Before there was Insecure, there was Girlfriends. The Mara Brock Akil series served as early representation of the everyday African-American woman. Blending a harmony of different personalities, styles, and professions, Girlfriends was a show that captured the hearts of many! Joan, Maya, Toni, and Lynn shared a bond but had unique story lines that showed the unlimited possibilities of finding love of friends and men. As the sitcom rebooted on Netflix, I couldn’t help but notice the similarities between Joan and Molly.
Joan Clayton, Esq. is a successful attorney working in downtown Los Angeles and navigating the ups and downs of her career, relationships and friendships. Mastered by Tracee Ellis Ross, Joan is the most corporate of the bunch and is hilariously uptight. Even with her signature big, curly hair, amazing home and bad-ass power suits, Joan’s love life is a struggle throughout the series as she constantly battled with the doubts she could have it all.
Joan is undoubtedly the Carrie Bradshaw of the clique. Whether she was dressed for a day at the law firm or keeping it grown and sexy for cocktails with her girlfriends she was well dressed. Joan made rocking your own tresses a thing way before being natural was the way to go. From hobo chic, playful prints to perfectly cut suits. Sis was always ready.
Sound familiar? Like Joan Insecure’s Molly is a lawyer with an equally fierce fashion sense. Molly rocks a bob like none other, has a unreasonable scroll of rules, is corporate, quirky, and struggles to maintain a healthy relationship with her man..or with friends.
We live for a fashionable leading Black woman and Molly gives us lewks from long weaves to short bobs. And her wardrobe never disappoints! Shiona Turini is the brainchild behind her looks.
“In the first two seasons, she was a fit-in Molly, attempting to ride the conservative wave of her demanding corporate job and assimilate into the office environment,” explains Shiona. “We’ve since evolved her color palette, getting rid of most prints and injecting bold power colors to make her stand out, especially at work.”
Both Joan and Molly’s style matured as their character evolved.
“Molly’s wardrobe is reflective of the spending power of Black professionals. I am consciously including designer labels for her because it’s important to recognize that young black professionals drop coins, and therefore have a lot of power, in the luxury market,” she added. Professional black women have immense buying power and seeing this elevated on both shows is groundbreaking.
Molly and Joan aren’t just identical in the slay department, they both struggle in the friendship department.
Joan’s friendships on Girlfriends is the kind of toxic friendship that makes Issa and Molly’s in Insecure seem miniscule. Yet Joan and Molly both navigate through white-dominated workplaces where they fight constantly to fit in with the other women and exist within the men’s club to make partner.
Although Joan always looked out for her friends, she did so at the expense of dealing with her own problems. The same as Molly. Joan and Molly always feel the need to keep up appearances and even when they are being annoying their looks always steal the show. Like when Molly attended Tiffany’s baby shower, she wears a pink asymmetric peplum top by Oscar De La Renta with an almost identical colored pink pants, a small symbol of the freedom she feels with her friends.
Toni and Joan’s friendship came to an abrupt end which ultimately made the series suffer. I believe the same to be true if Molly and Issa end. They need each other at least for the series to survive. The better question still lies if they will in fact make up. Even with both of their lives falling apart without the presence of the other, its evident the relationship that needs the most attention is theirs.
However Insecure plays out, it’s clear Joan walked so Molly could strut.