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Is Insecure the New Girlfriends?

This pandemic has given everyone the perfect excuse to binge watch movies and television shows without guilt. Luckily, Netflix has recently added more black sitcoms such as The Game, Moesha, Sister, Sister, and Girlfriends. These are all TV shows that many of us grew up on. HBO also released season 4 of Issa Rae’s hit show, Insecure, earlier this year in April, which left us with one of the biggest cliffhangers ever.  

Both of these shows have so much in common and are yet amazing in their own way. They both show the ups and downs in life as black women. These two shows are a refreshing break from seeing the stereotypical struggle narrative of black women that Hollywood likes to focus on and portray. They cater to telling a realistic story of four black, educated friends that deal with life’s tests, triumphs, and tribulations in a comedic way. 

If you’ve seen both shows, you cannot help but to notice some of the similarities. It’s almost as if Insecure is the new-age Girlfriends. Both shows take place in Los Angeles. This isn’t a very typical place to see stories of the everyday black woman depicted. Issa Rae, the creator of HBO’s Insecure, even said that this show was her love letter to L.A.

These two shows created and continue to create conversations on topics such as colorism in the black community, the ups and downs of pregnancies, and the fear of never settling down and finding real love. 

You can’t help but notice similarities in the characters’ dynamics as well. Joan Clayton from Girlfriends is very similar to both Issa Dee and Molly Carter on Insecure. Similar to Issa, Joan is what many would call an “awkward black girl.” This type of character is not very common in television and is often left out of many stories. The beginning of Insecure always starts each episode off with Issa getting into a situation that is so cringe-worthy that you’re almost forced to pause the show and laugh. Joan also relates to Molly because they are both young, black female lawyers who have to deal with misogyny at the workplace. They also have many relationship woes throughout both shows.  

Every friend group needs a funny friend who brings light to every tough situation. Lynn from Girlfriends and Kelli from Insecure are definitely the comedic relief for both shows. They represent that fun friend that is always down for whatever, whenever. 

If you are a fan of both shows, it is almost impossible for you not to see the uncanny similarities between Molly Carter from Insecure and Toni Childs from Girlfriends. They even look similar. Both characters deal with bad choices in men and some may even say they are both bad friends. You didn’t hear that from me though. 

The comedy and shade thrown in both shows are unmatched. Earlier seasons of Girlfriends’ back and forth commentary between Toni and Maya sort of mirror Tiffany and Issa’s dynamic as well. Even though both shows have shade thrown between the friend groups, they also are real. They’re quick to call each other out when they are wrong while supporting each other in time of need. This is what real friendships are all about. 

If all of these similarities weren’t enough for you, the fact that both shows are written and created by accomplished black women speaks volumes. The creator of Girlfriends, Mara Brock Akil and the creator of Insecure, Issa Rae, both have had a huge part in changing black television for the better through these two shows. They both took the narrative of black women that has always existed, but has never been portrayed and put it on screen. This allowed many people to see that black women are more than just “strong beings” or “superhumans.” We are people too. We cry, laugh, and mess up just like everyone else. Both of these Emmy-nominated shows have easily become a staple in our culture.  


Zoë Beavers

Hampton U '23

Hi! I'm Zoë Beavers, a sophomore strategic communications major on the pre-law track at Hampton University from Jefferson City, Missouri. I love writing in my free time and learning new things!
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