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I’m the tech exec who inspired ‘Insecure.’ This is how we should be supporting Black women at work now

Black Women in Education

I’m the tech exec who inspired ‘Insecure.’ This is how we should be supporting Black women at work now


Veteran tech exec Leslie Pitterson wrote an article in 2010 that would provide Issa Rae the fuel she needed to produce Insecure. Now, more than a decade later, she reflects on how far workplaces still have to go to be inclusive.

In 2010, when I was freelancing out of a brownstone in Harlem, I wrote an article titled “Where is the Black Liz Lemon?” that touched on the lack of complex Black female characters in media. A few days after I posted the piece, I got a note from a woman named Issa, thanking me and saying the article was the inspiration she needed to start a project she had been putting off. A few months later, she sent me a link to Misadventures of an Awkward Black Girlthe YouTube series that would be the launchpad for HBO’s Insecure.

What Issa Rae brought into our living rooms with Insecure was a decade-defining story centered around Black women. The show’s diverse audience spent five seasons inviting Issa and Molly—fully beautiful, imperfect, in-progress Black women—into their lives. It was a story about what they felt…

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I am a future butterfly at the stage of growth when I am turning into an adult. I am enclosed in a hard case shell formed by love, family, and friends. It is the hardest stage of becoming a black butterfly. You will encounter many hardships only to come out stronger and better than what you went in. At this stage, you are finding out who you truly are and how to love yourself.

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What Does It Mean To Be “Black Butterfly Beautiful”

The image of the butterfly has come to define the many expressions of the feminine black consciousness and for a good reason. The butterfly is the perfect articulation of the exquisite beauty of nature. Whether tiny or large, brightly colored or more subdued, the butterfly’s allure is undeniable. Each one displays its own unique patterns and hues, and no one species outshines any other.

Similarly, there is no one ideal image of a black woman -- each is gorgeous in her right. All African-Americans share a glorious history of struggle and perseverance that has funneled into the modern black renaissance. And, like the graceful butterfly, the awakened black woman exemplifies the dazzling beauty of that cultural evolution.

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