My Great Disappointment in Actress Issa Rae & TV Shows “Insecure” and “Due North”

0 Posted by - December 30, 2019 - LATEST POSTS

By: Jahthaime Smith

As a “Hotep Pro-Black”, I’ve tried to become more self-aware and dial back on my criticism of popular culture.  I no longer wanted to be a party pooper and decided keep my mouth shut about football’s congruence to slavery, the negative images and messages in TV shows, movies, and popular music.  I decided to have more empathy, let people live, and loosen up.

When I came across “Awkward Black Girl” (ABG), on YouTube, I was DAZZLED.

ABG displayed what mainstream media would consider, an alternative to traditional black images.  No racial stereotypes, just a group of young black Californians going to regular jobs (no athletes, entertainers, or drug dealers), speaking regular English (a display that even me, the Negro, can master the English language), and display regular responses to stress (no drug use, risky sex behaviors, or violence).  It seemed like this was Issa Rae’s version of “Living SIngle”, and I was instantly hooked (Don’t get it twisted, I’m also hooked to 50 Cent’s Power and 90’s “gangsta rap”).  I knew the question wouldn’t be “if” but “when” is this show going to be picked up by a major player (Like I thought with “Money and Violence” and Tidal)?  I continued to watch ABG and in the last episode, the main character, Issa, chose the White Man’s courtship, and in turn, she rejects the courtship of the “Good Black Man”.  That’s when I knew this show was in trouble.

“I said to myself, don’t be a party pooper, watch the show.”

Ultimately, Issa Rae’s talent was rewarded with her hot new show, Insecure, on HBO.  I said to myself, don’t be a party pooper, watch the show.  Friends of mine told me I would enjoy it, so I did.  I binged watch season 1, and watched weekly, season 2.   I instantly thought, negative hypersexual behaviors by black women.  So I challenged that mindset and thought, “Maybe I’m being sexist.”  I don’t have a problem with the hypersexualization from the male’s perspective, I actually root for it.  So I ignored the visceral reaction, and continued to watch, and I was impressed.  I made it to the last episode, and just when I lowered my defenses I was duped!

The girlfriends were sitting around watching a fictional show, “Due North”

‘Due North’ is a “show within the show”.  It’s a fictional TV show the characters in “Insecure” have been watching and eating popcorn around.  It’s like their version of POWER or Insecure.  During the Season 2 Finale, they gave us a look at the show within the show, and even aired about 7 minutes of the show, after the credits rolled.  ‘Due North’ appears to be a slavery parody, or a soap opera/Telenovela whose main characters are African slaves and European slave owners.  

Unfortunately there is no way you can parody kidnap, rape, treason, murder, pedophilia, forced illiteracy, robbing of one’s history, and torture – the main active ingredients in the African Slave trade.  The main storyline in the “Parody” was the sexual tryst between a married female slave and a married male slave owner.  Issa Rae signed off on displaying a consensual relationship between White slave owner and African slave, when there was never such a thing.  That’s like a consensual sexual relationship between a child and adult, or between the kidnapped and the kidnapper, the rapist and the victim.  Any sexual contact between an African slave and slave owner was involuntary and outright rape.  The power dynamic there is too incongruent and would make anything voluntary, virtually impossible.  There is no such thing such as a voluntary relationship between slave owner and slave. The perception that the slave enjoyed it was a farce, since to object would be punishable by beating or death.  It makes recent acts of domestic violence look like love taps. It’s a perverted fantasy where somebody either gets off on the idea of sexually exploiting someone they’ve kidnapped,  or somebody gets off on the idea of being kidnapped and being sexually exploited.  Their both unhealthy, mentally ill ways of thinking – all being manifest through the guise of “artistic expression”, when in reality it’s PROPAGANDA. The same propaganda that has been in American film since “Birth of A Nation” (The cowardly KKK version by D.W. Griffith, not the exalted, brilliant Nat Turner version by Nate Parker)

I made it to the last episode, and just when I lowered my defenses I was duped!

The girlfriends were sitting around watching a fictional show, “Due North”

The slave husband’s character in “Due North” made fun of the story of the beloved Kunta Kente, and made light of having his foot cut off.  Kunta Kente’s chopped off foot in Roots, was a sacred story to show the brutality of the White man slave owner and his reaction to the thought of a Black man deciding his own destiny.

This was a poor display of the sacred history our ancestors being pimped out for White acceptance and a couple of dollars.  A display ten times worse than Steve Harvey’s “I don’t give a damn about slavery” comment.  I question Issa Rae as to why?

It’s a perverted fantasy where somebody either gets off on the idea of sexually exploiting someone they’ve kidnapped,  or somebody gets off on the idea of being kidnapped and being sexually exploited.”

Could Issa Rae be thinking slavery isn’t her story and she could poke fun of it all she wants?  Some, not all, Africans view themselves as separate from African-Americans, and don’t view the sanctity of slavery, and the African-American struggle, with the care and nuance it deserves.  Some, not all, Africans come to the U.S. and view themselves as superior to other blacks and feel the plight of the American-American is solely the fault of the African American.  Could Issa Rae be operating from that vantage point?  Maybe it’s not that deep, and she just merely wanted some bread.  Maybe the zeroes in the check were too many to put up a fight.  I doubt she did this on her own.  If she did, maybe she thought she could push the boundaries.  Some friends of mine said, “Didn’t [Insert name here] parody slavery too?”  Maybe, maybe not.  Perhaps they slipped one past the goalie and I missed it.  Well, it’s Issa Rae’s turn to learn TODAY!

Slavery and Jim Crow are part of the African-American Holocaust.  Jewish power players would rain down fire and brimstone if someone parodied “The Diary of Anne Frank”.  Actually the story wouldn’t have even gotten greenlighted to see the light of day.  Why?  Because the Jewish community view that as a sacred time in their rich history that must be protected. I can’t picture Harriet Tubman voluntarily opening her legs to any slave owner. To make light of this sensitive time in history, would cheapen their suffering, decrease worldwide sensitivity, decrease their worth – and in turn increase the likelihood of history repeating itself.  THEY know this, why don’t we?

4 Comments

  • mackare jones September 25, 2017 - 4:52 pm Reply

    Brilliant commentary, Ms, Mr. Smith?

  • Charly September 26, 2017 - 4:35 pm Reply

    Well thought out, articulate, and brave. Thanks for sharing!

  • Grace Mason September 26, 2017 - 9:11 pm Reply

    Having not watched none of the shows the writer refers to, I am still able to grasp his message and fraustration and sadness of the “blindness” that’s rampant amongst our people. I ask the same question why don’t we respect our heritage, ourselves, and our culture?

  • David September 29, 2017 - 12:20 pm Reply

    I think this opens the door for major discussion in the minority communities, I think your write is necessary to spark these discussions

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