Upon seeing the news that Insecure would be ending after its upcoming fifth season on HBO, I had only one clear, uncomplicated thought: good. Ok, damn, that almost makes me sound as cold as that Season 4 ending, I know. But my feelings of content around that news are simply because Insecure‘s mission has been accomplished — or, will be. We still need that final season, team!
Insecure was initially marketed as the half-hour version (and yes, 30 minutes is enough, to all you greedy tweeters always demanding more!) of The Misadventures of Awkward Black Girl, Rae’s previous web series. It leaned on the humor that arose from the all-too-common, cringe-worthy moments in the life of young adult and Los Angeleno, Issa. However, each subsequent season began to balance the comedy with, well, life. That means each new batch of episodes was a little more vulnerable and real and even tougher to swallow than the last, though without ever being preachy or unrelatable. Season 4 was particularly truthful; about friendships, relationships, and being a grown-ass adult, and while that doesn’t mean it was always purely enjoyable to watch, it was always entertaining. Whether it was making us laugh or breaking our hearts, it’s because we so deeply care about these people, through their successes and slip-ups. And it was authentic — because think about your own life: the years get harder! I’m guessing your 2020 was a bit more challenging than your 2019, right?
If anything, this is a pure compliment and not a critique of the series. Insecure is a show unlike any other, and that’s why people go wild for it on Sunday nights (and Monday mornings). Issa Rae is not just a star, she’s an icon. And not just because of her talent, but because of the talent she surrounded herself with. Insecure has afforded people such as director Melina Matsoukas and showrunner Prentice Penny to cement themself as some of the most in-demand artists in the industry. Yvonne Orji, Natasha Rothwell, Jay Ellis: these are all people that have already gone on to work on other incredible endeavors. And while it will always be Insecure that gave them their first big break, the breaks will only continue to get bigger for nearly everyone involved in the series. Just as these characters have continually chased new adventures, so will this entire cast and crew. We might miss the show once it’s done, but this bunch? No way. They are too damn good to not be snatched up by other projects or create their own, and likely won’t even give us a chance to miss them on our screens.
Insecure has always, at all points, felt original and unique, and if the team has a clear vision on an ending for Season 5, which it sure sounds as though they do, then by all means, let’s trust them on that. Why would we ever want them to force anything beyond what they’ve got for this special story? Instead, we can all turn our attention to using our tweets to demand they then do a reunion (please don’t actually do that). These characters that we cherish, already over the course of four seasons, have been so fully developed and given space to grow that we can only respect the brilliant and creative minds behind them are afforded the same.
What Issa will do next is literally whatever Issa wants to do next. Hopefully there’s at least a short nap in there for her somewhere as she has worked harder than most will ever be privy to. And while creating and starring in a hit HBO series was likely certainly a goal, she’s been even more outspoken about using her platform to shine a light on the talent of so many other Black creatives. She told The Hollywood Reporter last year, “For me, my longevity will be opening the door for others,” and with projects and initiatives already set up at her production company ColorCreative, her influence is rippling throughout the industry in a way that will make an impact for years and years to come.
It’s not that we won’t miss Insecure, and Issa’s mirror raps and Lawrence’s smile and Kelly’s quips, it’s just that those talents will continue to be seen in other places, as Insecure has 100% made its mark: on social media, on pop culture, and specifically on the awareness of an industry that is learning exactly how advantageous it is, on every level, to embrace and tell Black stories. Insecure racked up a slew of Emmy nominations last year, and rightfully so, and there will soon be an avalanche of shows described as “the next Insecure.” Because the show might end, but you already know that the debates over who was right or wrong or who is meant to be (or not) will go on forever. Ultimately, we were never gonna be the ones to break up with this show first, it was always going to be the other way around, and what else should we expect from the show that, more than any other, always knows how to leave us wanting more.