Type keyword(s) to search

TV TATTLE

Insecure's Lawrence reveals the limits of being a "Good Black Man"

  • "Lawrence is a Good Black Man," says David Dennis Jr. of Jay Ellis' character. "Let me explain. Being a Good Black Man, proper noun, is about the belief that if we do the things we are told that make up a Good Black Man — a good job or a good education or a self-made man or making it out of the circumstances we were born in, or whatever criteria we’ve come up with — then we are owed access to the good life of, well, mostly any Black woman we want. We lash out when we feel like we aren’t presented with a smorgasbord of women at our beck and call. At its worst, the backlash can be violent. In other ways, it’s more subtle but still shortchanges the people around us. Being a Good Black Man, proper noun, is about the belief that if we do the things we are told that make up a Good Black Man — a good job or a good education or a self-made man or making it out of the circumstances we were born in, or whatever criteria we’ve come up with — then we are owed access to the good life of, well, mostly any Black woman we want. We lash out when we feel like we aren’t presented with a smorgasbord of women at our beck and call. At its worst, the backlash can be violent. In other ways, it’s more subtle but still shortchanges the people around us. On paper, Lawrence’s willingness to work with her and fly a few hours every weekend to see his son and be there for all of his doctor’s appointments fulfills many of the requirements for being a good dad. As Lawrence said himself, at least he’s not like some of these other men out there who abandon their kids as soon as they’re born, right? Or the men who wouldn’t have put up with half of Condola’s drama. And that’s exactly the mindset that dooms so many Good Black Men. We compare ourselves to the Bad Black Men who physically and emotionally abuse women, who ignore their kids, who terrorize their family, and we wonder why the partners and children in our lives aren’t happy just being with us and not those other guys. I know so much about the mindset of a Good Black Man because, yes, I used to be one."

    ALSO:

    • Forget the Condola hate -- Lawrence is Insecure's real villain: "It’s become a running Twitter joke since Christina Elmore first showed up in Season 3 as Condola, the 'other woman' in Issa and Lawrence’s will-they-won’t-they mess, and the Insecure character viewers love to hate, that fans think so little of the character they refuse to learn her name," says Kathleen Newman-Bremang. "They call her a various spattering of words that start with 'C' as a token of their disdain for the person who, allegedly, is the reason Issa and Lawrence aren’t together. After Sunday’s episode, the third in the series’ fifth and final season, the conversation surrounding Canola Oil has shifted. (OK, that was the last time — promise.) No matter what you call Condola Hayes, it’s time to put respect on her name." Newman-Bremang adds: "Yes, Condola made some poor communication choices, and said some sh*t to Lawrence that maybe she shouldn’t have, but her actions were the result of the frustrations of new motherhood coming to a head. She’s basically a single mom since Lawrence only feels like being a father on weekends, and she’s lashing out against an impossibly hard situation. It’s hard not to have sympathy for a woman who is struggling with all the emotions that come with postpartum, and with an incessant man child who wants cookies for not being a deadbeat dad. Someone should tell Lawrence that showing up is literally the bare minimum a parent can do, and he’s not even doing that!"
    • Christina Elmore says the Internet made Condola a villain: "I did not expect (the online commotion), because I really don't think that the show made her into a villain, but instead, I think the Internet did," says Elmore. "It's so weird. Even going into shooting the scene about the pregnancy, I knew fans might be upset, and I knew that it was a cliffhanger. But I thought it'd be like a normal one—not a 'blow up the show' one. I couldn't have predicted it." 
    • Elmore on Insecure's ending: "I wouldn’t say that the story is wrapped up with a bow," she says. "I’d say it’s wrapped up with gift wrap, and the bow was left off. I don’t know exactly how it ends because things were very secretive this year. But I think that while the story has concluded, we will see that the characters still live on in this world. We will see that they will be going on to do other things but we just won’t get to see it!"
    • Kendrick Sampson credits his Insecure crew for showing up during the Black Lives Matter protests in summer 2020: “I’ll always be grateful that during the uprisings, my cast and crew… didn’t have to support the movement, and didn’t have to support me when I went through crises, but they showed up in the streets, they showed up at meetings, they showed up for my own personal organizing efforts and our nonprofit,” he says. Sampson adds that, in general, they “showed up for Black people in ways that were super impressive in the movement and really drove home for me that I could do my work in liberation and have a career for us, by us… meaning ‘for us’ has to include the community aspect and collective liberation.”

    TOPICS: Jay Ellis, HBO, Insecure, Christina Elmore, Kendrick Sampson




  • More TV Tattle: