How the 'Insecure' Cast Has Shown Up and Spoken Out About Black Lives Matter
By Liz Calvario
If there's one cast that has wholeheartedly shown up and spoken out about Black Lives Matter through protesting and raising awareness, it's the cast of Insecure. Amid the ongoing nationwide demonstrations against systemic racism and police brutality, the leads of the HBO series have used their platforms to inform and share how they're supporting the BLM movement and creating change.
After George Floyd's death, people took to the streets to demand justice for his fatal arrest. Kendrick Sampson, who portrays Nathan, along with those involved in his non-profit initiative, BLD PWR, has attended multiple protests. Sampson has been using social media to share video from the powerful protests he's helped organize Los Angeles, and has continued to get out there and fight for what's right after getting hit by rubber bullets fired by LAPD at a demonstration on May 30. Sampson's rep told ET he was beaten multiple times with batons and shot seven times with rubber bullets by LAPD while peacefully demonstrating.
While feelings of anger, frustration and devastation have swept the country, Sampson told ET that he still feels "hopeful" that things will change.
"I feel like right now, as heavy as it is, what I hear organizers, activists, and people involved in liberation work saying all over the United States is that their hope is in the fact that people are primed for an ideological shift," he shared. "People are fed up and these systems are exposed. And it is forcing people to expand their imagination as to what's possible."
Then there's Natasha Rothwell, known to Insecure fans as Kelli. Not only is Rothwell using her social media as a way to inform her followers of how to make a change, she's urging people to vote.
"The biggest thing that I'm excited about that I want folks to participate in is the election this year. I want folks to show up," Rothwell told ET. "I think it's going to be one of the more difficult elections for us, and in addition to that, making sure that their friends and family are registered by mail, because it's different. ... because of what's going on with [the] corona[virus]. Showing up to the polls might be a little more difficult or fraught with fear for people."
She added that she encourages people to fill out their census and register to vote.
And while the marches continue and more work needs to be done, the world is also dealing with the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. Many viewers look to Insecure as an escape and great storytelling to ease their minds.
"I'm so grateful that people view our show as an escape. The entire Insecure team works hard to make this show as authentic to the specificity of our stories as possible," Rae told ET. "It's been such an odd, discouraging and scary time to air, but viewers have shown us so much love and made this season in particular unforgettable for us all."
"We have a captive audience. It was really exciting to hear everyone sort of just fall back into their love of the show, because we missed them," Rothwell shared, with Ellis adding, "Honestly, the fans are amazing."
"I love being able to be a part of a show that has such strong engagement with fans, and we probably have the best fans out of anyone on television right now. Our fans shut down Twitter every Sunday night and it’s just so much fun," Hodge said.
And Insecure has been more than just an entertaining show to watch. It's also one that portrays black people "as we are," Sampson emphasized. Through his character, the series has also showcased mental health issues in the black community.
"It feels good to be people’s, kind of, release, especially for black [people] in terms of, like, a comedic relief and providing some people with some entertainment," he noted. "Some real conversations and some life experiences, and seeing us portrayed as we are."
"As a culture in this country, and even right now, as you can see, whenever there's a crisis, whenever something happens... especially right now, black folk are under attack. Their mental health is under attack," Sampson continued. "You can't be born in this country as a person of color, but especially as a black person, without generational trauma... Then things get layered on top of that, and it's hard to deal with those things and have the language because we are taught to hide those perceived weaknesses or vulnerabilities. ... I’m working on that really hard with my nonprofit, BLD PWR, what tools and systems are out there to help us work through these things. So, it's an incredible opportunity to be able to talk about something I'm really passionate about."
Fans will get to take in and enjoy one more episode of Insecure as season four comes to an end on Sunday. The show was already picked up for a fifth season, guaranteeing these beloved characters' stories will continue.
The season four finale of Insecure airs Sunday at 10 p.m. ET/PT on HBO.