Yvonni Orji, Issa Rae on HBO's 'Insecure.'
Merie W. Wallace/Courtesy of HBO

'Insecure' Season 3 To Cover Choices, Consequences And Imperfection

VIBE visits the set of HBO's 'Insecure' and talks with Issa Rae, Yvonne Orji, and Natasha Rothwell.

Inside a second-floor conference room of a Presbyterian church in the Mid-Wilshire section of Los Angeles, Yvonne Orji and Natasha Rothwell are discussing the complexities of being in an open relationship. It’s a topic of conversation that conventionally wouldn’t take place at a conservative place of worship, but like many of the topical debates presented on HBO’s Insecure, it’s a subject that more women of color have discussed through ribald group chats and long phone conversations.

Insecure is undoubtedly a show created for black women who are unapologetically making a slew of mistakes, and have all the agency to learn from them. Not everything is about #BlackGirlMagic perfection all the time, and that’s perfectly fine.
On the second season of the series, Molly (Orji) finds herself in a precarious situationship with childhood friend Dro (Sarunas J. Jackson). He is in an open marriage, and according to him, his wife Candice decided on it.

Yet what’s quite perplexing is how quickly viewers are to point the finger at Dro for his “fuccboi” lies, and call Molly stupid for engaging in it. Dressed in a custom-made crème and white Adidas two-piece suit, sporting an asymmetrical bob cut, Yvonne dismisses the male bashing notion while advocating for Candice’s empowered unheard side of the story.

“What was so funny about that to me was that everyone was like, ‘he’s lying, he’s lying.’ Nobody was like, ‘what if Candice is out there getting hers,’” Orji pondered. “What if this is true and Candice is out there living her best life. People in conversation never go there, which I think is very interesting about society.” Right, the world always gives men the upper hand, and never wants to believe women can own their hedonistic desires--even if the status quo may not agree with them.

Whether or not Molly is wrong, she has to deal with her choices–and that’s what the third season presents.

“This season we’re going to see how people live in the decisions they make, and what the ramifications of what those decisions could be,” Orji explained. “There’s fantasy and there is reality, and I think our show really does a good job of living the reality of what the fantasy you thought was. We take you there, but then we reel you back in. This season I feel like shows everybody growing, but in a different way or trying to figure out how to grow.”

This is evidenced in the first episode of the third season, “Better-Like.” It opens up with Daniel having loud sex with a random woman, while Issa is trying to fall asleep in his living room. After her break-up with Lawrence,  she can’t afford the apartment they shared at The Dunes in Inglewood, so she opts to stay with Daniel—the man she choose to destroy her relationship for.

And if that isn’t enough, she also got demoted at We Got Ya’ll to an admin position where now she’s forced to also drive for Lyft to make ends meet. Molly, on the other hand, confronts Dro about his relationship and makes effort to give him boundaries. Issa’s regressing, while Molly is taking a stand for herself.

Amid their problematic and juicy storylines, their close friend Kelli (Rothwell) serves amazing one-liners and adds on to the loaded conversations. For Rothwell, who in addition to playing Kelli is also a writer on the show, it’s imperative to remain true to Issa’s storyline. “It’s about me wearing hats, and compartmentalizing so it’s very difficult to be in the writer’s room, and be thinking about Kelli,” Rothwell said, wearing a white and blue jumpsuit with a flirty red lip. “When you’re a writer there is a selflessness that has to happen, you have to have equity with how you treat each of the characters and the information you bring into the room. I want to do right by Issa. Her story is the story we are telling.”

After our conversation, Yvonne and Natasha hurry back to set where they’re filming in a nearby apartment.

During the first half of the day, Issa is filming at Inglewood’s City Hall. Through the monitors at the production crew’s video village set up, wearing a navy blue ensemble Issa is seen shooting a scene inside a courthouse attempting to get some release forms for an event that’s being hosted in the neighborhood for We Got Ya’ll. She stresses the importance of empowering the youth of the community, but is met with a sarcastic Latina clerk who calls the events in the area as “janky” and calls her a “pendeja.”  

On-screen Issa is awkward and hesitant, but hilarious. They go through a dozen takes, and occasionally improvise on the spot. It’s fascinating to watch her at work. Real life Issa is quick-witted, sweet and confident—everything you hoped she would be.

Issa Rae describes her character as a version of herself filled with inchoate thoughts. “She’s a version of me that hasn’t grown up yet,” she said after shooting the scene. “I don’t like uncertainty. I’m very certain when it comes to things in my life and my career path. When I make decisions I’m really impulsive. I think she waivers in a way I don’t. I understand what it means to be that insecure, and I’m a better version of that and I’ve outgrown that.

“So I look at her, and I’m like ‘girl, get it together because I know what you could be.’ I know what your potential is.” she continued.

While she knows her character’s potential, she’s aware that it’s pivotal for her to represent reality no matter how ugly it may be. Still, she grapples with the dichotomy of having to protect the representation of black women through her lens. “I’m protective in the sense that we haven’t had two dark-skinned female leads on television,” she explained. “And I find that sometimes it’s more detrimental to be like black women are perfect and flawless. That’s just hard to aspire to, and no one is like that. So while I think about those things we can’t have her out there being angry, going off on the light skin b***h cause what does that look like?”

