Why Seeing Friendships Between Black Women On TV Is So Important


Insecure finally premiered on Sunday evening and as predicted, Issa and Lawrence's relationship has fans reeling. Issa "wants her man back" and has finally admitted it to her best friend, Molly, after Issa planned a party to have Lawrence show up to so she could look fake-happy and he'd want her back. The plan is dumb, Lawrence never showed up anyway, and Molly called her out on the ridiculousness of it all. She then proceeded to help Issa put out a trash can fire in her apartment that someone started at the party.

When everyone else runs out of the house like they're trying to escape a shootout, Molly's there helping Issa fan the flames.

Them putting out the fire together seemed symbolic of how their friendship has played out in season 1, and how it will continue to pan out for the duration of the series.

And this scene is why the real relationship to watch on Insecure is this best friendship between these two black women. Their witty comebacks, raw honesty, and willingness to be there for each other in a world where oppression finds them — because of both their gender and race — is what makes it such a heartwarming relationship to witness.

Season 2's premiere had lots of fans gushing over Molly and Issa, with plenty of black women tweeting about how relatable the two characters were.

Viewers also probably can't get enough of Molly and Issa's friendship because black sisterhood like this isn't as common on television and movie screens as it should be and once was.

Scandal's Olivia Pope has zero black girlfriends. Empire's Cookie also has none, although her sisters show up from time to time. How To Get Away With Murder's Annalise Keating is in a similar social situation.

Black women with no black female camaraderie is just not how it goes down in real life. Sure, there are probably some black women who have no black friends or no friends at all, but most black women have a circle they regularly commune with.

These circles aren't just for parties, drinks, and kikis. Friendships between black women are also special because no one else can understand how we sit directly at the intersection of race and gender as female African-Americans.

So, when a show like Insecure pops up with this sisterhood that black women can directly relate to, it's not only catering to a need for more black faces on television, but also reflecting how our real life relationships help us through both the generic "sh*t happens" struggles in life and the ones that are specific to black women.

Still, Insecure might be the first show we've had that shows black sisterhood in a while, but it's not the first filmed story ever to do it.

Let's take a walk down memory lane and celebrate the black female friendships that we've seen play out on the big and small screens, as we keep our fingers crossed that more crop up in television and movies.

1. Pam And Gina From Martin

2. Moesha, Kim, And Niecy From Moesha


3. Celie And Nettie From The Color Purple

4. Tia And Tamara From Sister, Sister

5. Savannah, Bernadine, Robin, And Gloria From Waiting To Exhale

6. Justice And Iesha From Poetic Justice

7. Nikki And Andell From The Parkers


8. Whitley, Kim, Jaleesa, Freddie From A Different World

*Not pictured: Jaleesa

9. Joan, Toni, Maya, And Lynn From Girlfriends

10. Aibileen And Minnie From The Help

11. Katherine Johnson, Dorothy Vaughan, And Mary Jackson From Hidden Figures

12. Cleo, Stony, Frankie, Tisean From Set It Off

13. Penny Proud And Dijonay Jones from The Proud Family

14. Lovita And Regina From The Steve Harvey Show


15. Wilona And Florida From Good Times


16. Khadijah, Maxine, Regine, And Sinclair From Living Single

17. Taystee And Poussey From Orange Is The New Black

Friendships between black women deserve a place in the narratives written about black women. Without them, the depiction of a black woman's daily life seems halfway thought out.

Issa Rae expressed how purposeful it was to write a real black female friendship into her Insecure script in a Cosmopolitan interview. She actually created the "Molly" character based on a real best friend of hers.

She said,

I have a lot of best friends and I thought, which of those friends could portray this particular friendship [at the center of the show]? One friend stood out to me because of our dynamic. I always look up to her because I feel like I constantly have to get it together. She always calls me to the carpet when I'm f*cking up, but even when I'm f*cking up, she has my back. I can say that for a lot of my friends, and to not see that [on screen] — to constantly see black women fighting and plotting against each other, really gets to me because that's not what I see to be true of my friends.

Right on Issa and write on Issa.

Television is better because of Molly and Issa and the black female friendships that came before them. Here's to many, many more.