat down from a society that marginalizes them, and yet they remain resilient. I have witnessed fuck boys disillusion them, and yet they keep loving. I have witnessed jobs abuse and waste their talents, and yet they keep working hard.
The same can be said for Issa and Molly. Throughout the first two seasons, we see Issa - a nonprofit professional struggling in a relationship that she’s outgrown while simultaneously trying to figure out how to make life better for herself. We also see Molly - a lawyer at the top of her profession struggling in a firm that doesn’t fully recognize her value while trying to reconcile her own beliefs about intimacy and relationships.
Together, the women make a great pair. While trying to navigate self esteem issues and imposter syndrome, they hold each other down and hold one another accountable for the mistakes they’ve each made. From cheating to putting on their white voices to keeping it real about the need to consider therapy — Molly and Issa embody the type of intimacy you can only find in your friendships. Like my own friends, they have sleepovers, comfort one another during peril, give the look when one of them is acting up, and don’t have to verbalize what the other is feeling. Molly and Issa just know, like true friends. They exhibit the resilience of black sisterhood. Their friendship isn’t perfect, but they celebrate one another knowing that each is a work in progress. While they root for one another no matter what, they also aren’t afraid to hold each other accountable when they think the other is wrong, i.e., Issa’s infidelity with Daniel, and Molly’s strange open relationship with Dro.
“Insecure” took some heat when the show decided to move ahead with Issa’s story without Lawrence. And I’m glad they did. It’ll give them an opportunity to continue to explore adulthood through a Black millennial woman’s life, unencumbered by a storyline from a failed relationship. What I’m most looking forward to for season 3, is seeing how Issa navigates life post-Lawrence and securing a financial future for herself without a partner — which in gentrified Oakland has to be hard. I hope we get to see Molly boss up at work, and take true ownership of negotiating her salary to even the playing field for other women at her job.
Like the arc of my own friendships, many of the ladies who have become my chosen family started off as mere acquisitions. While Kelli and Tiffany seem to be better friends with Molly, I hope season 3 allows us to dive deeper into their friendship, becoming more like the ladies from “Living Single” and “Girlfriends.” We’ve really only gotten to see Kelli and Tiffany during special occasions — birthdays, turn ups, and day trips — but the foursome obviously have good chemistry and “Insecure” could poise itself to fill a void in television showing black female friendships (not just Molly’s and Issa’s) thriving. It would be a missed opportunity to not focus on the dynamics of the foursomes friendship navigating situations like breakups, pregnancy, open relationships and new jobs, and see how they hopefully deepen in trust and respect throughout the season.
We know there is beauty in black womanhood, but we don’t talk a lot about the beauty of black female friendships. The ones that outlast drama, and things that shouldn’t always be said, judgment, and regrets. “Insecure” does this through Molly and Issa’s friendship. I hope we get to see more of that in season 3.