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This post is in partnership with HBO. As always, thoughts and opinions are my own.

Issa No – Issa is going around Inglewood to restaurants and artists to see if they’ll be a part of the block party but no one is here for this event but her. She is getting nothing but “NO” as a response. Later on, she tells Molly she’s putting it on hold, because it’s too hard and the person who convinced her she could do it (Nathan) is gone anyway. Molly tells her that her coworker Torian is being salty at her, after she took the reins on their case and pitched it herself to the partners. Issa asks her best friend to consider whether what she did to him was shady, but Molly says there’s a double standard that comes to being assertive in business if you’re a woman. Anywho, Issa’s birthday is coming up, and it needs to be drama free so Molly is gonna plan the day for her friend, with surprise celebration.

Zaddy – Lawrence meets up with his dad, Marcus, who is a busy businessman there on a trip. As he helps his dad with his new smartphone, which is an upgrade from the old school flips, he gets the much-needed advice that relationships are work. Lawrence’s parents might look like they have their sh*t together but when they started dating, they both showed up with all the baggage. But shout out to ZADDY Walker, wise and fine AF!

Upgrade – At work, Molly is called into the conference room where the partners are with Torian. They give her the good news that they have a new major client who is priority and that she is co-lead, along with Torian on it. She is clearly thrilled, and he is clearly not. Issa has an interview at the Beat Crew, and  when asked what happened with her old job, she says it wasn’t aligned with her passion. The guy said he’ll get back to her and she’s geeked about the prospect. It looks promising.

Birthday Bish – On Issa’s birthday, Molly shows up to her apartment to pick her up. Right then, she sees Nathan walking up with flowers. Being the protective bestie, she is, Molly tells him to scram! How dare you randomly show up after a month of absence on her birthday?? Foolishment. Nope. Bye!

Molly blindfolds Issa and walks her to a park and when she takes the blindfold off, it’s a movie in a park: The Last Dragon.

This is year 30 so she gotta do it different. They run into Lawrence, who is meeting up with his boys and the Last Dragon nerds unite and have a moment. As he walks away, Issa’s look lingers a bit, and BFF notices.

Dirty 30 – Kelli is inside holding a space for them. Good news? Tiffany is making her godmother. They’re all 30. Single. Black. Thriving. Wait, but wasn’t Kelli hanging with Pocket Bae she called “The Black One?” Yes, until she realized he doesn’t give oral sex. NOPE. Exit stage left. What happened to The Asian, Molly? He ain’t work out either. Kelli finds some old conquests around and goes off wandering to see if there’s some new booty she can procure. Because: priorities.

Lawrence walks up to his boys and sees Chad holding a purse. Oh that’s what we on, now? Nah. It’s his woman’s, Leah, purse. That relationship he lost because he was a cheating ass dude? Well, he got it back after begging like a Keith Sweat song, apologizing to her family and watching some of her fave tv shows. All of that was worth it if it meant he didn’t have to start from scratch with someone else. And get this: they are engaged again.

Old Friend – The event kicks off, and it is a Black ass movie night, for Black folks, organized by Stacy, one of Tiffany’s friends. Molly’s in the concession line and runs into Jared, the lover she had who she stopped talking to because he told her he’s dabbled in sex with men. They start talking and a dude walks up to Jared to tell him where their blanket is. OH. Is he on a date? With a dude? Welp.

Molly is so frazzled she runs into Lawrence. She tells Issa she ran into Jared and he’s fully gay. Hmmm… assumptions ruin lives. Kelli comes back mad because she found her ex Quantrell and now they’re a couple again. Only Kelli would be upset that she reignited an old flame. I love her.

Coupling – The movie is on and they’re into it and candy appears next to Issa’s face. It’s Lawrence, handing it to her to wish her a happy birthday. He sits down next to her and they chat for a little bit til he goes back to his boys. As the movie wraps, Issa realizes how far they had to come to have a night of noir fun and she doesn’t think it’s fair. Just then, Jared and his boy walk up. His boy? His brother. And the 2 women they’re with? Their girlfriends. OOP.

As the girls walk out, Issa goes to the event host, who she met previously at Tiffany’s baby shower. How did she make it all happen? By not quitting. Stacy says she just focused on getting YESses even as the NOs came through.

Negative Nancy – Molly and Issa are having a sleepover and Issa says she thinks she’s gonna do the Block Party after all. Molly is not as enthused and then drops the bomb about Nathan showing up and her telling him to get lost. Issa gets pissed and tells her friend she’s just been so negative lately. At work, and in general. If she keeps  burning bridges in her wake, there will be no one on her side when she does make it to that coveted top.

The Setup – At work, Molly approaches Torian about the case they’re on. He tells her that she can handle the case all by herself because he’s recused himself from it and has joined the two women Molly previously shafted on their case. This is not a victory; this is a setup.

Issa meets up with Stacy to talk about the Block Party, because she is clearly someone she needs to brainstorm with and have on her team if she will make this block party a reality. The two part on great terms, and Stacy tells Issa she has a date. Issa gets home and there are flowers outside her door. Molly calls “The Asian One” (Andrew) and he is not that happy to hear from her (for good reason). She says she’s calling to say she can be hard on people and she’s been unfair to other people. This is a proper apology phone call, and he softens up to her.

Chances – Lawrence waits for his date and it’s Stacy! Aw sh*t. She tells him she thought they were done once she mentioned she was divorced. He makes light of it, because everyone has baggage. I see he’s been listening to Zaddy Marcus.

Nathan and Issa finally meet up. Where has he been this past month? He says he went back to Houston because he was dealing with a lot of stuff, and he sometimes makes a habit of disappearing when he is going through life’s struggles. He admits he was wrong for ghosting her. All he can say is he’s sorry and that he wants them to talk now that he’s back for good. Issa is not pressed to talk, and she walks away and says she needs to think.

Home – In her apartment, Issa pulls out a vinyl record. She starts unpacking all her boxes and putting her art on the walls. She takes plastic off her couch and at the end of the night, it feels like she has made a home out of her place. She is looking happy and settled, for the first time in a long time.

First of damn all, I AM PISSED AT NATHAN! What in the hell? How do you just disappear for a month and come back talmbout you were going through things? As if everyone doesn’t go through things? Being MIA is not the way to handle life, and I still don’t fully believe he was just going through something. You don’t bury your head in the sand and leave the folks who care about you wondering if you’re even alive. There has to be more to his absence cuz what kinda shenanigans has you ghosting someone you supposedly care about when all you coulda done is send one text that says “I’m fine. I just need to go away for a few weeks to clear my head?” In the words of Zion’s mama, Sister Lauryn Hill: “It could all be so simple. But you’d rather make it hard.”

I do love the fact that Issa didn’t just jump back in his arms. She was really measured and mature about her reaction to him. She didn’t fall into the puppy love trap, nor did she slice his pinky toe off. She’s taking her time to figure out if what he said is good enough for her to accept. I’m here for it.

Furthermore, I’m seeing Issa’s growth. From the advice she’s been giving to her friends, to her dealings with these men who are hellbent on being fckbois, to deciding not to give up on the block party because the community needs it. Our girl is growing up and showing that she isn’t always on Team Bad Decisions. Issa is miles away from where she was when the season started. She began on the couch in a lover’s house, hating her job and everything about what she was entangled in. She was newly heart-broken and didn’t seem to have direction. Now, she’s interviewing for jobs and might be close to getting one she would love. She has her own apartment, and she has a passion project. Plus, she’s distancing herself from tempting male vagabondery. Lemme find out 30 done made Issa get her life together. I’m here for it.

Molly, on the other hand, can’t seem to find her footing. She is supposed to be the friend with her act together but things seem to be falling apart. At her new law firm, she’s becoming a pariah because she didn’t learn to share in kindergarten. Plus, her need for title and status is adversely affecting her relationships at the workplace. Those same relationships are clutch when moving through the world of business. And Issa was right in that her friend has been in a very negative space. She doesn’t do the encouraging thing well and that’s because she’s not happy with herself and she projects all of her misery on others. It seems Issa is pointing that out to her, though, because of that apology she gave to Andrew. Let’s hope she can keep that going. Also: some extra therapy sessions might not hurt.

Lawrence is giving love a chance and realizing that he hasn’t had real expectations on what it looks like to date. There are no baggage-less people. Some just have carry-on while some are gonna take extra strength to life. He must have met Stacy at Tiffany’s shower. I’m just nervous for when it somehow gets to Issa that her new friend is the one her ex-boyfriend is beginning to date. Let it not unravel any of her progress.

As season 3 of Insecure ends, Issa is feeling hopeful about her space, Molly is feeling convicted about her attitude and Lawrence is feeling open to the possibilities of new partnership. The 30s are here and you gotta move different. May the mistakes and dumbassery of our 20s not follow us into the decade where adulting truly begins.

Follow the Awesomely Luvvie FB page | The post Ghost-Like: Insecure Season 3 Finale Recap appeared first on Awesomely Luvvie. Duplicating this content in entirety is expressly forbidden.

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MIA – It’s been a week since Issa has heard from Nathan and she cannot stop thinking about him. Molly finally accepts the date with Andrew and it seems to be going well. She admits to him that she turned him down so many times because she was embarrassed by her festival shenanigans. But, she has to go to work that day and she asks him out for the day after. Ok den!

