Issa Rae

Little

Little is a brilliant movie about a journey back to youth and the lessons that come with it!

It was beautifully executed by Regina Hall who plays the adult version of Jordan Sanders. This version of Jordan was over the top & always angry. She always got her way no matter who she had to yell at, step on, or step over!

Marsai Martin played the ‘Little’ Jordan Sanders who was a smart and kind of dorky kid destined to show everyone her greatness. When that went horribly wrong during a Windsor Middle School talent show, however, she vowed to always be a step ahead by being the bully and not the bullied.

Insert Issa Rae who killed the role of April, ‘Big’ Jordan’s assistant and, later, her first friend! I am completely convinced that a lot of the lines given by April’s character were completely Issa’s because of how hilarious they were and because of her Issa-esque delivery. She was definitely a highlight to this film.

THE PLOT

This is the story of an adult Jordan Sanders — the self-made mogul and business owner who is afraid of commitment in the form of friendships and relationships. Her no nonsense attitude, however, becomes her demise when she encounters a young practicing magician who simply wishes that she were ‘Little‘.

The next thing she knows, Jordan Sanders wakes up in the body of her awkward and quirky younger self. The journey then begins! Jordan literally just wants to make it through the day and become ‘Big’ again.

Tragedy strikes when she runs into her nosey neighbor who immediately calls child protective services which results in Jordan having to go back to where it all begin, Windsor Middle School.

That’s White People Stuff Because Black People Don’t Have The Time.
— April
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SHOCKERS

The unexpected gems of this movie would have to be:

  1. Tracee Ellis Ross as the voice of Homegirl, because, QUEEN!

  2. Every line that Issa Rae had. Really…

  3. The cute sing-a-long to Mary J. Blige’s ‘I’m Goin’ Down’, twas’ very unexpected.

  4. The beautiful voice of JD McCrary. Now, I’d never heard of him prior to this movie but OMG he is voicing young Simba in the live action Lion King movie! So, he’s definitely someone that you should put and keep on your radar.

  5. The very cute bond between Issa Rae and Marsai Martin that showed itself throughout the film. I love the little-sister, big-sister vibe that they have.

What In The Black Jesus...
— April

BUT, CAN WE GET INTO THE WARDROBE?

My favorite outfit of the movie has to be the one worn by Issa Rae in the first picture of this gallery — she has on a blouse with tan, orange and red accents and a neck tie & capri trousers with a red and white side seam. She paired this with Chuck Taylors which, shockingly, worked!


I honestly think that this whole movie was a treat. It was funny for both young and older audiences, it was refreshing and up to date. And, it was different!

Definitely a good time at the theaters!

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BUT,…

I cannot end this post without giving roses to the youngest executive producer ever, Marsai Martin. What an accomplishment! And, what Black Excellence you are!

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I mean, at this point, you might as well go get your tickets because it’s certainly worth seeing. I haven’t mentioned all of the surprises, so go and see what they are for yourself or you’ll be mad that you missed it!

XXXIX: Why Aren't You Watching Insecure?

I obsess over good shows and good food. You will mostly catch me watching re-runs of The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air, Girlfriends, Living Single, Boy Meets World, or Martin, but I've added HBO's Insecure by the magnificent Issa Rae to the list of brilliant television reruns that I frequent. In honor of this creative genius, and, of the miraculous return of her show, I felt it necessary to do a slight recap of the former seasons and give you a taste of what's to come and my predictions for the new season.


Season one

In season one, we are introduced to the wonderful, and awkward, world of Issa Rae. 

We start out at her job where the kids are hounding her about her personal life instead of getting the help that We Got Y'all offers. She works for a non-profit organization that is supposed to help out within the "at risk" communities and provide resources that will help them get through school and beyond, but she finds herself struggling to say anything that will actually keep their attention. 

Issa has been in a five year long relationship with Lawrence who is played by Jay Ellis. He has, however, found himself on the lower end of the motivated totem pole as far as employment options are concerned, so their relationship seems to be taking the blunt of that blow. Issa struggles with deciding to break up with him and just not coming home each day, but her best friend, Molly (Yvonne Orji) does her best to convince her that this dating game is not as much fun as you think it is.

Molly is a successful Black woman that can connect and mingle with just about anyone. Her only problem is that she wants a man but can't find one that checks off all of her boxes. In this season, we watch Molly go from dating randoms, to dating apps, to Enterprise guys and back to no one at all. 

Daniel (Y'lan Noel) is a character who we get to know fairly well. He is an old friend of Issa's who comes in and shakes things up a bit!

Season one introduces themes like: relationships, dating, race, gentrification, youth outreach and engagement, and so much more!

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Season two

This season, we see Issa try to navigate and even conquer singledom all while attempting to make a good impression on her boss at work, check up on her ex regularly, and maintain her friendships with her friends Daniel, Molly, Tiffany and Kelli. 

Although she still turns out to be just the same wreck that she's been, it is a thrill to watch her attempt to change her life's pace. She begins to explore dating apps and even neighborhood relations. All of this occurs between lies to herself regarding her love for her ex Lawrence and attempts to check up on him throughout the season. Eventually, they get the closure that they've longed for and they come to terms with the fact that their relationship is over and apologize for all that they've done wrong to each other.