When it comes to divulging details about this current third season, as expected, Issa keeps a tight lip. She does confirm there will be growth, but that’s pretty much it. Let’s see how much Issa and Molly grow up or glow up this season.

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Rest In 'Power': Crew Member For 50 Cent's Show Killed On Set

50 Cent offered his condolences to the loved ones of Pedro Jimenez, a crew member who was killed on the set of his hit STARZ show, Power, earlier this morning. (Monday, Dec. 10).

"I just learned we lost Pedro Jimenez, a member of the Power production team early this morning," wrote the media mogul in an Instagram post, which accompanied a black screen. "My prayers and condolences are with the entire Jimenez family."

According to TMZ, "Pedro Jimenez was setting up parking cones for a location shoot in Brooklyn around 4:20 AM when he was struck by a 2006 Ford Explorer. Police responded and Pedro was transported to a Brooklyn Hospital, where he was pronounced dead."

Jimenez was just 63 years old, and had reportedly worked on the series since its debut in 2014. Reports state that investigators have spoken with the 64-year-old driver of the vehicle that struck Mr. Jimenez, who is also a crew member on the show. No arrests have been made.

 

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I just learned we lost Pedro Jimenez, a member of the Power production team early this morning. My prayers and condolences are with the entire Jimenez family.

A post shared by 50 Cent (@50cent) on Dec 10, 2018 at 9:29am PST

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'Queen Sono' Will Be The First African Original Series To Stream On Netflix

Netflix caught some flack over the weekend after it was reported the streaming behemoth shelled out a smooth $100 million to keep the 90s sitcom Friends. However, staying committed to original content IOL Entertainment reports Netflix will take on it first African series.

Titled Queen Sono, actress Pearl Thusi (pictured above at the 2019 Global Citizens festival) will star in the dramedy which finds Thusi portraying a spy motivated to help the lives of her South Africans, while dealing with highs and lows of a personal relationship.

Netflix's Vice President of International Originals Kelly Luegenbiehl who's in charge of content in Europe and Africa expressed excitement over Queen Sono.

"We love the team behind the show, [and] we're passionate about coming in and doing something that feels fresh and different. It's really exciting for us," she said. "Their point of view and creating a strong female character was really something that also really drew us to it.

Erik Barmack, also with Netflix, said Queen Sono is just the first of many to depict life in Africa.

"Over time our roots will get deeper in Africa and South Africa, and we're moving pretty quickly to that now, and plan to invest more in local content," he said.

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Nothing was off limits during Cardi B's recent interview on CBS Sunday Morning. During the special, which aired on Sunday, Dec. 9, Cardi got candid with interviewer Maurice DuBois about her humble beginnings in the strip club, her beef with Nicki Minaj, and how she's been handling mega-stardom.

In case you missed it, check out a list we compiled of the Grammy-nominee's statements below, and watch the interview in the video above.

She called her beef with Nicki Minaj "unnecessary"

Cardi and Nicki Minaj have been at war for most of the year. The beef may have started following their collaboration on Migos' "Motorsport." Over the course of the year, it escalated to a physical altercation during a New York Fashion Week event, as well as many public jabs over social media. While both rappers previously agreed to turn their attention elsewhere, Cardi reflected on how the entire situation was "bad for business."

"A lot of people like to say all publicity is good publicity. To me it's not. That takes away [from] people paying attention to your craft," she said of her feud with Minaj.

Working at the strip club gave her power and a passion for performing

As you may know, Cardi B was previously a stripper before she gained mega-stardom. While she has shared mixed reviews about her past in various interviews, she told CBS that she thought stripping had a positive impact on her life.

"A lot of women here, they taught me to be more powerful," she said. "I did gain, like, a passion and love [for] performing. It made me feel pretty... I'm glad for this chapter in my life. A lot of people always want to make fun of me -- 'Oh, you used to be a stripper!' -- I don't ever regret it, because I learned a lot. I feel like it matured me. My biggest ambition was money. That's what these women put in my head: nothing is important but the money."

Her ability to connect with her fans stems from her accessibility 

Cardi undoubtedly understands how to connect with her fans and followers better than many of her counterparts. After all, the rapper built up her network in such a short amount of time. She attributes her likability to being "reachable."

"When I talk, I make a lot of mistakes," she continued. "Like, I might say words, and the words are not even in the dictionary. But people still like it because you can tell that I'm saying it from the heart."

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Before she made it big, Cardi admitted that she didn't expect her music to reach No. 1 on the Billboard charts. When reflecting on her first hit single "Bodak Yellow," she stated that she had low expectations at first.

"It hit at 85, and I just felt like, alright, I already did enough," she said. "Then when people was telling me, like, there's a possibility of going No. 1, I was like, 'Oh my gosh -- if I go No. 1, this is going to be crazy... and then it did. I just felt like I was on top of the world."

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