Chad wants to go clubbing that night but Lawrence says he can’t go because he plans on going to church the next morning. WHAAAA? Look at this heathen. Chad wonders if his friend is in crisis but says he’ll go with him, not to be a supportive friend or for holy purposes, doe. He’s going because there are hella women there.

Cracking – Issa wants to remind Nathan how cute she is, wherever he is, so she posts a selfie on IG. The only comment is from her brother, who sees her thirst through the post. She’s in her own head, going through all the convos with Nathan, picking out where they coulda gone wrong. She goes through his IG and sees a pic of her and a beautiful woman and when she is about to go off, she realizes that’s his mom. Black surely does not crack.

Issa is working on the block party deck when she logs into IG using the stalker account her and the girls established and sends Nathan a “you’re cute. Are you single?” message. She deletes it seconds after, though.

Saint – At church, at first, all Chad can do is spot the beautiful women. The sermon is about bondage and temptation, and Lawrence seems out of place. When the pastor asks who will recommit to Jesus, Chad is the first one out his seat, in tears, getting blessed. A saint is just a sinner who fell down. Lemme find out this sinner is getting up.

Chad was really touched by the sermon and is already planning on being back. But Lawrence wasn’t so moved. A woman (Deniese) walks up to Lawrence to ask how he liked the service and they strike up an easy conversation.

Honesty – Molly gets a call from Torian to say he has to postpone their presentation, because he needs to be in court and wants to check her work. When she meets Andrew for dinner, she complains that her colleague is trying to micromanage her. They talk about what they told each other while tripping on molly, and while they forgot a good amount, they remember the sweet tea. He remembers her admittance that she slept with her married friend and charges it up to “Grime recognize grime.” Stuff takes a turn because his assessment that Dro led her on hits her below the belt. She leaves in a huff before they can even order. Oop.

Exception – Issa is asleep and gets a call from the building owner because she’s late meeting their foreman. Nathan is still deep on her mind and he hasn’t updated his IG but she did see someone tag him to thank him for cutting their hair. OH WORD? At work, Molly’s boss asks when Torian will be back. She says she’s willing to do the presentation herself in his absence. Issa, in her pajamas, jumps in her car and calls Molly (who apparently, slayed the presentation). A bit later, Issa has convinced Molly to join her on a nutty adventure where they bring desserts to Andrew’s to see if they can get any info on Nathan’s whereabouts. Molly is still pissed at Andrew so she’s only doing this on the STRENF of their sisterhood.

Searching – The two knock on his door and he opens, wholly shocked to see them standing there.

They say they were in his neighborhood, so they thought to drop by. He says he’s home alone, but Issa doesn’t believe him, lying that she needs to use the bathroom, so she can have an excuse to go in. She skips his downstairs bathroom and goes upstairs, and I’m embarrassed for everybody here. Molly tries to distract him as Issa goes creeping in Andrew’s house to see if she can find Nathan. She says she came by to talk about their date, and that she forgives him. Nahhh. She left the whole date. He says he keeps meeting different versions of her and he doesn’t know which is real. “Are they all this f*cked up?” Bruh, let’s fight (but he’s not wrong).

Issa walks in a room she thinks is Nathan’s. He isn’t there, but she starts going through his drawers. NOOOOOO, GIRL. No. She finds his festival wristband and sees his computer is open, so she tries to log in by guessing his password. Girl. “Houston” fails. Her attempt at a 3rd try is foiled by Molly, who shows up.

The Real – In Issa’s car, Molly asks what is really going on with her. Issa wonders if it’s her fault that Nathan ghosted her because she showed him too much of her true self. Her bestie says if he can’t deal with who she really is, then he is not worthy of her time. FACTS. Why is Issa bugging this hard? Because he made her failures feel small, and that made her feel good.

Lawrence grabs ice cream with Deniese, the woman from church. They talk about the pastor who tries very hard to connect with the youth using metaphors. She says it did take her more than one visit to feel it, including going to bible study. It’s been a year since and that is her church home.

Move Forward – Issa is in bed, not sleeping, because Nathan is all up on her brain. She is truly obsessed. Finally, she gets up, showers and then erases traces of him: unfollows him on IG, deletes his number and her call logs. It’s been 9 days. Operation: Move Forward has begun. She goes to an entrepreneur workshop and starts getting serious about making the block party a reality. At work, Torian ices Molly out when they see each other in the hallway. Uh oh.

Call Out – Lawrence gets a text from Deniese asking if he’ll be at bible study. He says he’s not sure. He does, however, meet up with Issa, who wants to thank him for letting her know about the entrepreneur workshop. She asks when he’s off and if he has time for coffee. He does. She mentions she drove Thug Yoda and got all the Dunes tea from him. Issa gets real honest about how rough the months have been, with her couch hopping and driving Lyft. But she realized she has to be able to stand on her own, including with the Block Party. Lawrence calls her out for always being in her own head and talking herself out the game. In turn, he admits that he went to church, but he wasn’t necessarily feeling it. She tells him to just find another one and stop exiting things out because he went to one.

Issa was completely out of her mind for the idea of going to Andrew’s place to bum-rush Nathan if he was there. Like, my girl. Don’t do that. You are better than that. Furthermore, why didn’t she just ask Andrew where Nathan was? Why play Sherlock Holmes, coming up on nothing, when you can ask one of his closest friends? Instead, she’s sneaking around the dude’s crib as if she was gonna have a A-HA CAUGHT YA moment.

I get it. Being ghosted is the worst.

There is no closure and you’re left with all these questions but no answers. It is an awful place to be in, especially when you feel like you were beginning something that could be special. It is uncomfortable and unfair. However, Issa didn’t handle it well and the moment you find yourself rummaging through someone else’s house in an underwear drawer is the moment you gotta tell yourself you are doing too much.

For some reason, I think Nathan is in jail, or something. I don’t want to believe he just straight left her hanging without a good excuse. Maybe it’s the optimist and romantic in me. DON’T DO HER LIKE THAT, NATHAN!!

It is interesting that she found herself calling Lawrence again. Sure, it is convenient to say she just wanted to thank him for the workshop tip but it seems like the need for something familiar might open up feelings that were technically not fully resolved. Tread lightly, Issa.

Our girl Molly keeps making missteps at work, even when she does well. Her doing the presentation without Torian now has her with one more person who isn’t on her team. However, I cannot say I’m mad at her for making the presentation solo. She’s anxious to prove herself and she has a micromanaging coworker who acts like her training wheels. She made herself useful and his ego cannot deal. Honestly, GO MOLLY! Team work isn’t always the best work. Sometimes, you gotta go about something yourself and she did that. I wonder how the Torian fall out will affect work.

I find it completely hilarious that Chad ends up in church and one sermon got him saved. That floozy there. I’d love to see what a righteous Chad does. Meanwhile, Lawrence is like a broken compass. He doesn’t know what he wants to do or where he wants to go. Still. Bless his heart.

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Meetup – Issa and Lawrence are seeing each other for the first time in a while and when she asks him what he’s up to, he runs through it in his head. He’s been sleeping with random girls he meets any and everywhere and being reckless with his BFF Chad. He even got an STD. But how do you tell your ex that? He just says he ain’t been doing much.

Permission – Issa’s idea is to throw a block party in her neighborhood so people can have nice things to look forward to. She goes to the DMV to get permits and the clerk gives her all the side-eye because the probability for jankiness with the event is high. Especially when Issa wants to pull it off in a month. Girl nawl. How you gon do that when you need permits for food, alcohol, insurance, and security. Issa grabs the stack of forms she has to fill out and is instantly overwhelmed. But new bae, Nathan is on hand, encouraging her and telling her she can do it.  She needs too many permits for that: alcohol, food, insurance, security.

Real – Molly’s at work and gets a text from Issa telling her to hit up Andrew, Nathan’s friend, about her jacket from the festival. But she’s too embarrassed to ask for it. Karen, her assistant, shows up with baby shower gifts for Tiffany, because sometimes you need a hand on getting things done when the busy struggle is real.

Nathan and Issa are in bed looking cutesy and he’s distracted. Why? Because he wants to know how she figures out if the thing they have is real. It leads to both of them admitting that they like each other, in a world where people are supposed to play the “I’m cool on you” game.

Lose Track – Lawrence is nervous AF when he makes a phone call. Well, multiple phone calls. He has to call all his sexual partners to say he just found out that he has chlamydia. It’s protocol so they can also get tested. The last call he makes is to someone he didn’t even sleep with. His groupon peen has reached epic proportions to the point where he has lost track. Sir, what is your life about?

Issa is water scrubbing the floors of the apartment complex because people are trash and won’t pick up after their dogs. She gets a call from Lyft saying there’s an investigation of an assault in her car. She texts Nathan to let him know so he can call her.