Molly starts out doing much better in the dating world. She is less pressed about dating and more pressed about working hard to getting a promotion. Her focus is shifted when she runs into an old friend and begins a whirlwind of a relationship with him -- one that she struggles to deal with and find a way out of. 

This season tackles wage differences/gaps, discrimination, dating, marriage, friendships, and much more all while focusing more on Issa and Molly's work lives and the stressors that they face while there. 


Season three

We are one episode in and I have so many questions!

Last season, we left off with Issa deciding that living with her brother simply was not going to work out, so she showed up on the front door of her ex-Achille's [crotch], Daniel. Issa and Lawrence finally got the closure that they so desperately needed and we have seemingly seen the last of him. Molly was finally taking the "should" out of her life and finding out what could actually be and Daniel was being the good friend to Issa that he's always been, despite their rollercoaster of a friendship. 

What we left unanswered, however, was who's shoes were those at Molly's place when she answered that phone call because I completely thought that they were Quentin's, but all we got this episode was some rando on an island and Dro! We see Molly trying to act like she's not pressed over her situation with Dro, but clearly she is, so I imagine we will watch another season of her getting her feelings hurt. 

Another unanswered question was, WHERE WAS TIFFANY DURING THE DUE NORTH FINALE? Her husband surely thought that she was at Issa's house, but she wasn't. It's clear that there is a secret between Tiffany and Kelli that Issa and Molly are not privy to just yet, so I am waiting for this to unfold. 

Daniel, there's so much that you're not saying! But, oh so much that you are doing. Daniel is doing the most this season and showing a low level of "care" for Issa's thoughts and feelings on it. I predict that he will come out eventually and say what he's feeling.

Issa's job has taken all of it's trust and placed in a jar that Issa gets to stare at from her desk because she's surely not out in the field after last seasons mistakes. Although her intentions are usually good, things just aren't curling over for her at work and she is stressed about it! I predict that she will erupt soon and I definitely think that it will be on her boss. Yes, the same boss, who seemed to be on her side in the first season but not so much now. It seems like the pro-Black narrative that her boss works hard to push may just be all for show... hmm. 

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My predictions!

1. We Got Y'all - there's a hurricane coming and it is a category 4 hurricane named Issa. I predict that she's nearing the end of her rope with this job and not only will she start searching for a new one, she may even go off on her boss (who deserves it).

2. Molly - you're fighting a losing battle and Dro kind of pointed to that when he told you not to speak on him and his wife. Molly slow it down, you will not win and this seems like a game you're not fit to play anyway (which is a good thing). 

3. Daniel - you have feelings for Issa, but you're tired of her games. I get it but you're on the road to ruining the friendship that you both have also! Slow down buddy. Be the friend that you've always been to the woman who loves you. 

4.Tiffany, Derek and Kelli - I need information on Tiffany and Derek. How is the pregancy going? Is the baby even Derek's since y'all have tried but weren't able? What really happened when Derek got kicked out for a while "last year"? And who did Tiffany actually watch the Due North finale with? 

V: Why Self Check As You Go?

As I feel myself sinking more and more into the depths of the “sunken place” (sans the tea cup, Get Out reference), I find it necessary to stop, breathe, and initiate extreme Self-Check. 

The sunken place is that overly dramatic dark abyss that we see in cartoons. It is made out to be something like a void where you are sitting in the pit of this darkness with no visible way out. This place is what results when our circumstances all seem to be stacked against us. We may feel alone, like no one else can relate, and like we have no options other than to just deal with it.  However, when something horrible presents itself to us, we are faced with a choice. We can be Issa Rae about it and decide that it can't have our joy, or we can be Tyrese about it and let it consume and destroy us (i.e., the sunken place). 

As a third year evening law student, I am faced with the choice of succumbing to the extreme exhaustion, the feelings of being stuck in this place with what seems like no room for advancement, the stress of working full-time in a high-demand job, the worry about not having much of a social life, and everything that comes with watching everyone else live through that big glass window called social media. 

Yes, all of the sacrificed time, friendships and relationships will eventually pay off. People have been telling me that for years, but as I sit here and wait for said payment, I struggle with wanting to just walk away from it all. These are the times that I have to kick the Self-Check into high gear. 

Self-Check is simple. Here's what you need:

1. Acknowledgment

When I slip into these spaces, I definitely acknowledge that it is happening. I can feel it coming like a person with arthritis feels the first rain. But what do I do once I acknowledge its onset? If I sit there and let it take over, then I lose.

This downward spiral causes a significant amount of dissonance. I struggle with the fact that everything gives me negative feelings and also with the fact that there are days where I am fine with those feelings. On those days, I'm perfectly okay with seeing a guy at the coffee shop whose hands are full and not helping him with the door. I am also okay with not smiling at the woman at the grocery store who smiles as she passes me in the feminine hygiene aisle as if to say, "Girl, I understand." No! You don't understand. I am in a full struggle regarding whether or not I should be the woman that my parents and grandparents raised me to be! Don't you see? No, she doesn't see that personal battle, so you have the choice of putting on your best smile and adding a nod for measure, or of being the horrible version of You that's trying to takeover. Anete referenced the seven-second window of impression in her initial post and it is real. If you're going to put your best You forward, then the first step is to acknowledge when that version of You is slipping into the darkness and then fix it. 

