The fifth and final season of Issa Rae’s HBO series Insecure is currently airing, and it’s gotten some viewers all fired up on social media. And not because they’re wondering what the Hell they’re going to do after Insecure comes to an end (the new episode of Curb Your Enthusiasm might scratch that HBO awkward comedy itch, but for how long!?). It’s because some current and former members of the Alpha Kappa Alpha sorority were positively incensed that a character from Insecure, Tiffany DuBois, has been wearing AKA colors and insignia. They were so mad, they took to all manner of social media to call out Issa and the actress who plays Tiffany, Amanda Seales, and HBO, and Insecure’s production team. They got so mad, some of them might escalate this situation to call out the inventors of the colors salmon pink and apple green. But Issa Rae isn’t having any of it, because it’s just a TV show! And as such, she also decided to do some damage control on social media.
The character of Tiffany DuBois has been around since the very first season. She went to Stanford and pledged with an exclusive sorority. It was always implied that she was a soror, but in the fifth season of Insecure (which further explores the characters’ friendships dating back to their time at Stanford), you see direct references to Tiffany’s time as an AKA. There have been many opportunities for Tiffany to wear AKA’s signature pink and green colors during the show’s run, but the fifth season has her wearing the letters and AKA shield.
I don’t know if using a sorority in a TV show is the same as obtaining the life rights to a person, but some of those AKAs are not happy about seeing their letters on Issa’s show. Like this lifelong AKA:
My letters are not a costume. Have a seat and mind your business. https://t.co/Uu2pmW7Oqi
— (Kah-MEE-la) (@Love_KSJW) October 25, 2021
Oh no, not Campus Cultural Appropriation! But that’s how some people saw it. via Complex:
Former AKA sorors took to Twitter to air their grievances about the choice, which they found disrespectful since the sorority’s identity when it comes to its letters and colors is sacred to those who pledged. Seales, Issa Rae and the episode’s director, Melina Matsoukas, responded to the backlash.
As Complex points out, everyone has commented on this situation. Amanda Seales threw up an Instagram video and wondered why she was receiving so much hate, because she’s not Tiffany DuBois, and that Tiffany DuBois is not a real person to be hating on. via Complex:
“I don’t know why people keep asking me if I’m a soror,” Seales said in an Instagram video. “I am not a soror. Tiffany is a soror. Tiffany is a character on a TV show. I didn’t write the character. I played a character. I’m not a soror. I’m an actress and I’m playing a character on a TV show.”
For those AKAs who wanted to speak to a supervisor about it, director Melina Matsoukas chimed in, telling AKA haters to lay off Amanda, who is, once again, not Tiffany DuBois, because Tiffany DuBois is not a real person. And also, that it was a creative choice to make Tiffany an AKA soror.
If that wasn’t a satisfactory resolution to the issue, then please allow the supervisor to bring the owner into this situation and lay it all out in no uncertain terms. Which is: Issa doesn’t care! Well, she cares a little bit, because after joking that she’d have HBO pull any offending episodes down, she deleted said tweet:
The Insecure/AKA thing got more plot twists than S3! 😂😂😂 pic.twitter.com/dVE2zIGZu7
— Knight Of The Black Rose (@Dpzzle) October 26, 2021
Whether the use of the AKA letters and shield were authorized or not is still up for debate. But as one Twitter user pointed out, those upset AKAs might want to note that it would not be the first time those letters have been used as a costume.
— ROC (@ROCmelo) October 25, 2021
I still don’t understand why those AKAs were so mad. It’s not like Tiffany has ever said that AKAs pink and green combo makes everyone look like sour watermelon candies. Plus, hello – it’s called free advertising! And on HBO! The Alpha Kappa Alpha sorority could start working all this into their rush week branding. “Pledge the sorority that is good enough for Tiffany DuBois!”