Closed – Andrew drops off Molly’s jacket to her and she wants to high tail it away from him so quick. He asks her out and she says she is swamped with work so she will get back to him. Later, she tells Issa and Kelli she ain’t gon go out with him. Kelli is fine with her going out with “the Asian one” because “the Black one” is now her booty buddy. So why can’t she go out with Andrew? Because she wants to marry a Black man so why waste her time with this guy who is not that? Issa wonders if she is blocking her blessings and keeping what could be a great surprise away from her, like Nathan. The girls perk up like, oh that’s your man now? She says she is really into him in a way she hasn’t been into since Lawrence. Plus, he gives her great TED talks about her abilities and ambitions, like the block party she’s planning. So, check it. Her company is called Musiqal Inc, and the Q is there because they do events quickly. The girls laugh in her face cuz she needs to change that corny name. Turns out Nathan already told her that. Anywho, Kelli finds a recipe for an all-white cake with chocolate specks, since it is a poetic rendering of Tiffany’s light skinned baby.

Cheaters – Lawrence tells Chad he had to call all his conquests, which was humiliating. The quarterlifer crisis is hitting him, though, because the routine of work then f*ck is getting old and tired. Derek meets them up and they ask how he’s feeling about becoming a dad; he’s excited. Chad always gotta talk about himself so he says he would have been a great husband but since he lost his last boo, that ain’t work. Mind you, he lost her because he cheated. Would Lawrence take Issa back for cheating? He says no, because all he sees her as is a cheater.

Crazy Crew – Tiffany’s baby shower is here and it’s super girly and bougie, of course. Issa and Molly don’t recognize most of the people there, even the planner (Blair) who is making it seem like her and Tiffany are BFFs. Apparently, the “Crazy Crew” is what this squad of high-pitched girls call themselves, and their décor includes portraits of Tiffany reenacting maternity pics of Beyonce, Serena and Cardi B.

It’s a co-ed shower, where the men are not too pleased to be there. Lawrence shows up with a gift and sees Issa. When he’s about to go up to her, Dro stops him to ask about kush because they’re gonna need some substances to get through this event.

The Past – Issa is distracted because she hasn’t heard from Nathan in over a day, which is unlike him. Molly tries him from her phone and it goes to voicemail too (which he hasn’t set up, because: dude things). They both see Dro and Lawrence at the same time and wonder if they should go speak. For Molly, it’s a no but Issa goes to say hi to Lawrence. Small talk and awkward silence happens but they get into a conversation groove, where Issa tells him she’s stepping out on her own. She’s where he was at some point. Their laughs come easily and Molly looks on from afar, seeing the chemistry that is palpable. It gives her the courage to go say hi to Dro but that doesn’t go as well. In fact, it goes terrible because he’s still salty. It’s door open and door close in 30 seconds.

Hurt – Kelli brings her special recipe cupcakes and when one of the Crazy Crew girls is trying to reject them from the shower table, she shoves it in her hand. Another one of them disses them as “back up cupcakes” and I just knew Kelli was gonna send it up!

She doesn’t, though, because she isn’t angry but hurt. She heads out the door and Issa and Molly follow her. She feels like she’s losing her best friend because Tiffany is her pair in their quad, and this baby is driving a wedge between them.

Tiffany comes out and asks whassup. They tell her she ain’t even have them on planning committee but she makes the good point that none of them even offered. Their excuses of new jobs, crashing on couches don’t hold up because life happens; figure it out. Kelli did ask Tiffany to help her plan a shower but got rebuffed. Why? Because Blair has kids so she figured she’d be better at planning it. OUCH. That hurt even me. Kelli is so hurt.

Awkward – They all return inside but none of them are happy. Molly is looking like the child of FOMO. Is she having baby fever? Well, she might but she ain’t even got prospects, so baby fever is for naught. Issa reminds her that she just turned down a perfectly decent dude for a date. What about Lawrence? Issa says she’s over him and talking with him let her realize that. Right then, Candace (Dro’s wife) shows up! Molly’s being cool in her presence but Issa is being all weird and grinning like a Cheshire cat for no reason. Molly pulls out her phone and texts Andrew. Maybe she will go on this date after all.

New News – The shower is ending and Lawrence runs into Derek as he’s about to leave. Derek mentions that he saw him and Issa talking. Yup, and he says she seems different, in a good way. Issa and Molly are washing dishes in the kitchen as Tiffany walks in. Where’s Kelli? She left. The girls try to make excuses for her but they all know it’s bullsh*t.

Since they’re on the baby thing, Tiffany asks Molly why she ain’t tell her that Candace and Dro are also expecting. Ummmm… that’s cuz she ain’t know. Bloop. But Tiffany knew that and was just being petty.

Issa’s phone rings and it’s Lyft saying Nathan has given them a statement so they’ve closed the investigation. Ummm… he can holler at them but not her? She scrolls through all her unanswered texts from him. Aight, what’s going on here? Why is he MIA?

EVERY TIME something is about to go well for Issa, the universe dropkicks her through the goalposts of life. She’s finally allowing herself to fall in like with Nathan and he goes ghost. She’s finally getting over Lawrence for real and she keeps running into him. I was also over here rooting for Nathan cuz I think she deserves a nice dude who will be there for her. But something is clearly not curling all the way over with him. What’s his deal? What’s his real story? I realize how little we still know about him and I think she’s realizing that too.

On to Molly. Sis, don’t block your blessings. Even if she wants to marry a Black man, she can let this Asian dude entertain her. She can get some practice on being a batter communicator and partner. Or she can learn that sometimes, life’s plans for us are better than what we have planned for ourselves. OR she could just enjoy a night out in the company of someone. Who knows? But me thinks she should go on one date with Andrew. One date isn’t a lifetime commitment.

Now Lawrence… I’ma need him to get his life together. He’s out here so reckless that he isn’t using condoms and contracting an STD. If that is not life pouring cold water on you to tell you to chill a bit, I’m not sure what is. And honestly, Chad is not the best type of friend, because he will advise you down the river of iniquity. Lawrence might wanna get counsel from Derek and other people with more sense. I’m sure Lawrence Hive is really pleased but y’all might wanna sit your dude down and tell him to stop his slutbucketness.

So Issa, don’t get distracted by these men and their foolishness! Keep your head on. And spray any temptations of going backwards to Lawrence away, using the strongest of fckboy repellents.

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Running – Issa is driving Lyft to make ends meet after quitting her We Got Yall job, and gets all types of passengers. Best one? Thug Yoday! She ends up at Molly’s job with all types of errand stuff for her bestie to get her ready for their trip to a music festival in California where Beyonce is performing! They both need this trip and Beyoncé’s performance so bad that Issa does the Formation choreography as she leaves.

Credit – Molly is in a meeting at work and her colleague, Torian, is hogging all the credit on a case they’re working on. She volunteers to work on an important brief, knowing doggone well that she has a girls trip to go on. But she does not want to be outshone. Group projects are always the worst.

Girl Bye – Issa shuts her apartment door and leaves a sign that she is out for the weekend so ain’t no property managing. Just then, her upstairs neighbor Trina comes out complaining about bed bugs. No thank you, bye!

Kelli and Tiffany are there to pick Issa up and Molly isn’t in the car. Why? Because she told them she has work to do and can’t go anymore. Nah, son. Unacceptable. Issa calls her BFF and insists that she has to go. She even offers to help her with the brief. Even though Molly knows she’s biting off more than she can chew, she gives in. She’ll meet them there.

Girls Trip – The girls get to their AirBNB and instead of getting the party started, they go on lame mode. Tiffany wants to get a nap in cuz her and the baby need a quick recharge. Kelli? Well, she took an edible and is now operating on slo-mo. Molly texts to say she’ll be there in 2 hours but by the time she gets there, everyone is asleep. This is not a terrible thing because it gives her a chance to work on the brief.

Beyoncé or Bust – The next morning, a refreshed and recharged Issa goes banging through the house to wake the girls up yelling “Beyonce or Bust.” They wanna snatch her edges cuz she’s making all this noise, but she charges them up. Molly can’t be mad anymore after she gets a thumbs up email from her bosses for the brief, so now she can legit party. They take a shot of Rosé and go get dressed. Nathan then texts Issa and says he is at the music festival last minute and at a pool party. Yup, switch of plans!

Molly Squared – The girls end up at the V Hotel and see Nathan, which tells Molly exactly why this stop got added to their plans. He is rolling with 2 other guys and they offer the girls some molly (ha!) to get the party started and they oblige. They even offer Tiffany some and she’s like NAWL. See bad influence.

High on molly, Issa and Nathan are in their own world at the pool party. The hyper sensitive touch that is a side effect of the molly has Issa turned up and on. Her and Nathan start kissing. Whew. Yall better. On the other side of the pool, Molly is Molly squared, and high AF. She then starts telling all her business to Nathan’s boys, cuz who has shame when high as a kite?

Festival Crew – The crew of 7 make it to the music festival, still high. Their cellphone service is shot to pieces and Tiffany is basically the chaperone. She insists they go get a good spot to get ready for Beyoncé, and they get one.

Then Issa and Nathan go to get food but Tiffany says no one else can leave the spot or they’ll lose it so they have to walk away in shifts. Molly’s high ass takes off her jacket and lays it on the ground, saying she’ll save it but the “Asian one” tells her she can’t sit while on molly or she’ll pass out so he lets her lean on him. Meanwhile, Kelli grabs Nathan’s other friend and walks away.

