Issa Rae Claps Back After 'Insecure' Viewers Criticize Use Of Greek Letters


Issa Rae

Photo: Getty Images

After more than a year away from the small screen, Insecure returned with an emphatic premiere of season five. Complete with rekindled friendships, a shocking breakup and a hysterical robbery, the first episode of Insecure's fifth season seemingly gave fans everything and more. Unfortunately, one group of viewers didn't enjoy the episode as much as others.

In the first episode of the show's fifth season, Issa, Tiffany, Kelli, Derek and Molly returned to Stanford University to celebrate their 10-year reunion. During the reunion, Tiffany donned the Greek letters and emblem associated with Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc. However, some members of the historically Black sorority took issue with Tiffany wearing the Greek letters because the actress who portrays the character of Tiffany, Amanda Seales, is not a member of the sorority. As a result, there were more than a few tweets that complained about Seales wearing the Greek letters.

As the debate grew more heated, it began to trend on social media. Over time, Seales decided to hop in and explain that she is portraying a character who happens to be a member of the sorority. Furthermore, the actress explained that she wears the "letters with pride and regard and respect for those that did cross the burning sands.”

“I am not a member of the Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority,” she said on Instagram.

"My school, SUNY Purchase, didn’t even have a chapter, and by the time I went to grad school, I was too involved in the Me Phi Me of it all…I would be honored to be a member of Alpha Kappa Alpha, but I simply am not. When I am Tiffany, I do wear the letters with pride and regard and respect for those that did cross the burning sands.”

Not long thereafter, Insecure creator Issa Rae hopped in and added her two cents. One viewer asked that she delete any scenes that include Tiffany wearing Greek letters and Rae sarcastically agreed to do so.

“Oh s---, let me tell HBO to delete the one of the upcoming episodes then, hold on," Rae tweeted.

Rae did eventually delete her tweet, but a number of people came to her defense.

Also, author George M. Johnson of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc. and Dr. Marc Lamont Hill of Alpha Kappa Psi Fraternity, Inc. pointed out that the use of Greek letters in television has to be approved by the organization's leadership.

"AKA approved the use of the trademark," Hill wrote.

“Only folks to be mad at is your organization heads. It’s just like a Sprite can being in a tv show. It has to be licensed. It’s the same with Greek orgs letters and symbols. There is a whole process of approval you go through," Johnson added in a separate thread.

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