Damn Daniel!

I finally finished watching Insecure for the eleventeenth time, but this time I was taking notes. I have been in many discussion groups and conversations about this HBO series and I have found that I am all alone on this one.  The entire black community has been divided over this.  Dudes are more butt hurt about Issa than they are about Olivia Pope, in a whole other way.  I have never seen such an epic level of solidarity among dudes like the unity of #TeamLawrence. Men were declaring that they too were Lawrence. Social media profile pics got changed to Best Buy shirts. I was bewildered. Like why? I do get that Lawrence is perceived as the “good man” and many men want to see themselves as such. While Lawrence is not innately a bad guy, I feel he can be toxic. He is an emotional vampire and spirit draining to Issa. Issa is an artist and the soul of an artist requires a bit more than what Lawrence seems to be providing.  There is a quote by Henri Nouwen.

This immediately begins to show itself from Episode 1 and we are reminded throughout the season.


Enters Daniel! And I will say I am all #TeamDaniel, though I think I am the only member of this “team”. While I can certainly identify with Issa as a woman, this is not about her per se.  This is about Daniel, what he represents and the role he plays in her life, which is very significant. Most conversations and discussions that I have had completely diminishes Daniel’s role and purpose. I find that a bit disturbing.  Most people seem to feel like the Lawrences of the world are getting shafted, but so are the Daniels. What about those men? In Episode 7, Daniel hurtfully asks “Why you treating me like some random ass nigga?” He knows that it all happened so fast (the liaison in the studio), but why is she acting like it wasn’t “something”.  It was something. It was everything she NEEDED and that’s why it happened.  Daniel absolutely is not random.