High and On – As they walk through the festival, Issa asks Nathan why he hadn’t really contacted her and he said he was making sure she didn’t think he was pressed. She starts rapping, not knowing she said it out loud but when he picks up her rap, she jokes and says they should start a group. She turns around and sees a ferris wheel, insisting they go on it. Turns out that Nathan is scared of heights but he does it anyway. He calls her amazing and she rebuts with the fact that she quit her job. Which leads to him telling her that she is super brave and gives her the cutest TED talk affirming her dopeness.

Just then, the ferris wheel stops. Crap, it’s stuck. The conductor says she has to go get a backup battery. Nathan is scared sh*tless but Issa starts kissing him. And that leads to her straddling him and then… BOOM CHICKA WAH WAHHH. Making the secks.

Or Bust – Kelli shows up back in the spot and sees a white girl sitting on someone’s shoulder, blocking everyone’s views. She asks the girl to get down and is laughed at. What does our girl do next? She snatches the girl down and they start scrapping. Molly jumps in as Tiffany just yells and sprays water at the melee. Police show up and break up the fight, dragging Molly and Kelli away.

Issa and Nathan are done doing the do when she gets a phone call. Tiffany tells her security has the girls outside the walls of the festival, cutting off their wrist bands. They’ve been kicked out of the festival, as Beyoncé’s set starts. Kelli is determined to see Queen Bey and starts running towards the wall when she gets tased. Nooooo. She’s peed herself and is writhing on the ground. Poor thang. The girls’ cellphones ping cuz outside the festival, they got service. Molly sees last minute notes from her bosses but Torian seems to be playing Captain Save the Day, which is what she wanted to avoid. Molly wants them to leave immediately so she can get to her laptop.

Mad Blues – Issa and Nathan arrive at the house but she says she gotta go face the storm herself. He kisses her goodbye and says he’ll talk to her the next day. When she walks in, Kelli is in the corner of the couch mad because she peed herself and got tackled. Molly is on the floor typing furiously and when Issa grabs her laptop, she realizes also nonsensically. She is too high for productivity. Tiffany? She’s in the closet crying on the phone to Derek, after admitting that she took a bite of a weed brownie. All Issa can think about is that her friends are mad at her, not that they have real issues to deal with. Tase-rage. They are all a wreck.

The next morning, Tiffany wakes up first looking for water. They are all finally sober and off their high. But they look a total mess and Kelli thinks her getting tased was a dream. Tiffany only finds vodka, so her and Issa go to the store. In the car, she admits that she’s been feeling left out of the squad since she got pregnant, which is why she insisted on coming on the trip. Things have changed about their friendship, and the baby isn’t even here yet.

Issa goes in the store, and Nathan texts her to ask if her friends are okay. Just then, she runs into Chad.

And then Lawrence. Oh sh*t!

Molly keeps putting herself in these terrible situations with work. She’s the new kid and is putting so much pressure on herself to come out guns blazing as a star student. It might serve her well to chill for a bit, deal with the grandstanding coworkers and then learn the dynamics. She’s rushing and tripping up because of it.

This Girls Trip was a complete bust, yo. But Issa did play her friends to the left a little bit with Nathan. She ditched them, and then got stuck in a Ferris Wheel and then got her vagina massaged as they were brawling. The fight, of course, was not her fault but her absence didn’t help. The space they were all trying to save was the cause and she coulda been there holding it down. Issa made a selfish decision and her friends had the right to be upset.

Now, I am here for Nathan. He’s all vulnerable and encouraging and open. He might be good for Issa. There is something here between them. BUTTTTTTTT is this Lawrence sighting gonna derail them? I really hope not. That fresh start she needed is here and I don’t want her to hustle backwards just because the past walked across her path. Lawd, let’s pray for her strength.

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Fresh Start – Issa’s got her new spot, and is back with her raps cuz she finally has a bathroom mirror again. Daniel stops by to drop off the last of her stuff and he looks like he’s already missing her. Those Puss-in-Boots eyes he was giving told me that. She thanks him with a hug and he bounces. He looks slightly salty, doe.

Molly comes bearing gifts: an inflatable mattress, a plant and some Hennessy.

She’s such a good friend. Issa’s afraid to see this all as a fresh start because she thinks she’ll jinx it. Molly vents about how work is still kinda weird. But back to this fresh start: Molly makes Issa dump her old relics: her Zane book, forever21 earrings and mixtape CDs from Lawrence. Fresh means letting go. There is a knock at the door and it’s one of the building’s tenants upset about “squirrels in the walls.” Wait what?

At home, Flava Flav the dog makes his way on to Molly’s bed. That’s her only cuddle buddy. Meanwhile, Issa digs all the stuff she trashed out. In her box, she finds her high school rap journal.

Looking Up – At work, Molly seems voiceless in a meeting. People are talking over her and not taking her contributions seriously. Afterwards, she goes up to her coworkers and showers them with compliments and they find common ground. At work, Frieda tells Issa that Joanne is gonna let her go back to working with kids. Sweet!

Issa goes to grab some tacos when she runs into Nathan, the best Lyft rider. Unfortunately, he startles her and the taco falls. OUCH. The two start talking, and Issa’s brother texts her cuz he just arrived at LAX. Meanwhile, she’s nowhere close to it. She clearly ain’t gon make it to pick him up because she would rather hang with the cutie in front of her (and I ain’t even mad).

As they walk around, Nathan roasts all things LA but Issa is riding for her city. She gives him a mini tour and they get to know each other better.

He’s a barber from Houston who has a great sense of humor. Issa then gets a text from Frieda saying she will tell her about her new assignment around 3pm.

Excuses – At therapy, Molly’s going off about how she can’t get no shine at her new firm. Her therapist wonders if she should just focus on being good instead of the pecking order. She’s wary of being stagnant after Dro-Gate but she’s never even mentioned it in one of her sessions. Ma’am. You can’t just hide the dirt from the person who is supposed to help you clean it up.

Truth or Dare – The spontaneous lunch date continues, as Issa and Nathan continue to stroll through LA. They start playing truth or dare and Issa picks “Truth.” He asks her when her last relationship was, and she admits her 5 year relationship ended because she cheated. Honesty hour indeed. He replies with “we all got something. You just gotta grow from it.” Come on, Supersoul Conversations! They’re strolling through the hood but when she says she grew up elsewhere, he suggests they go. Issa does not protest so she calls Frieda and says she won’t make it back cuz she ain’t feeling well. HEY NOW!

Issa and Nathan show up to a grand house, and he calls her bougie. That house was barely lived in by her cuz her parents got divorced when she was 16 years old.

The DARE from Nathan? Break into the house. She doesn’t need to because the gate isn’t locked. Issa’s dare for Nathan? Go skinny dipping in that pool. He accepts the challenge (praise God for those abs and buns). WHEW!!! He dares her to do the same and she accepts. AW SNAP!!!

Make Moves – Naked as they are, they get even more intimate as Issa tells him she has a rap journal and sometimes she raps in the mirror. She asks him for more of his truths and he admits he’s never had a real relationship. And his apartment flooded during Hurricane Harvey and that is what spurred him to make the move to LA. He just picked up and made the move, and he encourages her to do the same. Not happy with the job? Make a move. Right then, homeowner returns, sees them in the pool and they run out with their clothes in their hands. Back in Issa’s car, they wonder what to do next.

Molly decides to be helpful at work and offers to pitch in on one of her colleague’s cases.

Tacos and Kisses – Issa and Nathan go back for the tacos they ordered hours before, which are now cold. She uses this as an excuse to invite him over to her place to use her microwave. She ain’t got no furniture so they’re sitting on her boxes but that’s fine. Cuz they don’t need plush things. The two start kissing when a knock comes at the door. It’s a little boy who says he’s been sent by his mama who is locked out her apartment. HA! Nathan kisses her as he walks out and says they should go out again. YALL BETTER.

The 2 ladies at the firm approach Molly about the case she asked to pitch in on and when she says she can’t meet with them that night, they get slightly funny acting. Especially as one of her male colleagues calls her into his office. What is that shade I detect from them?

Free – Issa sees the pile of stuff she was fighting throwing out and realizes she doesn’t need them. She takes this trash out immediately. At work, Frieda tells Issa that she has been assigned to a middle school, and gets the shock of her life. Our girl tells her that she is quitting and walks out, looking as free as she’s ever looked.

I am so here for the Issa-Nathan connection! Getchu a man who will fight for you in your car, and then pop up randomly in your life again so you know it’s real. What are the odds that they’d run into each other again? And then they played Adult Ditch Day, which was like dates 1-3. At this point, they can be considered to be on date 4. They got vulnerable, they challenged each other and they laughed. I see real promise here. He was even able to encourage her to step outside her comfort and take that leap she was afraid to do: quit her job, which makes her miserable.

Now, that was a bold move. I just ask what her plan is to stay afloat. This property management job is part time so how is she going to make up the lost dollars? The Practical Patty in me is always wondering where the regular coinage will come from as people pursue their dreams. But then again, Issa is single with no kids. Her fail is just her fail. Go for it.

Now Molly and this job. I don’t know why it ain’t curling all the way over. Is she not being patient enough or is it not a good fit? Her therapist was right to call her out, though.

