Warning: Spoilers ahead!
Always superbly soundtracked, HBO’s Insecure in its Sunday episode added a slew of Latinx artists to that venerable roster. Seriously, it’s the kind of show where you’re compelled to look up the songs in post—or even during, sometimes—because they’re so damn good. A strong musical element has been key to the show since its 2016 debut.
During Lowkey Done, the seventh episode in this fourth season, Molly Carter—who is second in the show’s narrative only to its creator, Issa Rae, aka Issa Dee—vacations in Puerto Vallarta with her still-new but kinda-getting-serious boyfriend. It’s rare to see basically an entire episode centered on Molly, Issa’s longtime BFF (they’re currently on the fritz, however).
Never have so many been packed into one episode. There’s a specific scene, too, that speaks to anti-Blackness and outright racism in Latin-American countries. Lowkey Done, then, delivers firsts on multiple fronts.
Early in the episode, Rico Nasty’s “Dirty” plays as Molly rushes to the a soon-closing airport gate. Later, “Salsa (Remix)” from Mexican rapper Niña Dioz featuring Go goes off as she and her boyfriend, Andrew, embark and land—and the track is trimmed just right: “Como YG, f*ck Donald Trump” makes the cut, through to “Creamos túneles en tu pinche wall.”
Guaynaa’s “Rompe Rodillas” is in the mix too—timing is everything with that one—and Melii’s “Como Si Na” plays during a hike with Andrew’s brother and sister-in-law, with whom they’re vacationing. La Doña’s “Dembow y Sexo” is the backdrop to outdoor dancing, and “Mando” from Kali Uchis sets the mood for an intimate scene.
It’s shortly after this moment of chill, though, that things become (rightfully) tense. While at the pool, Molly goes to get a towel for Andrew’s brother’s wife, and the resort employee, a light-skinned woman, refuses her service for lack of a key card. “I’m staying here; I literally just got out of the pool,” Molly explains, but the employee won’t budge on what she says is hotel policy. “Are you serious? Because the white people that just left did not need to show a key card,” she points out.
The employee gets defensive, implying she’s being “accused of something” (i.e. racism). Before she can get her manager, however, Andrew’s brother shows up with his own key card, and a towel is finally handed over.
A discussion about the racist microaggression follows—and it doesn’t go so smoothly for Molly, who’s the only black person in the group. Andrew’s overbearing brother, who is Asian, essentially tells her to pick and choose her battles, even asking if it was “really about race.” Andrew, thankfully, stands by Molly.
Despite the fact that the situation isn’t delved into too deeply, Insecure at least has brought visibility to the issue of racism in Latinx cultures, a systemic problem affecting black and Afro-Latinx people in everything from their safety to economic opportunities and general quality of life.
A couple tracks from the episode—Rico Nasty’s “Dirty” and Kali Uchis’ “Mando”— aren’t currently available on any streaming platforms. We’re also hoping they’ll be included in the official season four soundtrack once it’s released. Fingers crossed, too, for more Latinx sounds in the season’s few remaining episodes.