2. Quick Disengagement

This is the fun step! It's fun for me because I know that this is the step most skipped and also the step that I, personally, enjoy the most. 

In order to get to a healthy spot mentally, you have to get rid of those things and people that cause the negative feelings (well those things and people that you're able to get rid of without getting expelled or fired). That means, log out of all social networking sites, put that iPhone on 'Do Not Disturb,' and just be!

If your build-up seems to be happening with your same old daily routine, then hit the switch and do a complete 180 (like Miley Cyrus, but not really!). I usually give myself one day to be sad about whatever is getting me down, but I am sure to use that Down Day as best as I can. On these days I am sure to keep my phone far out of reach otherwise I’ll find myself searching for things to pile onto my mountain of anger just to have something to complain about.

We often struggle on these Down Days with the anxiety that comes with not knowing what we may potentially be missing out on while we are away from our phones. We wonder random things like: will my crush text me, will Beyoncé announce a new album or tour, or will Kevin Hart finally admit that had a full blown relationship with this woman that has nothing on his wife (add thought bubbles where appropriate)? No, none of these things will happen just because you’ve decided to spend one day away from your phone, so disengage and embrace it. 

A lot of people use the internet as their source of happiness, so for those people, the quick disengage is about as much torture as dangling food in front of my face and telling me not to eat it. But, even those using the internet for happiness could use a break from it. Go outside, take a walk, go to the gym, play with your children, enjoy nature! I have not come across one person who is not able to find inner peace while alone with nature. 

The quick disengage is essential no matter where you are. If you skip this step, then you might as well skip the whole process. However, the good thing about this step is that it does not stand alone. Inward reflection is a concurrent step that should be taken alongside the quick disengage. 

3. Inward Reflection

It would be completely pointless to take yourself out of the situations that cause your stress or discomfort if you do not use that time wisely. 

Once you have finally put your busy mind at ease, you can begin to work on the deeper rooted issues. Whether it be through quiet meditation, a long jog with music, the soothing sounds of a Yoga instructor's voice, or maxing out your credit card at your nearest mall. Put yourself in a space where you can reflect on the reasons and things that have gotten you down. 

Arm yourselves by learning yourselves, your limits, and your triggers. Find out what gets you upset. Once you do that, find a way to control that situation and control the anger that it causes you. For example, I once had an ex that could not help but to lie. It was like he didn't have that thing in his mind that told him that lying was wrong. Initially, I would blow up about it because the lies would be about any and every small thing. But, after a while you will acknowledge that this person is flawed, you learn the ways in which they are flawed, and then you either get rid of them to keep your peace or you learn to deal with it while keeping your anger intact (I took the easy road and just got out of there!). Either way, without reflecting on what was happening to me and how it made me feel, I would not have learned that I have such a low tolerance for lies and liars. 

It took me a lot of pounding the pavement to learn that there was something other than hunger that could take me to that level of anger. But running outdoors was my only saving grace during those times. I learned that, when my feet are moving is when I can think with the clearest and emptiest slate. This finding created the space for me to think with a new type of clarity, breathe, and scream, if need be until I was more at ease and essentially un-phased by the liars that happen to be way too close for comfort within my life. And, with that space and that knowledge, I was able to avoid a lot of the situations that would have normally gotten me down.

Your quick disengage and inward reflection may look completely different from mine, but that does not mean that it is any less necessary. Find what helps you clear your mind, disengage from the things of this world, and reflect on the reasons behind your anger as well as the ways that you can better react to those triggers in the future.

4. Application

The home stretch in all of this is simply to apply all that you've done in the prior steps to your days going forward. I mean, why put in all of that work just to not apply it? 

Bad days are going to happen no matter how much you try to lead an angelic life. Hard times will strike, you may fail, divorces may happen, dishonesty will reign, but what you do following these events shapes who You are. 

If you want the You that is presented to the world to be the best version of You possible, then it is very necessary to Self-Check as you go.

These steps have been written time and time again. They've been written in this order, in different order, with additional steps, less some steps, and so on! You get the point. We've all said these things but, it sometimes takes another person's perspective or explanation of the steps before you actually take the necessary steps to apply this process. 

A Self-Check can happen in as quick as a 30-minute workout or even a 10-minute yoga session. If we make it a part of our daily routines to Self-Check, then when we feel ourselves spiraling downward, it will be much easier to bring ourselves out of it and continue living mentally-healthy and mentally-happy lives. 

 

Here are a couple of articles, websites and books that have helped me with my ongoing Self-Check:

Travis Bradberry: 7 Powerful Ways to Beat Burnout (Forbes)

Hey Fran Hey

Don Miguel Ruiz: "The Four Agreements: A Practical Guide to Personal Freedom"

Dr. Stephen R. Covey: "An Effective Life"