Maybe she shouldn’t be so concerned with coming in and ranking high, and just work her way up. Maybe she needs to look at this as truly a fresh start.

Issa has finally accepted hers.

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Heart wants – Daniel wakes up Issa, who is in his bed, now that she can sleep there and not the couch for once. She’s encroaching on his side of the bed and she says it’s because he got the good pillow and grabs it from under him. Under her pillow is hella chip crumbs, doe, and she says it’s what the heart wants. His question “what else does the heart want?” leads to him going down on her as she eats more chips but then that is just her overactive imagination. The real answer she gives him is that her heart needs to get to work.

Molly’s bougie is at an all-time high, as she gets her dog, Flava Flav, a facial. Issa is looking forward to getting her own place even though she will miss Daniel’s place. Molly wonders why she’ll miss the couch and she begrudgingly admits that she is now sleeping in the bed even though they haven’t done anything. Her friend’s side-eye is immediately activated.

Issa and Frieda are manning a We Got Yall table at a job fair, and they both agree that they won’t give white candidates consideration.

Promising – Molly starts her first day at her law firm, which is a change from the last because it’s an all-Black staff. She gets shown her new office, which has floor to ceiling windows, so this is looking promising. Daniel is at Khalil’s playing some of his beats for him. He likes it and thinks Spider would too if they make certain changes. Those changes basically strip the music down and Daniel doesn’t want to protest. Khalil says they’ll play it for Spider in a few days.

For the Kids – At the job fair for We Got Yall, Frieda thinks it’s going very well. Issa steps away for a second and watches some kids perform in the auditorium. The Beat Crew. Afterwards, she goes to give them props and finds out what they do. The program encourages kids to get into the arts and helps them do it. She’s so inspired and she takes their flyer with her.

At Molly’s job, her assistant tells her they don’t use DocuSign and they stick to couriers. What in the 2005 hell is that? Who uses couriers only? And those runs happen at 9am, noon and 5pm. WOMP!

Consideration – Issa goes to the building where she is being considered for property manager and when asked what her experience doing something like it is, she doesn’t have a great answer. Can she plunge a toilet? Will she be able to be on call? And also, it’s part time. He shows her the apartment she could rent, which usually goes for $1,500 but for her as property manager, would be $750. There IS a bathroom mirror. Does she want it?

Daniel and Issa are at the laundromat, and he vents about how his music is being simplified by Khalil. She advices him to let them edit his music so he can get to the next level, where he can then have more control.

They have a soft moment, but she interrupts it to say she has a job offer and she can move out. So wayment. How many jobs is she gonna have? We Got Y’all full time, property managing part time and driving Lyft. Plus, she stays locking herself out his apartment. How’s she gonna manage all of that? She says she’ll figure it out, so she can stop “bumming” at his place. He tells her she is not a bother and he likes her presence. Aawww. These two are adorable. All this flirting.

One of Molly’s coworkers asked her if she wants to go for a walk for lunch, but she has to work through it. Her coworker offers to help her. Cool! She’s about to get into her office but the path is basically packed with boxes of files. Turns out… her office is used as a storage there. Bruh… nah.

Group Chat – The girls get together for drinks to catch up and Molly is not happy about this new job, where there’s no electronic signatures and her office is basically a warehouse. She was expecting more from the Black business but jankiness has her feeling slightly dejected. Tiffany agrees.  Kelli and Issa think she might be giving them too hard of a time because they’re a black company. What is it about us trusting our skinfolk when it comes to money? Kelli even admits that her accountant is white. Ma’am! Any who, they tell Molly to be patient, just like how Tiffany has to be with the growing human in her stomach, who is the reason why she gets left out of group chats.

Kelli tells Issa that she can get the apartment, since it is one that is finally in her budget. It just only has a toilet in the bathroom, but the YMCA next door could be where she showers. She says she will pass on that and just stay with Daniel. No, she ain’t sleeping WITH him even though she’s sleeping next to him. The girls say they’re concerned about how this is gonna end up, which is badly.

At We Got Yall, Frieda and Issa are interviewing a Black woman named Antoinette for one of their positions. Frieda leaves the room to go grab on Joanne and Issa is left with the candidate. Antoinette asks her how she likes it and Issa gives her a very polite answer. Back at her desk, she ends up on the Beat Crew website. In a meeting, Molly makes a joke about CP time, and it doesn’t go over well. Someone else makes an underhanded comment about maybe her old firm used to start meetings on time. That pours cool water on her joy.

Bombing Again – In the studio with Khalil, Spider shows up to listen to what they got. What Khalil edited is now what he plays, but the original track instead. Spider likes it and Khalil is pissed so he says they made another version. Daniel has to play that version, and Spider likes it too. He doesn’t know how to pick one. Khalil flips the script and says he has something else entirely for him. Welp, Daniel messed that up entirely. Shoulda listened to Issa.

Truth Hurts – Daniel and Issa go eat, and it honestly looks like a date. Daniel’s cranky and she tries to lighten the mood. It works. She is the one treating him to this dinner to drop the news that she’s taking the property manager job. He looks disappointed, doe. He tells her what happened in the studio and Issa asks the good question of why he’d play the track when the man who knows Spider’s taste already told him what to play. Ego. He’s an artist and he’s sensitive about his shit. So, what now? Maybe apologize to Khalil? He laughs in her face because he doesn’t think she should give him career advice. BRUH that’s some assholish thing to say to the friend who is trying to cheer you up and is actually giving you decent advice. Ouch. But he points out that she doesn’t really know what it’s like to care a lot about your work. However true it may be, that had to hurt.

Not Right – Later that night, as they lay in bed, with their backs turned to each other, he says he was just upset about the studio incident. He turns to her back and starts kissing her back. She turns around and the two-start kissing. This time, him going down is not just a fantasy. But she isn’t enjoying it. She pulls him back up cuz it doesn’t feel right. PLUS, HE AIN’T REALLY APOLOGIZE. She turns back over in the bed.

Issa taking the property management job is ill-informed. Yes, I am Team Get Out of Daniel’s House but not if she will be fired or quit soon, forcing her to have to get back on the couch. He’s giving her the leeway to stay with him, so she might as well plan what she wants to do for real and go after it.

That brings up the critique Daniel threw in her face. Although it was somewhat callous how he did it, he makes a good point. Issa’s job at We Got Yall has now taken away the one decent part about working in that place: helping kids. The moment they took her out of the field and relegated her to working phones, she started resenting that job. How she lit up seeing the kids of The Beat Crew, and then hearing their mission, it is clear that she needs to take a risk and go after a job there. This property management thing is not a good decision but she’s making it because she wants a change.

Which brings us to Daniel. His ego made him sabotage a good opportunity, where he could have built a solid relationship with a respected producer. Instead, he thought he was so good that he knew Spider’s taste better than the person who collaborates the closest with him. I get it. He didn’t want someone else to edit his work, but he bit his nose off to spite his face. And Issa might not get a lot of things right, but she was right to give him the advice she did and question his bad decision.

Molly and this new job, which started off looking good but is now looking shoddy. I might have to quit a job that doesn’t let me sign documents electronically. It’s like how I almost quit my retirement fund carrier because they don’t let me pay invoices electronically. Even so, what she needs is to stop comparing everything to her old job, out loud anyway. She basically got shamed with it.

All of them are in career shambles in one way or the other. Bless up.

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What is Blackness?

Is it based on where you’re from? Is it based on your skin tone? Is it based on your heritage? Is it a lived experience? What is BLACKNESS?

As someone whose Blackness was questioned loudly because of a question asked about a Black American musician, I must ask. It brought to the surface whether I was qualified to speak on Black American culture, and it also had some folks wondering if my Blackness was enough. Chisos! In the words of R&B songstress Deborah Cox, “How did you get here? Nobody’s supposed to be here.”

I am Nigerian-born and American-bred, having been here since I was 9 years old. I am now 33. At 9, I knew nothing. I didn’t even know to define myself as Black because I was from a country where Black is the default so there’s no need to define it. It’s like going to a Catholic church; no one needs to say they’re Catholic. So coming to the U.S. was my first time having to deal with race. I had never heard about the Trans-Atlantic slave trade, because at school in Nigeria, we were learning about the Biafran War and how the country got colonized by the British and just got its independence in 1960.

Me at 9. The first class picture I took when I got to US. Why did I have on 2 shades of purple? I have questions, Mom.

Moving to Chicago, a place I had visited once when I was too little to remember much, was jarring, because it was also my introduction to racial politics. Even so, the subject of slavery was barely taught in the elementary and high schools I went to. You know, we talked about Harriet Tubman, who is the Matron Saint of Freedom, but also a crutch for folks to gloss over the depth of the horrors she was fighting against. Of course, every Black History Month, we had to recite Dr. Martin Luther King’s “I Had a Dream” speech.

