Issa Rae, Amanda Seales respond to critics of sorority affiliation on ‘Insecure’

Seales’ character has been an Alpha Kappa Alpha sorority member since the show's beginning.

Issa Rae’s acclaimed HBO series Insecure returned Sunday for its fifth and final season, and critics wasted no time pouncing on co-star Amanda Seales over her character’s Tiffany’s Alpha Kappa Alpha membership. 

Day-one Insecure fans might remember that it was established in the first season that Seales’ character Tiffany is a member of the historically black sorority. The season premiere showed Tiffany and the rest of the cast visit their 10th college reunion at Stanford University, during which Tiffany wore the AKA pink and green. Black Twitter seemed to, at once, dismiss and defend Seales for rocking the colors as a fictional character.

Seales responded to critics in a video explaining that she is not a real-life AKA but does, indeed, play one on television.

“I don’t know why people keep asking me if I’m a soror,” Seales said. “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.”

A Twitter user with the handle @Love_KSJW shared Seales’ video message along with the complaint: “Okay so hold up. This girl is not a Soror and had my SHIELD on her body?! @IssaRae @insecurhbo please do not do that again. That’s wildly disrespectful!”

Seales blamed reality television for a generation of viewers who can’t distinguish between fact and fiction. 

Several users defended Seales, with one writing, “I bet the “sorors” mad at Amanda Seales (& Issa) ain’t even active lol. Molly & Tiffany been AKAs since S1. It’s actually not that serious. people are dying.”

Another added, “I am cackling at the people mad about Amanda Seales’ character being an AKA. 1. The show purposely didn’t show all the letters. 2. It’s called “acting”. You don’t have to be a member of the organization in real life to portray one onscreen.”

A third wrote, “Shouldn’t the disdain for Amanda Seales character wearing AKA nalia be directed toward Issa Rae and the producers and not Amanda?”

One AKA member noted, “I did question how they were able to pull that off. Having a non member wearing AKA letters and colors. I’m not mad at her she’s correct she’s playing a character. I’m assuming they had to get some sort of clearance prior to filming to use the likeness.”

Several commenters pointed out that it’s likely the sorority “licensed out their letters for the show.”

Insecure first premiered in October 2016 and has received critical acclaim and multiple Emmy nominations. Loosely based on Rae’s Youtube series, Awkward Black Girl, Insecure is the journey of Issa Dee’s as she navigates blackness in both her professional and personal lives. The fifth season sees the return of Rae, Seales, and series regulars Yvonne Orji, Jay Ellis, Natasha Rothwell and Courtney Taylor. The hit comedy follows four Black women in Los Angeles as they navigate their work, friendship and love lives.

Issa Rae
(Photo by Rich Polk/Getty Images for ESSENCE)

The final season continues to follow these women as they evaluate their relationships, both new and old, in an effort to figure out who and what comes with them in this next phase of their lives. While many have questioned Issa Rae’s decision to end her hit show after only five seasons, in multiple interviews she has insisted she wanted to “go out on a high” when ending the series.

Insecure airs Sundays on HBO at 10 p.m. EST.

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