What Daniel represents is the awakening of and connection to her spirit that had been drained by Lawrence. Daniel is the connection to her soul that was hidden. She traded her soul in exchange for complacency and safety, which made her nothing but resentful.  By her own account her relationship with Lawrence has no excitement, too comfortable and she had lowered her standard.  Daniel is the antithesis.  Her connection to Daniel is spiritual. IT IS SOMETHING!!!
Daniel is a music producer. Issa rhymes in mirrors as she faces herself every day.  Music is the connection. Together they share music.
Daniel knows her. Daniel knows her soul. He reunites her with her self when he encourages her to take the stage.  As she performs, he sees her in her light. He is all smiles from ear to ear in admiration. He clearly adores her.  Issa leaves that stage and is in the car with Molly amped. He has recharged her spirit. This is the person she wants to be again and he is the perfect guy to bring that out. Daniel is her courage. The courage to be her most authentic self.  There is a moment in Episode 5 where she second guesses her decision to take the stage because the kids have gained access to the video.  Issa says she shouldn’t have done it. It’s not her. Daniel declared emphatically “Are you kidding? That’s ALL you. You have to go for things like that. You’re good”
Issa is her best self in the presence of Daniel.  In episode 2 she recognizes that she became the person she truly wants to be, Brave Issa, No Fucks Issa. A woman not scared to do shit. Daniel represents her courage. He is her courage. Molly admits that used to be her. Her better self had been dormant with Lawrence. Daniel resurrected it.  Every time Daniel and Issa see each other, both their faces light up.  It’s that moment when you get the butterflies in your stomach, so you take that deep breath in order to regulate the increase in heart rate. Damn Daniel! He inspires her, the way that she had inspired him years before.  Daniel confesses this to the class on Career Day, that it was Issa who had gotten him into music. He brags about her skills on the mic. The kids could sense the adoration in him and teased him about having a crush on Miss Issa.  As they walk when he is leaving, she tells him how cool it is that he is living his dream.  There’s that courage!
Daniel and Issa have HISTORY.  He is her “What If Guy”. Their history dates back to high school. Our histories can’t be ignored no matter how hard we try. The only issue between them is bad timing. The Universe has a way of sorting that out though. Nothing happens before it’s time and that’s when things will begin to align.  She looks into the mirror and fantasizes about Daniel asking her:
  • “What if we could finally give us a shot?”
  • “What if we were both single at the same time?”
What if the world of music could be their life? He is talking to Ty Dolla Sign about her and asked him to write a song about Issa.
Daniel cares deeply about her and her well being. He always wants to make sure she is good.  When he feels guilty about the children getting hold of the video which he feels responsible for, he wants to make it right by trying to find out who posted it to “ghost it”. He declares “I got you”  He shows a level of accountability that Lawrence often fails at.  This is when Daniel reminds her of who she really is in an effort to make her feel better about the video.  They share music.  He looks for her creative input when he is producing one of his artists. He follows her signal and makes the artist do it again. He values her talent. Lawrence on the other hand, called her her performance “funny stupid” and remarked it was weird seeing her like that.  Issa is an artist. That is who she is. What does Lawrence see when he sees her?
Daniel recites one of her rhymes from back in the 11th grade. Now to any artist, for someone to value your body of work like that is an honor. He gets her in the recording booth and while she is doing her thing, he is watching her with pride in his eyes. This is the moment of truth when all things are revealed and the plot thickens.  Daniel opens up. Daniel has no issues being vulnerable around Issa, despite all the hurtful things she has done, unintentionally I might add.  He asks her why had she never given him a chance.  She never took him seriously, he felt.  Issa puts the onus on him saying he was doing his thing in the streets. They were only friends with benefits.  She thought Daniel would make things official when she returned from college and give them a shot…he didn’t do it.  He knows he should have and wanted to. It’s obvious he regrets not doing so. He wasn’t ready then but he is ready now.  They make sweet music together.
As Issa struggles with what her encounter with Daniel awakens, she disappears for 3 weeks in her typical “aggressively passive” way. She can’t find the balance between the physical world that exists outside herself with Lawrence and the spiritual world that exists within with Daniel.  What a mighty struggle that is.  Daniel is invited to the fundraiser and being the supportive man he is, he shows up.  He shows up for the kids and he shows up for Issa.  Daniel never takes off that cape for Issa.  He has other motives. He wants to confront her on her disappearance.  Daniel is hurting.  We often forget that men hurt too. This is not the first time Issa has been dismissive to him and he still remains steadfast. He has not held anything against her.  They’ve been through a lot together.  Yes things happened rather quickly but that doesn’t mean it isn’t something.  It’s meaningful and it was powerful.  (She even got her groove back at work.). Issa is confused and thinks Daniel has been pressing her too hard by texting her after they had sex. Lots of folks be praying for that textback that never comes.  He appears ambushed by her perspective on how things took place. He is not gonna take blame for her choice. She is no victim. He makes that clear.  Issa calls him “an itch that needed to be scratched.” when he asks her why she was treating him like some random ass nigga.  From the look on Issa’s face we know she was not being truthful, as Daniel leaves totally defeated and in shock by her damaging words. After all he was to her, did for her, showed her. After all he did for her soul, body and mind, Issa still couldn’t find any room to honor him.  Damn Daniel!
Hopefully next season we continue to see the battle between Issa’s spirit and her physical life. The battle of Soulmate vs Solemate, Daniel vs Lawrence. This show is real!

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Sesheta Khepra Written by:

Sesheta Khepra’s purpose is to be a vessel, a healer for her family/village/community. She wants to share the lessons she has learned as she continues to grow. She tries to administer healing words with love. She uses her writing to encourage people to be their most authentic self, to heal herself and others. Her goal is to influence, to inspire her circle to be open and connect. She contributes by sharing the most intimate parts of herself; by being vulnerable and transparent. She offers herself as service to those around her. When she has a peak experience she is appreciative, reverential, connected, available and in the moment. She is balanced and peaceful. Her heroines are Queen Afua and Oprah Winfrey. In a best friend she looks for sincerity, sense of humor, someone with the ability to hold her accountable and provide her guidance. She feels her unique skill is using words and sounds to make people feel deeply. Her best qualities in personal relationships are forgiveness, patience and tenderness.


  1. April 1, 2017

    Great read. However, while stating Daniel’s case, you completely gloss over the fact that he is using Issa’s feeling and her confused, vulnerable state as his stepping stone to insert himself into an intimate situation with Issa. If Daniel was really real, he’d let Issa make her own moves and handle her ralationshio when it’s right for her.
    Daniel is also guilty of filching a brothers woman. There’s no dignity in that. I respect his ‘go for what you want and need’ attitude; but, let’s not fail to call it what it is. You had a couple quotes in this and some music; so let me leave you with a musical quote…Daniel is the guy you can’t respect; he’s the Mario singing “you should let me love you” while backstabbing another brother. No bueno.

    • Sesheta Khepra
      May 26, 2017

      Give thanks for sharing your thoughts Brother

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