PENNY: Issa said at one point in the writers’ room: “When you are white, racism is a period. Like, “It’s wrong, it has to stop, period.” But when you’re black, it’s a comma. It’s like this racist thing happened to me, but I still have to pay bills, I still have to drive and come home and see my kids. Yes, this thing happened, but how are you going to deal with it?
In 2016, “Insecure” and “Atlanta” broke new ground as comedies about black millennials. Have any of you ever felt pressured to speak up for your generation?
MELINA MATSOUKAS: I never felt the burden of having to speak for a whole generation of people. The task that we felt was to show these characters and this environment in an authentic way. It actually meant going around the neighborhoods these characters come from, talking to those people and bringing them into our storytelling, using strong female relationships and whatever is authentic to a real, vibrant community and the world from where. comes Issa Dee.
Was representing blacks of different class status part of this honesty? The characters Issa and Lawrence, for example, live in the Dunes, an apartment complex with predominantly working-class black residents, even though they are graduates from Stanford and Georgetown.
RAE: For Melina, it was authenticity. I graduated from Stanford and had no job, so I went back to LA to my parents’ house, and the first place I moved after that was a Dunes type apartment complex where there is has people of different classes.
PENNY: There is this expectation that we have to be perfect and excellent all the time. I remember when we presented it with the headline “Insecure” there was a reluctance about it because insecurity is not usually associated with black people. It was such a moment for Issa, Melina and I, and it made me realize, “No, that’s even more of the reason we want the show to be that.”