Today, most people can identify Amanda Seales as Issa’s (Issa Rae) bougie friend Tiffany on Insecure. This season, her character pulled at the heartstrings of women everywhere who feel like they’ve lost their best friend to the reality of marriage and motherhood. But Seales has also been keeping busy outside of her role on the hit show. Over the summer, she embarked on a national tour of her live game show, Smart Funny & Black, which uses humor to celebrate the strides Black people have made in history and pop culture. On Friday, HBO announced that the comedian will taping a one-hour comedy special called I Be Knowin’ for the network, set to debut some time next year.
Seales is not new to this; she’s true to this. A quick look at her resume might hold some clues about what to expect when she hits our screens in 2019.
Out of all of Issa’s friends on Insecure, Seales’ face was the only one that was familiar to me when the show premiered. She has been part of the Black pop culture landscape in different capacities since I was a kid. During the ‘90s she had a recurring role on the Nickelodeon sitcom My Brother and Me as the wry best friend of the main character's older sister. She was one of the few representations of Black girlhood in the children's TV space at the time. Her other on-screen gigs included an appearance on Russell Simmon’s Def Poetry Jam, where she read an original poem about wannabe rappers, and as a VJ on MTV2’s Sucker Free Countdown which exclusively played hip-hop videos.
Seales proved herself just as competent behind a mic and turntables as well. Not only has she stepped into the role of DJ, she shocked the neo-soul fandom when she replaced one of the members of duo Floetry in 2007. She’s released several solo EPs with her own music, and like a true media-minded millennial, she hosts a podcast called Small Doses.
You’ve probably noticed a trend in the kinds of projects Seales chooses to attach herself to: Those that are immersed in hip-hop or the Black experience. This isn’t a mistake. She received her master’s in African-American Studies with a concentration in hip-hop from Columbia University. In real life, Seales has used her career to marry entertainment and social justice. It is evident in the mission of Smart Funny & Black, and similar commentary will likely dominate I Be Knowin’ when it hits HBO. I don’t know about you, but I’ll be setting my DVR as soon as the premiere date is released.