Sunday night was filled with watch parties, buzzing group chats, and never-ending social media posts all in celebration of the beginning of the end to HBO's Insecure. From debates surrounding friendship and relationships to healthy discussions around therapy, postpartum, and office culture, Insecure explored it all, and in a way that felt authentic and incredibly familiar. And while I'm a lover of many different types of television shows, I can honestly say Insecure is just different, special.
And I think I speak for a lot of us when I say as excited as I was for it to come back, I'm just as sad for its approaching end. But, if the first episode of season five is any indication of what's to come, they're definitely going out with a bang. And by that, I mean an emotional bang. Because this first episode was a lot to digest. By the way, I'm about to drop a lot of spoilers so if you haven't watched, head to HBO Max and then come back. But, for those of you that are caught up, here are some of our takeaways from the season five premiere episode.
1.Looking back helps you move forward.
There was something so uniquely beautiful about the cast going back to Stanford (Issa Rae's actual alma mater) for their 10-year reunion. It showed them in a way we kind of always imagined, walking through campus, talking, laughing, and making the memories that formed the relationships we've seen throughout the show. I also have to believe it served as a really good reminder of the things the characters may have previously wanted out of life and how some of those things may have changed while others stayed the same.
For example in this episode, Issa Dee commented on how since Tiffany and Derrick's first date, everyone knew they were a match. And now, here the married couple was walking together happily on the same campus. On the other hand, there's Issa who, while in school, thought she'd become a lawyer and open a firm with Molly, yet there she was excitedly waiting to speak on a panel about being an entrepreneur.
Sometimes looking back allows you to remember the things you wanted, celebrate the things you have, and re-evaluate what's next.
2.It's OK to take meaningful risks.
Issa admitting that she’s unsure if she’s on the right path is real AF.— Shanelle Genai✨ (@shanellegenai) October 25, 2021
Like even with the best of planning, the reality is we’re all really just winging this shit.
Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn’t and we have to pivot. Whew.. #InsecureHBO
Pretty early in the episode, we learn that Issa has been flewed out, thanks to her alma mater, and is on a special panel to talk about her new company, BLOCC (Black Life Opportunity, Culture, and Connection). However, when she stutters over what the acronym stands for, it becomes apparent that she's still ironing out the kinks. Nevertheless, during the panel, she's asked many intimidating questions like, "What's the biggest lesson you learned on your journey?" and "When did you know you were on the right path?" And for a moment, we see Issa appear uncomfortable after making one of those awkward yet hilarious outbursts we've grown accustomed to hearing.
But, then she does something else, she shares a transparent truth, that's she's not sure that she's made the right decision and wonders if she's wasting her time. And while that response may not have been a hit with the panel audience, it resonates with Insecure's. Because, thanks to layoffs and toxic office cultures coupled with social media's need to appear like we have it all together, many Insecure viewers know all too well about having to change career paths. And there's something so freeing in embracing uncertainty and chasing true fulfillment.
3.Some bonds are forever.
As we know, Insecure always starts a lot of conversation. I mean, one of the best things about the episodes is the gender wars and Twitter threads that appear after they air. But, one pretty clear thing is that this show is full of passionate relationships. And I don't just mean romantically. Issa and Molly's friendship has been a highlight of the show, and when season five begins, we're not quite positive where they stand. I mean sure, they seem friendly, but they're supposed to be best friends.
Friendly isn't really a word I'd use to describe the chemistry between best friends, it's supposed to be much deeper and more comfortable, but the two are clearly putting forth an effort to fix it. However, when they're at gunpoint holding onto each other (thanks to that shady Cheyenne) and later belting out in laughter, it becomes apparent that they have a forever connection. That's how it is with some people. You can go a long time without talking or even suffer hurdles in the relationship, but you're still always going to care for them, and I think Issa and Molly are a really good example of that.
4.Friends can be your soulmates, too.
Kelli deserves all the validation because she actually is the best friend to all of them. #InsecureHBO— stacey.cash (@staceynicole__) October 25, 2021
One of the things I really liked about this episode is that we learned even more about Kelli. Because while she's one of my favorite characters, I don't know as much about her as I do the others. And when the girls are in the car before all hell breaks loose, Kelli irritably shares an authentic truth: she feels like everyone only sees her as the "funny friend." And while the rest of the characters laugh, Tiffany looks at her sympathetically.
