Insecure season three premieres tonight on HBO.
It's the show that black millennials have been waiting for all summer. A show that speaks to us through the experiences of its characters, which are oh so relatable in your 20-somethings. And this summer, I had the chance to visit the set and witness the hard work that goes into creating an episode.
With the show being created and led by Issa Rae, a black woman, it was refreshing to see the majority of faces on set, from production to camera crew, were women and primarily women of color.
Kicking the day off in the wardrobe department, I had an opportunity to chat with Shiona Turini, a young black woman who heads up costume design this season. Turini has an editorial background, and this season was her first time working in television. We visited her fashion trailer in the Crenshaw Mall parking lot in Baldwin Hills, LA.
"Every night, we kind of reload the truck with everything that we're going to shoot for the next scene, for the next day, future scenes, whatever we have ready," Turini said, while giving us a preview into this season's wardrobe. "The top is all the lead characters. We decide and then send it to the producers and directors for their feedback or approval. We shop almost every single day."
As a black woman dressing black women, Turini recognizes the added value she brings to the show and uses it as an opportunity to support black designers.
"When it comes to the fashion aspect of race, it's super important to support black designers and support black retailers. There was a conversation that my assistant and I had one day about a high-end designer t-shirt that we wanted to use. Instead of using that designer, we realized we could find an indie black designer who did this before they did it, and also in a better way."
Next, we headed on a tour of Inglewood to visit different set locations. We visited the official location for "We Got Y'all," the nonprofit organization that Issa works for. The office is an actual youth center in Baldwin Hills and the wegotyall.org website remains on the window year-round.
We also visited the apartment complex where it all began – "The Dunes" – in Inglewood, CA. The apartment that served as a memory of the relationship between Issa and Lawrence, and that sparked the creation of the #LawrenceHive. When fans recently discovered that Lawrence, played by Jay Ellis would not be returning this season, many were disappointed.
While Lawrence will not be returning, Rae confirmed during our set visit that new love interests will be introduced. "We closed a lot of doors this season. In the writer's room, it felt like we were starting over in the stories we wanted to tell, which was fun, but also challenging," adding that this season will focus more on its lead women characters.
"This season is really about adulting in a way. I think the first two seasons, we showed them living life and making lots of mistakes. And they're in their 20's and in someways forgiven, but after a certain point, you get to the point where you know better now."
During our conversation with Rae, we had the chance to watch a live taping for one of her scenes. It was inspiring to watch the many women leading the room. The director of the episode and the writers behind the camera were all women. When asked the reason she employs and empowers people of color, Rae simply said:
"It's where I'm most comfortable. I feel like it's right. It comes from a place of love. It comes from a genuine desire to see us succeed. It comes from loving my people. It comes from all of that. It's just also time."
After our conversation with Rae, we ended our visit with a discussion with Yvonne Orji and Natasha Rothwell who play Molly and Kelli on the show. Orji was rocking a fly custom Adidas track suit that we saw in the wardrobe trailer earlier that day.
"This season we're going to see how people live in the decisions they make and what the ramifications of those decisions could be," said Orji, "There's fantasy and reality. Our show does a good job of living in the reality of whatever you think the fantasy was."
For all our Insecure fans, Orji would not confirm whether or not we'll see Molly and Dro's relationship evolve this season. However, Rae did confirm earlier in the day that Dro is in fact in an open relationship.
"He did say that it (the open marriage) was Candice's idea. I think there's certainly a grey area, but there are rules," she continued, "We're going to learn what their rules are. I think it's just muddy all around."
Whether it's Molly and Dro's relationship, or Issa and Lawrence, everyone seems to have strong opinions about the characters on the show. Rothwell, who serves as an actress and writer on the show attributes this connection to the characters' themselves and their imperfections.
"I think what I find most interesting about the show is that it's a show where black women are allowed to make mistakes. It's not all about perfection and being black girl magic personified. Molly makes mistakes. All of our characters make mistakes. That's the real beauty of the show," she stated.
The reality is we are all living and making mistakes, and learning from them. Rae echoed Rothwell's sentiment, adding that while it's important to be aware of the sexual representation of her characters, she has to make sure that it's a real depiction.
"I am protective of the sexuality, but I also strive to be honest. I'm protective in the sense that we haven't had two dark skin female leads on television in this way before. I'm very mindful of how we're representing that. But I'm also mindful that these are based off of me and real people and sometimes I take those experiences. I can't shy away from that just because I'm trying to put our best foot forward."
Insecure is a safe haven for black women. It's a show that depicts real-life situations that we experience. It allows for self-reflection. It allows for us to be unapologetically black.
We look forward to seeing where this season takes us. Tune into the premiere of season three of Insecure on HBO tonight at 10:30 PM EST. Visit our IG story to see behind the scenes from our set visit. Feel free to live-tweet with us!