Insecure Celebrates Season 2 at Inglewood Block Party
When DJ Kiss turned on "her song," actor Yvonne Orji, who plays Molly on Insecure, couldn’t help but break it down on stage in front of a roaring crowd. Nearby, executive producer Melina Matsoukas and actor Jay Ellis joined the dance party. Co-creator and star Issa Rae documented the moment on her Instagram story, while sipping directly from a bottle of champagne. The event wasn’t a concert or traditional red carpet premiere – it was the Insecure Block Party, which closed down Market Street in Inglewood, the neighborhood where the series is set, written and filmed.
Natasha Rothwell, who plays Kelli, told HBO that the event matched the vibe of the series: “This doesn’t feel like anything but an extension of the life and world of Inglewood. It’s a love letter from Issa to the community and I’m so happy to be a part of it.” Rae agreed wholeheartedly: “I love my city. To have this Block Party in my home, promoting the show that’s also set in my home… it’s a dream come true.”
Local businesses were invited to the event, where attendees could get a literal taste of the local cuisine. Lee Smith and Keith Garrett of All Flavor No Grease had the mission of “taking over the Block Party with our quesadillas.” Both men were proud to be affiliated with Insecure. “There’s a lot of stuff on the show that really represents L.A. and our culture – what we stand for,” said Garrett. “I love it, man. Go Issa.”
They weren’t the only vendor excited to participate. “When they found out we were going to be here, my daughters went crazy,” said Cary Earle, from local landmark Earle’s on Crenshaw, which served an assortment of tasty hot dogs. “Our restaurant is about 12 minutes from here. To see Market Street closed off… we love it.” Nearby, the Serving Spoon, another local establishment, dished up their legendary soul food. Randy’s Donuts gave out their delectable specialties. To wash it all down, attendees could sip an assortment of Insecure-themed cocktails, including the “Hella Refreshing,” “We Got Y’all” and “The Wine Down.”
A swag shop gave fans goodies to take home, including a copy of Hannah Magazine with Rae on the cover. Photo booths put fans right on the iconic Dunes’ couch and into the Season 2 key art. Throughout the afternoon and into the evening, Ms. Nix and DJ Kiss spun sounds, while Kamaiyah, Ty Dolla $ and SZA performed.
Beyond the tastes and sounds, attendees could connect with a non profit benefiting the community – the Fernando Pullum Community Arts Center. Offering free performing arts classes to the youth of South L.A., the organization’s serves as the on-screen facade of Issa’s fictional workplace, We Got Y’all. “A few of the kids were on the show as extras the first year,” Fernando Pullum told HBO. Pullum’s connections to Insecure run even deeper – he is a former colleague of Issa Rae’s mom: “We both taught at Washington High School.” About the series creator, Pullum was effusive: “I’m really proud and excited for her.” Pullman stressed how much Rae has done for the community: “She came back here, shut down this street and said, ‘This is where I want you to come.’ Most people would go to Hollywood. But she’s here.”
Perhaps best of all, partygoers were treated to an early screening of the first episode. The cast and crew came on stage to address the audience. “Shout out to Inglewood,” Rae told the screaming crowd. “We’re so proud and happy to be able to host this event in the community where the show was born.” Showrunner Prentince Penny shared his gratitude as well: “I felt incredibly blessed to be able to tell stories about people of color that feel nuanced.” Matsoukas echoed his sentiment: “This is for us, by us,” she declared, before literally, dropping the mic.