To me, that moment spoke to their relationship. Because sometimes when it seems that everyone else doesn't understand you, the person who truly gets you, always will. And at the end of the show when Tiffany verbalizes that emotion to the group by saying "she's my soulmate, sorry Derrick," as she apologizes to her husband, it was just a beautiful reminder of the people in my life I'm thankful for. And that sometimes, friends can be soulmates too.
5.Trust your gut.
Whew, this one was hard to type. Because I'm one of the people that is rooting for Issa and Lawrence to find their way back to each other. Now, I know it's been quite messy and he has a whole side baby now, but they clearly love each other! Still, if there's one thing this life has taught me, it's to trust your gut, intuition, or vibe – whatever you want to call it –it's there for a reason. And when Issa was riding in the car with Lawrence during that final scene, it was obvious there was something major she needed to get off her chest. And whether the decision to end things is temporary or permanent, it's good to know she trusted herself.
Who knows what would've happened if she stayed when she truly wanted to leave? Maybe she would have cheated on him again, maybe she would have ruined their relationship altogether, or even formed a wedge between him and his child. Now, I know that may have gone too far, but my point is it reminded me to always trust myself, even if it's difficult or uncomfortable to do so. Because you never know what the repercussions may be. Still, I hope they find their way back to each other.
But maybe she can grab dinner with Daniel before that because I'd like to see him on-screen one more time. (smiles)
Featured image by Giphy
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Kirby Carroll grew up in VA but now calls Atlanta, GA home. She has a passion for creating content and helping brands grow through storytelling and public relations. When not immersed in work, you can find her sipping a mimosa at brunch or bingeing a new TV drama on Netflix. Keep up with her on social media at @askKirbyCarroll.
This post is in partnership with Amgen.
The seemingly simple task of taking a breath is something most of us don’t think twice about. But for people who live with severe asthma, breathing does not always come easily. Asthma, a chronic respiratory condition that inflames and narrows the airways in the lungs, affects millions of people worldwide – 5-10% of which live with severe asthma. Severe asthma is a chronic and lifelong condition that is unpredictable and can be difficult to manage. Though often invisible to the rest of the world, severe asthma is a not-so-silent companion for those who live with it, often interrupting schedules and impacting day-to-day life.
Among the many individuals who battle severe asthma, Black women face a unique set of challenges. It's not uncommon for us to go years without a proper diagnosis, and finding the right treatment often requires some trial and error. Thankfully, all hope is not lost for those who may be fighting to get their severe asthma under control. We spoke with Juanita Brown Ingram, Esq. and Jania Watson, two inspiring Black women who have been living with severe asthma and have found strength, resilience, and a sense of purpose in their journeys.
Juanita Brown Ingram, Esq.
Juanita Ingram has a resume that would make anyone’s jaw drop. On top of being recently crowned Mrs. Universe, she’s also an accomplished attorney, filmmaker, and philanthropist. From the outside, it seems there’s nothing this talented woman won’t try, and likely succeed at. In her everyday life, however, Juanita exercises a lot more caution. From a young age, Juanita has struggled with severe asthma. Her symptoms were always exacerbated by common illnesses like a cold or flu. “I've heard these stories of my breathing struggles, but I remember distinctly when I was younger not being able to breathe every time I got a virus,” says Ingram. “I remember missing a lot of school and crying a lot because asthma is painful. I [was taken] to see my doctor often if I got sick with anything so I was hypervigilant as a child, and I still am.”
Today, Juanita says her symptoms are best managed when she’s working closely with her care team, avoiding getting sick and staying ahead of any symptoms. Ingram said she’s been blessed with skilled doctors who are just as vigilant of her symptoms as she is. While competing in the Mrs. Universe competition, Juanita took extra care to stay clear of other competitors to ensure she didn’t catch a cold or virus that would trigger her severe asthma. “I would stand off to the side and sometimes that could be taken as ‘oh, she thinks she's better than everybody else.’ But if I get sick during a pageant, I'm done. I had to compete with that in mind because my sickness doesn't look like everybody else's sickness.”
Even when her symptoms are under control, living with severe asthma still presents challenges. Juanita relies on her strong support system to overcome the hurdles caused by a lack of understanding from the public, “I think that there's a lot of lack of awareness about how serious severe asthma is. I would [also] tell women to advocate and to trust their intuition and not to allow someone to dismiss what you're experiencing.”