It wasn’t til I got to college at the University of Illinois that I really got to explore and deeply research slavery and its impact on this country. My major was Psychology but I ended up having a Sociology minor cuz I elected to take so many classes around race and ethnicity in the United States. I wanted to know so much more. College was where I took a Black Women in the US class, and on the first day, the professor (who is also now my mentor) kicked it off by saying “I know you’re wondering why this Latina woman is teaching this class. I’m Black. I’m just light with freckles. And also, we’re having a test on Valentine’s Day, because I’m single.” Gosh I loved that class so much (shoutout to Dr. Millward). College was where I first read Assata Shakur’s biography and it left an indelible mark on me. College was where I got trained to be a Counseling Center Paraprofessional, and had to spend the first semester of the program exploring all parts of my identity and identifying my privilege. Before we could be peer counselors, we needed to be clear on who we were and the space we take up on the world.

College is also where I reclaimed my pride as a Nigerian. Being an immigrant in the United States as a young girl is difficult. Coming here with a strong accent, strange name and shock of being the new girl for the first time, I was extra OTHER. I, like many others, heard the “African Booty Scratcher” insults. When you’re young, being different is not a badge of honor you celebrate. I lost most of my accent by the time I started college by mimicking the way my classmates spoke, and I tucked away my first name to protect it from those who made it ugly. When I got to undergrad and saw West Africans being unapologetically themselves, it inspired me to do the same. I ended up as Vice President of the African Cultural Association.

College expanded my world, solidified my politics, and deepened my love of Black people and Blackness, in all its variety and layers.

I am Black. I am Nigerian. I am Yoruba. I am Chicagoan. I am Nigerian American. I am Black American.

So… when is our Blackness enough?

Is my Blackness exempt because I wasn’t born in the United States? Does that exclude me from being able to say I am Black American when my formative years have been in this country? Because if that is the case, then it is saying that I have to opt out of an entire culture that I have been a part of for most of my life. It is saying that I am not truly home even though I hold the passport. It says that even though it is something I am proud of, I cannot claim it simply because when I came into this world, my ancestors were not enslaved.

The double consciousness that WEB DuBois spoke of also speaks to a lot of us who are first generation Africans or Caribbean folks and just immigrants, in general. We have one foot on each place and we are told we aren’t enough of either thing we claim. Some of us aren’t African enough, but then we’re told we’re also not American enough because we happened to not be born here. Why is that?

So we are only supposed to opt in to certain parts of it, but not all? At the other end of a police officer’s gun, my Africanness does me no good. I am Black to the white. When Amadou Diallo was shot and killed by New York City cops, his native tongue, motherland or heritage did nothing to save him. Sure, we can talk about the privilege of having the anchor of a place where you know you are from, but that privilege does not protect us from the racist structure that wants us all to fail strictly because of our diasporic relation, and our skin.

We can talk about how police brutalize Black people, but we cannot have voice to talk about Black American music because that isn’t OUR culture? I think it is absurd. We can speak up loudly about how Black people are discriminated against but we should shut up about Black celebrities since we have no claim to them? That they are somehow in a glass case we have no access to. Oh ok.

I listen to 90s R&B and Hip Hop as much as I listen to Afrobeats. But me not liking mumble rap is not a commentary on the state of Black America. It is audacious to think that the moment we express opinions that aren’t favorable, it is because we are anti-Black American. It’s like me telling someone who says they don’t like Fela Kuti’s music that they hate Africans. We have to elevate our conversations beyond using the countries of our births as the basis for the opinions we form on each other.

More importantly, my pride in my Nigerianness does not insult my Black Americanness. I can say “Naija no dey carry last” as I raise my green white green flag. I also proudly yell Back Lives Matter as I wave my red black green one. Jollof is delicious but jambalaya is sweet too.

When told to “Go back to Africa,” it is another reminder that you can be othered and call somewhere home but still be told you don’t belong in it, by people who look like you. Where is home then?

And for me, that is in Chicago, IL USA

Who is the authority on Blackness and Black culture?

Black American culture is so deep and has such breadth and impact that its markers are often part of the global conversation. I was watching A Diff’rent World from my living room in Nigeria because we had a satellite dish. When I was 7, me and my cousins put on a talent show that we charged our parents to come watch in the living room, where we wore our clothes backwards since we loved Kris Kross. Black culture is global, because I identified with those things not because they are American but because they were Black. I will not opt out of it. I cannot opt out.  I’m staying, like Effie White. I do not call myself an expert. I am a forever student.

Some people believe that those of us who aren’t borne from a legacy of slavery have no place in the conversation because we aren’t directly tied to that particular type of struggle. So is Blackness earned through some sort of pain? Do I need to suffer in a specific way before laying claim to it?

If you were always middle class or upper, are you less Black?

If you are light-skinned and haven’t had issues related to dark-skinned discrimination, are you less Black?

If you’re an Afro-Latina, who was born in Puerto Rico, are you less Black?

If you do not have ancestors who were ever enslaved, are you less Black?

We often say that Black is not a monolith but then we question Blackness that doesn’t look like ours. We wonder if the person who grew up differently than us really loves Black people. Everyone isn’t Omarosa or Stacey Dash just because they have been privileged.

If we are couching our Blackness in the struggle, then what are we working for? If the purpose of our rocky roads isn’t to smooth out the path of those who come after us, what is the wn? WHEN ARE WE ENOUGH? When can we rest in our Blackness without having to justify or defend it to people who want to act like we’re in some competition for the authentic Black experience? Is our Blackness ever enough?

So how do we heal?

Four years ago, I talked about how fortunate I feel that I got to the United States when I did, at such a young age. Read: my post titled About the Relationship Between Africans and African Americans. I was able to be in spaces that allowed me to explore what Blackness meant, and it was a growing point. I was also able to see how Africans who are older get to be fed bullshit about African Americans. I talked about the word “Akata” and why I don’t use it, because it has derogatory origins. It is a word that means “wild animal” but many people who use it don’t realize it, participating in dehumanizing skinfolk without realizing it. The need for us to heal is real.

There is advantage in youth because a lot of folks in the older generation of Africans never had a chance to unlearn whatever stereotypes they might have heard about African Americans. Maybe we need to help our parents by sending them WhatsApp threads, because you know that is where all the African aunts and uncles park themselves day in day out. If I get one more mass prayer that has floral background from them, I might need to block them. Anyway, what I see as the job of those who are the bridge, because we are living in both worlds, is to educate and have the conversation around our tensions. We need to get to a place of true growth.

So Wakanda… Whenever?

Black Panther came out and we were all inspired and coming together. We were carrying Wakanda passports but it’s clear that we haven’t really absorbed some of what I consider its best lessons.

We need to heal. Wakanda, unlike most of Africa, escaped colonization, which is why it’s the utopia we all want to live in. But most of Africa, unlike Wakanda, has been pilfered of its natural resources by the colonizers, and doesn’t have the capacity to help. So when Africans come to the United States and excel, we gotta know it’s not just from our own doing. We didn’t pull ourselves up by bootstraps. Who do we think made those boots? The African Americans who have been here for 400 years, beaten, chained up and denigrated. Their legacy allows us to then cross the ocean, on our own volition, and do well. We are standing on their shoulders and we must not forget that.

Similarly, Africans cannot feel like we are always one step away from being told that we need to “go back to Africa,” especially not from our own. We already get that language from white people. We can all wear ankara or kente for a film premiere but we cannot return to fighting each other based on where we are from right after.

We can talk about Wakanda Forever every day but it doesn’t ring true if we continue to other each other. I keep thinking about what T’Challa said when he went to the United Nations. “Fools build barriers, the wise build bridges.” I don’t care where you’re born. This melanin means we’re kinfolk, even if it’s far down the line. But we’ve let the world tell us who we are. We’ve called each other names. We’ve let the world tell us that we’re on different teams. And we’ve let each other down by not fighting for each other.

For the conversation to be productive and for healing to happen, both sides have to be willing to get uncomfortable, own our roles, apologize for them and make amends to each other. We need to learn each others’ histories, because life ain’t been no crystal stair for either side. The legacy of colonization still ravages the homes of those of whose ancestors were not chained into ships. We’re victims of white supremacy, and that is what we need to defeat. We need to love up on each other and make white folks uncomfortable because they know how unstoppable we will be when we know we go together. Questioning each others’ rights to Blackness is hustling backwards. We gotta do better.

Like hip hop icon, and Blue Ivy’s Daddy, Jay-Z said: “Nobody wins when the family feuds.”

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This post is in partnership with HBO. As always, thoughts and opinions are my own.

Denied – Issa is at work, looking at apartments to rent but these LA prices are out of pocket. She shoots a text to Daniel cuz apparently they are ships passing in the night in that small apartment of his. She’s declined for another apartment she applied to, doe. Daniel’s response is super short. My feelings are still hurt over his “roommate” emphasis, and clearly, he is feeling some type of way about Issa.

Wrong and Strong – Joanne wants to discuss the old logo before they redesign it and asks the staff what they think. They all agree that it’s racist, because it is a white hand holding up black kids, but Joanne is mad defensive about it, saying it’s her hand, and it’s not a handout but a hand OUT. Darth Becky is at it again. Everyone then goes around to say what it could include, based on who they are. Ken thinks they should incorporate a rainbow, and Kitty thinks it should be two boys and two girls, not just one girl. Cuz: TimesUp and white woman concerns. Sarah says it’s called “We got Yall” which ain’t even grammatically correct (yeah I know what I said). Patricia throws an alley-oop to Issa, who had been super quiet up unto that point by saying it should be whatever she thinks is right. Issa chooses the road less rocky and says she agrees with everyone. She checks her phone and sees another apartment rejection. Meanwhile, Joanne is choosing to die on the “It’s not racist” hill she has climbed. Figures.

