Black Art As High Art

Black Art As High Art: A Closer Look At Black Entertainment

I just want to be ratchet

Insecure is a television program that I've always been in love with, but I never realized why until now. The show is thoughtful the visuals, the storylines, the characters are all meticulously crafted to create a cohesive and believable story. However, it's kind of ironic that I only realized my love in a tiny of throwaway moments, but perhaps this is important to understanding the story that the Insecure writers are trying to craft.

In this week's installment (spoiler warning if you haven't seen it, also what are you doing with your life if you haven't seen it?) Issa has sort of a breakthrough with her job and subsequently with Daniel; they both have been tiptoeing around the whole living situation and all the insecurities they were both facing come to a head. This is all well and good for an Insecure episode, an app amount of tension boiling under the surface and an ample material for countless mirror dream sequences. However, my point of interest for this episode comes from a scene between Daniel and his niece.

Daniel's Niece, Jada who is portraited by Nia Chanel makes a comment that Daniel's music. Jada says something along the lines of "your music is great, but sometimes I just want to be ratchet." This minor hint of her point of view speaks volumes about Black youth. In a world where children are being killed for playing with toy guns, this assertion is revolutionary. Insecure as an entire program is revolutionary because it grasps for humanity for people of color. This is achieved by the depiction of all the characters in the show as people rather than stereotypical caricatures. Daniel, for example, was the narrative center of this episode and we see a deeper side to his character rather than the usual BDE he exerts then smoothly exits to stage left with.

Insecure's restructuring of the perception of blackness coincides with a surge in black culture that does just that. Shows such as Random Acts of Flyness, Queen Sugar, The Chi, Atlanta, etc. All reimagine the commonly accepted narratives for black characters into new and inventive terrains. The Carter Family created an entire album about celebrating their blackness and aggressively claiming black art as high art, a point of view not widely accepted. If this is a new wave of entertainment then, I am excited to see what burgeoning stories lye on the horizon.

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