Jania, a content creator from Atlanta, Georgia, has been living with severe asthma for many years. Thanks to early testing by asthma specialists, Jania was diagnosed with severe asthma as a child after experiencing frequent flare-ups and challenges in her day-to-day life. “I specifically remember, I was starting school, and we were moving into a new house. One of the triggers for me and my younger sister at the time were certain types of carpets. We had just moved into this new house and within weeks of us being there, my parents literally had to pay for all new carpet in the house.”
As Jania grew older, she was suffering from fewer flare-ups and thought her asthma was well under control. However, a trip back to her doctor during high school revealed that her severe asthma was affecting her more than she realized. “That was the first time in a long time I had to do a breathing test,” she describes. “The doctor had me take a deep breath in and blow into a machine to test my breathing. They told me to blow as hard as I could. And I was doing it. I was giving everything I got. [My dad and the doctor] were looking at me like ‘girl, stop playing.’ And at that point [it confirmed] I still have severe asthma because I've given it all I got. It doesn't really go away, but I just learned how to help manage it better.”
Jania recognizes that people who aren’t living with asthma, may not understand the disease and mistake it for something less serious. Or there could be others who think their symptoms are minor, and not worth bringing up. So, for Jania, communicating with others about her diagnosis is key. “Having severe asthma [flare-ups] in some cases looks very similar to being out of shape,” she said. “But this is a chronic illness that I was born with. This is just something that I live with that I've been dealing with. And I think it's important for people to know because that determines the next steps. [They might ask] ‘Do you need a bottle of water, or do you need an inhaler? Do you need to take a break, or do we need to take you to the hospital?’ So, I think letting the people around you know what's going on, just in case anything were to happen plays a lot into it as well.”
Like Juanita, Jania’s journey has been marked by ups and downs, but she remains an unwavering advocate for asthma awareness and support within the Black community. She hopes that her story can be an inspiration to other women with asthma who may not yet have their symptoms under control. “There's still life to be lived outside of having severe asthma. It is always going to be there, but it's not meant to stop you from living your life. That’s why learning how to manage it and also having that support system around you, is so important.”
By sharing their journeys, Juanita and Jania hope to encourage others to embrace their conditions, obtain a proper management plan from a doctor or asthma specialist like a pulmonologist or allergist, and contribute to the improvement of asthma awareness and support, not only within the Black community, but for all individuals living with severe asthma.
Read more stories from others like Juanita and Jania on Amgen.com, or visit Uncontrolled Asthma In Black Women | BREAK THE CYCLE to find support and resources.
In a time where the term “relationship goal” has seemed to have lost its spark, there’s one couple that we continue to root for whether they’re together or apart and that’s Ryan Destiny and Keith Powers.
Powers, 30, and Destiny, 27, first met in 2015 while attending a Teen Vogue party in 2015 but it wasn’t until 2019 that confirmation of their relationship surfaced in the digital cover of WeTheUrban digital cover in July of the same year.
While there was an immediate attraction, the now-exes said sparks really flew once they connected over Instagram. "For a minute we tried to hide it for numerous reasons, but as human beings sometimes you want to just shout to the world 'I love this person and I'm happy!'” Destiny expressed in the interview. "We try to find a balance. I'm already a private person and very career driven so reminding people that I am my own person is important."
With “are they, aren’t they” rumors swirling about the two’s aspirational relationship, it is clear that they both hold their privacy in high regard, while not keeping their love for each other a secret.
During the same interview, Powers shared how maintaining happiness in a relationship involves keeping aspects of one's life private. Especially considering the challenges of having a public relationship while navigating external perceptions that can lead to misinformation.
"The more you keep private the happier you'll be,” he shared. “It's not easy being in a public relationship, so you try to keep as much as you can private. Control your own narrative, don't give people too much because they make up stuff from the outside looking in."
In 2022, PEOPLE reported that the starlet couple had separated after a four-year relationship. And while a source confirmed that the two were, “taking time to focus on themselves and their emerging careers but are remaining close friends,” the LA-based actors have continued to be spotted together on red carpets, social functions, and public outings.
