With a full season of HBO’s Insecure under our belt and having just started our journey into season 2, I think it’s time for us to take a deeper look at some of the players in this modern-day love story. Obviously, Issa (Issa Rae) is a refreshing glass of Black girl magic. Her best friend Molly (Yvonne Orji) is the imperfect ride-or-die we all need. Lawrence (Jay Ellis) is cute and charming, despite being a prime example of the fragile male ego. But it’s time for some of the other characters that have returned for the sophomore season to get the respect they deserve. One of those people is Lawrence’s new fling Tasha (Dominique Perry), who is, in my opinion, one of the show's unsung heroes.
Tasha is Insecure’s diamond in the rough. From the beginning, she was painted as less polished and refined than Issa and her group of friends. In season 1, Tasha's signature look was whatever showed the most cleavage, and she spoke with a twang that Issa’s friend Tiffany (Amanda Seales) would absolutely call “ratchet.” Having eyes for Lawrence while he was still dating Issa classified Tasha as (another) threat their happiness. It was difficult to root for her, and the possessive lovers of the internet had already written her off as a conniving side chick. But I love an underdog, and I did it anyway.
I’m not here to pit Issa and Tasha against each other, but there is definitely something to be said about Tasha’s confidence and practicality in the midst of Issa’s awkward silences and missed opportunities for meaningful dialogue. Undeterred by the rules of gendered scripts set before her, Tasha put her flirty foot forward with Lawrence and became one of the spokeswomen for #ShootYourShot2k16. Issa would have planned some roundabout way to get Lawrence’s attention that would have utterly failed. Make no mistake about it: Tasha got Lawrence’s attention. And when Lawrence let it be known that he had a girlfriend, Tasha took it in stride. She was disappointed, but not offended. She respectfully fell back. As we know, it certainly paid off for her in the end.
I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t a little worried that in season 2, the Insecure writers were going to play up Tasha’s around-the-way-girl-ness and her willingness to go after the guy she likes to make her seem… well, basic. But she’s back this season with even more layers, and I feel pretty confident in my assessment that she’s actually the best character on the show. On her date with Lawrence, Tasha talks about her own minor issues with colleagues and family members. She also asks Lawrence questions about his apartment search, and what’s keeping him from moving into his own space. She isn’t being pushy or asking for her own self-interests, she’s just trying to understand the person who crashes at her place every weekend.
The vitriol for Tasha is strong on Twitter. She’s a hoe. She comes on too strong (an incorrect assessment if there ever was one). She isn’t worthy of a real date. She isn’t Issa. That these opinions are so strong, despite the fact that she hasn’t actually misstepped in any way — she’s a single woman dating a man who is also single, which is no fault of hers — is telling. It reveals just how many people still subscribe to the idea that women are inherently in competition with other women over the attention of men.
So many viewers identify with Issa. They identify with her connection to Lawrence and the issues that tore them apart. They want the two of them to get back together. Tasha represents an uncontrollable third variable that stands in the way. She is the obstacle that needs to be overcome. But sometimes the person you love can like someone else. It’s life. It’s easy to shade the third party, but it’s misguided and unproductive.
For what it’s worth, I also want Lawrence and Tasha to end. He’s still figuring out how he feels about Issa, and Tasha is going to get caught in the crossfire. Even if she is too “hood” or too forward, she doesn’t deserve to be strung along by Lawrence while he tries to get over his ex. I just hope that when the proverbial shit hits the fan, she puts that practicality to use and blocks him.