The power of audience engagement

HBO’s “Insecure” sparks real conversations

In 2015, University of Oklahoma psychologists Jessica Black and Jennifer Barnes dissected how watching TV dramas can help increase people’s emotional intelligence.

After doing studies that involved 100 college students watching popular shows and another 60 not watching any programs, they found that engaging in fictional TV dramas did in fact heighten that understanding of other people’s emotions.

“If the difference between our fiction and nonfiction conditions was due, in part or whole, to the presence of conflict, multiple characters with divergent beliefs, emotions, desires, and the inclusion of story arcs with a defined narrative structure, then it is possible that watching popular, as well as award-winning, television dramas may lead to increase theory of mind performance,” Black and Barnes noted in their research — that can be found on

Shows like HBO’s hit drama, “Insecure,” does that for their audience members.

People tend to watch TV to escape the real world, but shows like  “Insecure” will never allow you to do that. It’s both sad and funny how much a show can relate to some aspect of the place you’re currently at in your life.

It’s nearly every 20 something year-olds reality — awkward and uncomfortable situations being two of the main indications of stability in our young lives’ right now.

The relatability not only increases the emotional awareness toward others that Black and Barnes researched, it brings awareness to your own as well. But another important feature about the existence of “Insecure” are the conversations it creates following each episode.

Without “Insecure,” people ages 20 and older probably wouldn’t be arguing on Twitter about the lack of condoms seen on a TV show.

But then again if not, discussions and threads regarding the importance of safe sex may not have happened either.

“Insecure” is essentially infroming the masses about issues the United States Educational System continues to fail at successfully teaching through their current curriculum.

The fact that the show has Black leads garners it a lot of recognition for its representation of diverse culture, but it is equally important that it touches on racism within communities of color.

The examination and discussions about racism in these communities on Twitter are brief, but the more Issa Rae and her staff of amazing writers continue to include it in nearly every episode, the more people may be willing to notice and acknowledge the issue.

“Insecure’s” consistency to bring up this issue is crucial so people can acknowledge it, if and when it happens in their day-to-day lives.

It’s important that TV shows introduce not only relatable content, but educational as well.

Not to the point where viewers feel like a certain viewpoint is being forced on them, but where ideas and conversations ignite from the content in which these shows provide.