Although it hasn’t been confirmed whether the two are officially together again, us girls can dream, right? Let’s take a scroll through their relationship timeline together.
2015 — Ryan Destiny and Keith Powers Meet
Destiny and Powers met in 2015 at a Teen Vogue party. From there, the two grew as friends and Powers quickly knew there was something special between them. "I realized I was in love when I knew my life would be extremely affected in a negative way if Ryan wasn't in it," he detailed for the digital cover of WeTheUrban in 2019. "I also felt myself growing as a person when Ryan came into my life, especially mentally. And I realized that I'm ready to deal with anything I have to deal with alongside Ryan. Once I felt that, I knew."
2017 — Ryan Destiny and Keith Powers Attend LudaDay Weekend Topgolf Takeover
(L-R) Keith Powers, Ryan Destiny, Algee Smith, Luke James and Woody McClain.
Paras Griffin/Getty Images
Alongside Powers' New Edition castmates at the time, Powers and Destiny showed support at the LudaDay Weekend Topgolf Takeover in Midtown Atlanta.
2019 — Ryan Destiny and Keith Powers Confirm Relationship
Bennett Raglin/Getty Images for BET
Keith Powers and Ryan Destiny made their red carpet debut as a couple in 2018 at the BET Awards. In doing so, they also seemingly confirmed their romantic relationship.
2019 — Ryan Destiny and Keith Powers Go Public With Their Relationship
It’s safe to say that the couple has embraced privacy over the years, but in 2019, the two began to appear as a package deal in magazine shoots and advertising campaigns together.
The couple starred in a sultry Calvin Klein campaign, dished the details of the relationship to WeTheUrban, and even appeared on-screen in Big Sean’s "Single Again” which highlighted the ramifications of being in a public breakup.
January 2022 — Ryan Destiny and Keith Powers Spilt
After four years of dating, Powers and Destiny end their relationship, but still “remain friends.”
August 2022 — Ryan Destiny and Keith Powers Spend Time With His Family
If spotting the former couple here and there together shortly after their public split didn't create speculation of a possible rekindling, fans seeing the two together with his family for his birthday put romance rumors into overdrive.
October 2022 — Ryan Destiny and Keith Powers Spotted Together All Smiles
Destiny and Powers were photographed together and shared in a mutual friend's Instagram Story.
March 2023 — Ryan Destiny and Keith Powers’ First Public Outing Since Breakup
Ryan Destiny and Keith Powers posing together at the 2023 ESSENCE Black Women In Hollywood Awards.
Arnold Turner/Getty Images for ESSENCE
The actors were spotted together while attending the Essence Black Women In Hollywood Awards.
April 2023 — Ryan Destiny and Keith Powers Pose At Coachella
In April, the two were seen at the Revolve Festival during this year’s Coachella Festival at the Empire Polo Club in Indio, California.
June 2023 — Ryan Destiny and Keith Powers At “The Perfect Find” Premiere
(L-R) Ryan Destiny and Keith Powers attend 'The Perfect Find' world premiere.
Noam Galai/Getty Images for Netflix
Powers owned his leading role alongside Gabrielle Union in the Netflix rom-com, The Perfect Find. And in June, Destiny was his red carpet date at the movie’s premiere during the 2023 Tribeca Film Festival.
August 2023 — Ryan Destiny and Keith Powers Show Support
Jerritt Clark/Getty Images for FWRD
Destiny and Powers were dressed to the nines at the Hall Of Fame Induction Celebration for Dwyane Wade hosted by FWRD at Chateau Marmont's Bar in Hollywood.
August 2023 — Ryan Destiny and Keith Powers Take a Getaway
In an August Instagram posting, Destiny and Powers shared nearly identical selfies and photos showcasing that they both took a cruise with Virgin Voyages across the Adriatic Sea around the actor's birthday. Coincidence? One user commented on Powers' post, "You and my girl Ry Ry think y’all slick! I love it tho."
August 2023 — Ryan Destiny and Keith Powers Dance The Night Away
October 2023 — Ryan Destiny and Keith Powers Celebrate Halloween
Destiny and Powers got in on the Halloween fun and hit the town in coordinating hamburger and hot dog costumes at a party in LA.
December 2023 — Ryan Destiny and Keith Powers On a Dinner Date
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Featured image by Jerritt Clark/Getty Images for FWRD