Daniel is in the studio with his niece, Jada, on babysitting duty when his music partner, Seven, rolls in with excuses about why the artist he promised would show up, Spider, ain’t there. Daniel’s been putting in work on a mix for him too, so disappointment.

Super Bad – Issa goes to see her girl Kelli at work for insight on her finances. Our girl got a 425 credit score, and Kelli being the realest of the real, tells Issa that “bad” would be too kind a word for her terrible score. She’s gonna need a cosigner or 3-4 months rent before she can secure a place but the way Issa’s finances are set up, she ain’t got a pot to piss in and a window to throw it out of. She cannot realistically get her own apartment. Kelli asks if she’s at least giving Daniel some money and when Issa says no, her friend inquires about what she is doing in exchange for that couch favor. Not a damn thing; not even cleaning around the place. She’s just taking up space. “Don’t look a gift horse in the dck.” Kelli wisdom is the best wisdom, even when it’s nonsensical.

Gotta Go – Issa calls her brother to see if she can crash with him and he shuts her down fast, quick and in a hurry. Him and his boo don’t want company.

Daniel has spent the last 3 nights at his bone buddy, Vanessa’s place and she straight up asks him if he doesn’t got no other woman to go lay under. That’s how you know someone’s sick of you. Where are his other booty baes? Well damn. He’s trying to give Issa some space, but his venting session is cut short because Vanessa only really has time to talk about her job, which I don’t blame her. Again, with these men who don’t understand that hitting it and quitting it is a thing.

Do Nothing – Issa is at lunch with her coworkers and she brings a sad sandwich and some granola bars cuz: broke AF. Frieda brings up the meeting with Joanne, and the coworkers are more concerned about the logo being ugly than it being racist. They basically tell Issa that if she has issues with things outside of the logo, to handle it herself. She doesn’t wanna be the rep for all Black people? Tough sh*t. That’s how things are. Meanwhile, Frieda is trying to be the polite white person who nicely points out problematic things, without doing much else. Girl bye. I can’t stand do nothing people.

Issa calls Daniel and tells him she needs more time to get her own place, but he responds by saying Vanessa ain’t cool with her being there all the time. Lying through those perfect, straight, white teeth of his. He can give her just one more week, and hangs up. Oop. See Issa’s life.

The Cleanup – Issa takes Kelli’s advice and is cleaning up a storm at Daniel’s place. She gotta make herself more useful. Daniel walks in and notices she cleaned. He gets a text from Seven, who is flaking from their club night where he is supposed to introduce him to Spider. Welp, guess that plan is a wrap. But Issa says if he doesn’t wanna go alone, she’ll go with him. He can’t just be dumping plans because of flakey folks. She wants to do something for him and being his wingwoman will be part of it. They show up to the club and they’re not on the list like Daniel thought they would be and right then, a former high school classmate of theirs, Khalil, who happens to be a big shot producer rolls up. He shows them all the love and asks what they’re doing. Issa says they’re having a tough time getting in and Khalil immediately tells them to roll in with him even as Daniel tries to balk.

The Bomb – Khalil tells them to come to his table and Daniel lies and basically hits him with the “I’m good, luv. Enjoy.” Spider is performing on stage and Daniel tells Issa that he has the idea to layer the guy’s sound and he does a beatbox to Issa to show how much doper he’d sound. She agrees that it’s hot and offers to buy him a drink even though she (and him) knows she can’t afford it. At the bar, a dude offers to buy Issa a drink, and at first it’s encouraging until he opens his mouth to say his green braces match his money. Ok no. Either way, she asks him to buy her 2 drinks, because: resourceful.

Daniel hasn’t moved from the spot Issa left him when she hands him the drink she got from Brace Face. He spends the whole time staring instead of shooting his shot but Issa encourages him to approach Spider. They get to the table and Daniel pauses as Khalil and Spider chop it up so Issa jumps in and starts making random convo with her old buddy to get him away from the target. He finally gets his chance to pitch to Spider and he bombs spectacularly. Gotta be ready with your elevator pitch, bruh! WOMP.

Daniel was not.

Upturn – Right then, gunshots go off in the club and everyone dives for cover. Daniel and Issa end up at a food spot after. Their maybe near-death experience gets them thinking about their lives and Daniel vents about how his music has gotten him nowhere. “I got good, but Khalil got famous.” Ummm… has he thought about collaborating with his old schoolmate instead of lamenting about how they’re in different places? He gotta learn how to ask for help. Shoot, she’s had to put her pride on the line many times, like asking him to stay longer. He realizes she’s right and softens up. He says she can stay as long as she needs.

When they get back to Casa de Daniel, he calls Khalil immediately and asks if he can roll through his studio. Khalil must have said yes, cuz he gets excited and hangs up the phone. The audacity to ASK is major. Issa sits on the couch but looks in pain. Daniel notices and asks if she’s okay. That couch ain’t comfy, man, and back pain is a thing. He gives her a short neckrub and offers her his bed, since he’s working late on music. Issa checks her voicemail and she received a call back about a property manager position she applied for. They wanna talk to her more. The non-rejection makes her smile. Things are looking up. She goes and sits next to Daniel and listens to his music.

I am so here for Issa and Daniel being friends for real again. I’m trying not to get excited about them being a couple, but they are adorable together. And to see their soft moments together gave me the warm and fuzzies. Issa went out of her way to big him up and give him the encouragement he needed, and it really showed how she cared. Usually, she can be pretty selfish but that talk from Kelli got her together.

Speaking of, everybody needs a friend like Kelli. Really and truly. The ones who tell you when your slip is showing and when you need to be a better person. Also, the ones who are like “I can help you but help yourself first.”

But back to Daniel and Issa. These 2 clearly care a lot for each other but their inability to get together in any real meaningful way makes me tired. I think it’s mostly Issa’s fault, though. She’s played him to the left a few times and he finally got sick of it and iced her out. That icing is what then spurred her to step outside her usual self and actually try to give instead of take.

I am rooting for her to get a new job so bad. We Got Yall is the quintessential office where you, as the only black person, has to spend the entire workday doing your job and doing the job of not losing your mind from the constant microaggressions and tokenization. And when she quits, I hope she makes Joanne cry crocodile Lorelei tears.

Check out HBO.com/insecure for more content around the show!

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This post is in partnership with HBO. As always, thoughts and opinions are my own.

When we left the ladies of Insecure, they were picking up the pieces of their lives and feelings. Issa, after getting the closure she needed from her last relationship with Lawrence, was at Daniel’s doorstep, looking for a couch to crash on as she figures out what’s next. Molly was opening her door as Dro was on the other side. What was to come for both of them? Season 3 is here so let’s find out!

Not You – Daniel is putting in WORK like he is getting paid for it to show the girl in his bed a good time. Meanwhile, Issa is on the couch doing her best not to hear the bed rocking and the glorious grunts coming from the bedroom. When their noise gets too much, she grabs her keys and goes out on her first trip as a Lyft driver. That ends terribly when the first person she picks up vomits in her car. Throw the whole night away!

The next morning, she is in the bathroom and things are so bad that she can’t even do her mirror rap. Why? Because being the hapless bachelor that he is, Daniel’s bathroom cabinet is missing the mirror. It’s also missing a lock cuz he opens the door right before she could even use the handheld mirror.

Doing Better – At work, things aren’t looking much brighter. Issa is stuck with the boring assignment of calling schools to see if they will have “We Got Y’all” back. Her former coworker, now boss, Frieda does the Becky thing of not wanting to rock the boat to help Issa, who is looking to be back in the field.

Molly’s been living her best life on an island vacation but she’s back in LA. Issa picks her up from the airport (cuz: real friends) and they go grab food to eat and catch up. Issa tells her girl that her roommate is banging anything that moves and says it doesn’t bother her. Yeah aight. Molly offers her the couch at her place but Issa declines because of an incident regarding a vase from 2005. Sometimes, you cannot room with your bestie, for the sake of everybody. Right then, Dro pops up on Molly’s phone but she sends it to voicemail. She says she is on her “know better, do better shit.” Ok, GROWTH! *Kelly voice*

Backing Out – At home, Daniel is tryna make some music when Issa walks in. He’s been drinking so she asks for some, and after some small talk, he goes in to kiss her. Our girl does the Matrix backbend out the way and says they shouldn’t do that because they “know better.” So why did she choose to crash at his place? Because his place is close to work, and she was just staying there as a friend. She does, however, want him to warn her when he has company, so she doesn’t have to be subjected to the soundtrack of their moans. Then she backs out, literally and figuratively.

Gray Space – Over at Molly’s, Dro is basically making his favorite snack. The next day, they wake up next to each other, cuddling and he talks about making them pancakes. They’re interrupted by a call from Candice, Dro’s wife. He actually SAYS he’s at Molly’s and hangs up. Yup, open relationship indeed but this doesn’t make Molly any more comfortable with this arrangement. She decides that they need to draw some lines and boundaries, because this “act like a couple” thing ain’t it. Either they just use each other for sex, or they use each other for friendship. No in-betweens and no gray areas. Her suggestion is that they just do the wham, bam, thank you sir thing with none of the cutesy and none of the calls. He begrudgingly agrees, and she kicks him outta bed. Booty Baes don’t hang around.

