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Natasha Rothwell on Portrayals of Plus-Size Black Women

Natasha Rothwell Is Rejecting the "Unfair" Pressure to Represent All Plus-Size Black Women

LOS ANGELES, CA - MARCH 22:  Natasha Rothwell attends The Broad Museum celebration for the opening of Soul Of A Nation: Art in the Age of Black Power 1963-1983 Art Exhibition at The Broad on March 22, 2019 in Los Angeles, California.  (Photo by Rich Polk/Getty Images for The Broad Museum)

I think it's safe to assume many Insecure fans have fallen in love with Natasha Rothwell's portrayal of Kelli over these past five seasons. It's almost bittersweet to think we won't get any more of those funny one-liners or "real" moments with her character. Still, Natasha's performance will always be remembered for giving grace to other women who saw a part of themselves in her.

However, as the show's final season comes to an end, Natasha wants to remind viewers that her character is not a caricature of plus-size Black women and shouldn't be treated as their only source of representation. "It is a lot of weight for any show to carry when they are the only one tackling the humanity of people," Natasha told gal-dem in a recent interview. "People want to hang their experiences as a plus-size Black woman on me."

Fans rallying behind Kelli's character on the show has resulted in somewhat of a demand for more screen time where we get to see more of Kelli's backstory — beyond the jokes she offers on occasion. Natasha noted that while she's "not offended" by the online discussion around her character, she does think it's "unfair" how she feels the pressure to represent all plus-size Black women.

Now that we're finally digging deeper into Kelli's storyline on season five, it seems Insecure viewers have since quieted the chatter around her lack of character development. Insecure has done a lot of groundwork to provide nuance to its myriad of Black characters tackling adulthood in their late 20s and 30s, a perspective Natasha refers to as being "decidedly regular, average and figuring it out." Like Kelli, the hope is that the show has explored its stories and fictional characters beyond their tropes to spark a new conversation about humanity on television.

Image Source: Getty / Rich Polk
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