Film / TV

stop making tasha a victim and projecting your fears and trauma onto her

August 3, 2017
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*Insecure spoilers, y’all*

Let me preface this by saying that as a non-woman and non-straight person, my perspective is shaded by my experiences in ways that illuminate new (and hopefully freeing) possibilities per my queerness, but that also obscure certain realities that are specific to Black women.

Having said that, y’all need to really stop projecting onto Tasha (Dominique Perry).

I’ll admit, I had no idea the Insecure character was so controversial until this week. After watching and re-watching each episode in order to write my weekly reviews over at Paste Magazine, I thought it was self-evident that Tasha was one of the few characters on the show who had yet to show their complete ass (well… she showed that and more a few times, but still!).

Little did I know, Tasha was scheming to take Issa’s man.

Tasha is desperate and thirsty.

There’s a whole-ass psychological syndrome just to describe how fucked up Tasha is for sticking around Lawrence (Jay Ellis) when he doesn’t seem to want to commit.

This despite the fact that Tasha did not know Lawrence was in a relationship until Season One episode five, and isn’t seen with him again until the season finale, when he is single. This despite the fact that even if she did know he was in a relationship (again, she did not), not all relationships are monogamous–which is perfectly fine–and it’s really not up to her to assume otherwise. This despite the fact that Tasha is a grown-ass, single-ass woman who could certainly be mature enough to recognize that Lawrence is also a grown-ass, single-ass man (in this season), and, whether she wants things to move forward with him or not, she might just be chillin’ for the moment because all relationships don’t have to jump straight into monogamy the moment you like someone.

Folks have taken it upon themselves to write story-lines for Tasha that she did not write for herself, and it is indicative of the way we overlook the individual realities of queer folks, Black women, and poor Black people in general.

First and foremost, Tasha never schemed to take Lawrence from Issa, but, as Ashley Stoney writes, “classism may be clouding our judgement” of her in this instance. Tasha is a bodacious, round-the-way, brown-skinned Black girl who speaks “in emojis,” shows off her curves and goes after what she wants. In this anti-Black society, we are conditioned to believe that there is always something sinister and overly-sexual about a girl like that. We mis-remember her dealings with Lawrence as malevolent because it is hard to think of a sexual Black woman of the socio-economic class she represents as innocent, especially when it comes to their dealings with men.

Similarly, it is difficult to consider a person like her having an agency unto herself, an agency she might utilize in ways that aren’t the heteronormative standard.

Granted, there are moments when it seems like Tasha is insinuating she wants something more with Lawrence, like when she invites him to meet her family. But there are just as many moments where she consents to what they have. As LaSha of Kinfolk Kollective argues, maybe Tasha just likes “fucking and chilling with that nigga. Ain’t y’all always preaching about how women don’t always want more(…)?”

Instead of considering that Tasha might be fully aware and okay with sleeping with another adult person who doesn’t want to commit to her, we pathologize her so much so that she becomes a “syndrome.” There’s no way a beautiful woman could be okay with not being monogamous with someone she likes, so she must be deranged. In our minds, there is only one possibility for what a relationship should look like (monogamy), and anyone who doesn’t fight tooth and nail to get to that place with a partner is either thirsty or abused.

This is not to say that Lawrence doesn’t need to get his shit together, or that there there is no possibility that Tasha could be a victim here. It is to say that by disallowing other possibilities even while knowing so little, we limit who and what Tasha could be based on a heteronormative standard that was not created with poor Black women in mind.

More importantly, she might be too busy with night school and her day job to lose her mind over a nigga who doesn’t want to commit to her. There are things more important in life than relationships, and sometimes, even if having more would be the icing, dick is the cake you stick around for knowing you ain’t getting nothing else.

The thing I love most about Insecure is that none of the characters are perfect. Every character has made mistakes–sometimes huge ones–that would make it easy to dismiss them out of context. What Insecure asks us to do is to hold onto that context. Issa isn’t just a cheater. Molly isn’t just homophobic. Lawrence isn’t just a lazy-ass nigga. There are stories beyond the easy ones here, but so often, especially with the #TeamIssa and #TeamLawrence dichotomy, we slide into simplicity and miss the richness deep down.

If Tasha is an ice-berg–and, believe it or not, Black people can be deep–underneath the surface could be a girl who’s not really here for y’all’s heteronormativity. Or she could be the victim we make her out to be. The thing is, we don’t really know, and there is beauty in that. There is beauty in letting niggas be different than what you expect them to be, letting them stray from the scripts society has written for them. Beauty in Black people doing life a little differently, on their terms.

I say we give Tasha the chance to figure out what her terms are.

Follow @HariZiyad on Twitter for their weekly Insecure recaps