Heads Up – At work, Issa is calling schools to see if they’ll have “We Got Yall” back and the answer from everyone she calls is a resounding no. One principal tells her their logo is racist and another tells her that the org is white AF and they’re not here for that. She takes the feedback and tells her white lady boss Joanne. MANNN LISTEN. She goes IN on Issa and says SHE is the problem, lighting into her with such disdain that it shocks Frieda, who is sitting there (but says nothing). Issa is stunned and she walks out the office to a text from Daniel that says “heads up” which is his new speak for, “My hoeshit is on for the day. Make yourself scarce.”

Molly is getting her feet done when Dro calls her to know how her salary negotiations went with the new law firm she’s going to be working with. Annoyed about him breaking the “no calls” rules, she says they accepted all her terms. He says he wants to take her out as just friends to celebrate this win and she begrudgingly accepts.

Party Car – Molly’s getting ready for her non-date (yeah ok) when Issa calls her and forces her to come along as she drives Lyft for the evening. She says she can only hang for a bit because she has somewhere to be. The besties dub their ride the “Party Car” and the first ride are two women going clubbing. That goes smoothly. The next ride is a cutie named Nathan, who tells them he is on their time! They are in no rush to drop him off either when Dro hits up Molly via text. She says she’s on her way to him but will be late.

They pick up another ride. A not so small dude, who squeezes in next to Nathan and is geeked to hear this is the “party car.” He takes 2 of Issa’s Capri Suns and then rolls a blunt. They told him to put it out and he calls them “bitches” which rubs Nathan the wrong way. He takes the blunt from Hugey Smalls’ mouth and throws it out the window. All hell breaks loose, as they begin to rumble in the back seat. Issa screams and pulls over. Nathan runs out and the not so small dude is “not good” according to Molly.

The Truth – Issa gets back to Daniel’s place and finds him on the couch. She appreciates how much he’s done for her, but she admits that she has feelings for him so all this sex he’s having while she’s in earshot got her feeling some type of way. He’s all confused because he thought she crashed at his place because she truly needed a place to stay, not to get closer to him. She turns the table and says he is purposefully being a slutbucket with other girls in front of her, and he does the equivalent of replying to a long heartfelt text with the letter “k.” He goes into his room and closes the door and I said a loud “ouch” for Issa’s ego.

Keys – At home, Molly walks in her living room and sees Dro sitting there. He let himself in since she didn’t answer her phone and my side-eye is instantly activated. The two start kissing and she stops to ask for her apartment key back. He asks where it’s coming from. DUDE WE AIN’T A COUPLE. WE HAVE SEX. YOU DON’T NEED A KEY. He gives it back after huffing and puffing and says he’s gonna go. She agrees that he should.

Issa is sitting on the couch when she sees Nathan (from the other night) gave her a $50 tip. He might be the best Lyft rider of all time. After beating up a fool who smoked without permission in her car, he then gives Issa a GIANT tip. I ship this.

Daniel sits on the couch but doesn’t say much. Shortly after, he gets up and tells her she got the place to herself for the night. That emphasis on “ROOMMATE” felt like shade, doe. Either to keep her at bay or to let her know they ain’t baes. At all. As he’s about to leave, she thanks him for everything. She picks up her keys and leaves too.

Listen. Bless Issa’s heart. Cuz she know damn well showing up at Daniel’s door was not a great decision. Yes, she needed a place to crash but pick one of your girls before the guy who you cheated on your ex with and couldn’t ever figure out anything with. At best, it is awkward to be a vagrant on his couch and at worst, it is a constant stab to your heart when you realize you wish you were the one moaning in his bed every night. I think she should take Molly up on that offer and go crash on her much better, much more spacious couch and in her doper apartment. Daniel’s place ain’t even got a mirror for her to do her “pump myself up” raps. For shame.

And Molly. She talmbout she’s trying to do better. Her doing better would be not messing with Dro AT ALL because she ain’t built for this “share my man on purpose” life. And that is okay but to thine own self be true. Know what you want and know your limits. Meanwhile, here’s what I need to know. How in the world is Dro all dumbfounded that Molly would want her key back? That whole exchange had me flabbergasted because he seems to think he is supposed to have a key to her apartment, when all they are is booty buddies. Bruh, you don’t pay rent here and we ain’t in a relationship. He shouldn’t have even asked why she wanted them back.

This just ain’t gon end well. There are no scenarios in which Molly isn’t going to get her heart broken by Dro and I want her to realize that sooner than later.

Issa and Molly. Y’all gotta do better for real.

Check out HBO.com/insecure for more content around the show!

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My peoples! Excited to bring you episode 9 of Rants and Randomness!

Become the Right Thing (with Glennon Doyle) - Episode 9 - SoundCloud
(3182 secs long, 1174 plays)Play in SoundCloud

On this episode, I’m feeling good about Stacey Abrams’ primary win for Governor in Georgia. I rant about giving a hard pass to voice-activated speakers like Google Home and Amazon Alexa and I show love to Jada Pinkett-Smith’s Facebook Watch show, Red Table Talk. Plus, I chat with bestselling writer, activist, and speaker Glennon Doyle about her journey and how white people can do better in the fight for social justice.

Feel Good

I am loving the fact that Stacey Abrams won the democratic primary for Georgia Governor with more than 75% of the votes. Stacey made history as the first Black woman to be a major party nominee for governor and Georgia’s first Black nominee. Stacey is #NoirPixieDust, as a former statehouse leader, small business owner and novelist. The final vote is on November 6, 2018, and I am hoping that the people of Georgia show up once again for her! Atlanta got a Black mayor now with Keisha Bottoms so let’s make it solid with a Black governor who cares about the people! So, shoutout to Stacey and congrats to her for making history!

My Rant

I don’t trust voice-activated speakers. I’m a techie and I have a whole lot of smart devices, but there’s something different about like a programmable thermostat to a voice-controlled speaker that is constantly on. Also like, one of the things that I’ve been reading is all of the different times when it’s all gone wrong. Like recently I read a piece on how an Alexa device sent the audio of a couple that owned it randomly to one of their contacts and how they found out is one of their contacts calls them and says, “Hey you might want to turn off your Alexa,” and they’re like, “Why?” He’s like, “Because I know you were talking about hardwood floors 20 minutes ago.” See, that’s not the way my privacy is set up. Apparently I can’t have nice things and I’m okay with that.

My Randomness

I’m here for Red Table Talk, the new Facebook Watch show from Jada Pinkett-Smith. This show is like Chicken Soup for the Soul: 2018 Edition and I’m loving it! It’s this multi-generational love fest between Jada, Adrienne Banfield-Jones (her mother), and Willow Smith (her daughter). They talk about some real stuff from body issues to blended families to friendship, and each episode is incredibly honest and raw. There’s this episode on loss where Jada talks about Tupac and my eyes were sweating for real! You will definitely laugh and cry watching this show so get ready to feel allahdah feels with this one.

My Guest: Glennon Doyle

My guest for episode 9 is my Together sister, Glennon Doyle! Some of you might remember that Glennon and I did the Together Tour last year and well, Glennon is bae! I don’t give many invites to the cookout but Glennon is my +1.

Glennon is the author of the #1 New York Times Bestseller LOVE WARRIOR, a 2016 Oprah’s Book Club selection, as well as the bestseller CARRY ON, WARRIOR. She is the founder and president of Together Rising, a nonprofit organization that has raised $9 Million for women, families, and children in crisis. An activist, speaker, and thought leader, Glennon was named among OWN Network’s SuperSoul100 inaugural group as one of 100 “awakened leaders who are using their voices and talent to elevate humanity.” 

In this interview, Glennon talks about how Alcoholics Anonymous allowed her to embrace brutal honesty in her life and career. Now she uses that brutal honesty to create radically inclusive online communities and fight for social justice.  Y’all, when I tell you Glennon had a GOOD word in this episode. She encourages her fellow white people to look inward and interrogate why they support MLK and the Freedom Riders but criticize Colin Kaepernick and Black Lives Matter. Yea, she went there. She also has some dope advice about taking inventory of your time because that’s how you show your love. Look, I told you she went there and left no edges behind. I mean…just take a look at her quote below about speaking to white people about race:

Are you getting what I’m saying yet? Glennon is not here for your fragility or misplaced feelings! She’s a real one and we go together! People are saying they listened to this episode multiple times because there were so many gems to take in. Do yourself a favor and (re)listen!

Follow her everywhere on the interwebs (@glennondoyle).

Much love to Chicago Recording Company, where I record each episode!

You can listen to episodes of Rants and Randomness on:

Make sure you’re subscribed and that you rate and review! Also, use the hashtag #RantsandRandomness on social media to discuss what you listen to and let me know what you think. See you on the next episode!

P.S. Rants and Randomness now has official Twitter and Instagram accounts! Follow them and post your thoughts, feedback and questions! Your posts might end up being mentioned in a future episode of the podcast.

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