I was the first to immediately label Tasha (Dominique Perry) on HBO’s Insecure as thirsty and thotty.
No self-respecting woman would come to a man’s job, boobs perched and 12-inch-weave, on fleek, with the intention of stealing someone else’s debatably-raggedy man. But one woman’s trash is another woman’s treasure, and for Tasha —the hot sauce-toting antagonist in every way— to the naturally beautiful, around-the-way charming Issa (Issa Rae), she was set to claim her treasure.
While women around the world felt Issa’s pain when the series’ season one finale cut to Lawrence (Jay Ellis) knee-deep in the girl who works at the bank, Tasha deserves some empathy too.
The first thing a person wants to do after a bad breakup is move on with the next best thing coming. Especially men. And let men tell it, voluptuous, down-for-you-at-your-worst-even-though-she-doesn’t-even-know-you Tasha is basically a Godsend for the hurt, betrayed and less-discussed, depressed, Lawrence. The best thing that could happen to Lawrence is for this Buffy the Body doppelgänger to literally fall into his lap as his life is falling apart.
Some viewers’ commentary focuses on the things that set Tasha apart from Issa, the protagonist, who we naturally know more about and at a basic level would describe as natural, hilarious, educated, non-provocative millennial woman. Some women’s —okay, my— initial reaction to Tasha is the judgment of her character as I pick apart the fact that her curves are over-sexualized. When frankly, nothing is wrong with her showing off her body to someone who she didn’t know was in a relationship —and in the broader context, she can show off if she so chooses.
Bonus, Lawrence the Great actually ends up curving her initially.
But then again, why am I throwing so much shade to Tasha? We have all been Tasha before, whether we dated a person, unknowingly, who was actually committed, or dated a person who’s broken up but still emotionally attached to his ex. We’ve also all been the screen-shoting, trash talking friend to a good girlfriend whose ex has moved on and glowed up with someone else who – let the group chat describe it – doesn’t level up to her glowing qualities.
Really educated friends – the super bougie girls – won’t even delve into new girl’s looks, but will read her curriculum vitae to filth if need be. Also if you’re in the educated bougie sector of circles, you degrade new boo’s name if isn’t something classic. “Tasha” is easy bate in comparison to mainstream ’80s babies’ names (i.e. Jessica, Amanda, Melissa) or more nuanced Black bourgeois ones (i.e. Miles, Morgan, Colson).
The bougie girls are basically petty in the bougiest of ways, but also love doing squats and listening to trap music. You know the type. Tasha fits some girls’ definition of “basic”, especially in comparison to Issa and her group of friends who fit nicely into the educated, successful black aesthetic. But whether you’re #TeamLawrence or #TeamIssa, Tasha not fitting into their privileged millennial paradigm, doesn’t make her any less.
Like it or not: We should show empathy for Tasha.
She’s an innocent bystander, preyed on by a hurt man and easily-accepting of his baggage, not fully understanding the weight he carries or the damage he’s doing by entering a new relationship without healing from the last one. Lawrence is not taking that painful time to learn what he does and doesn’t want from his next mate. At best, Tasha seems convenient, but it’s not her fault and we shouldn’t judge her for it. She deserves date nights and quality time Monday through Thursday, and we should all stop side-eyeing her and maybe start rooting for her.