Insecure's Kendrick Sampson Talks Nathan and Issa, How the HBO Comedy 'Showed Up for Black People'

As the debate continues over which Insecure man should end up with Issa, Kendrick Sampson is more concerned with seeing everyone in the HBO comedy live their best life.

“I think it’s more so about what Issa needs, and she has to decide that for herself,” the actor, who plays Nathan, tells TVLine. “I would love to see her with Nathan, but more than anything, I just want to see them all be healthy, young Black folks navigating.”

This Sunday’s episode (10/9c) will see Issa and Nathan meet up after their disastrous night together in which Issa, who was still heartbroken over her breakup with Lawrence, cried salty tears into Nathan’s mouth. She woke up the next morning to find that Nathan had left while she was still asleep. Whether or not they can come back from that remains to be seen.

No matter the outcome, Sampson, who joined the series in Season 3, is just grateful to have worked alongside extremely supportive cast and crewmates. The actor says he’s “learned so much” and “picked up so many good relationships and family” along the way.

Though this experience, Sampson has “seen that it’s possible to run a production that is high-quality, that shows our gray areas [and] doesn’t present us as the stereotypical superhuman or subhuman — that we’re demonized or colonized or abused in some way, or we have to achieve some incredible feat in order to earn the right for our story to be told. I love just seeing regular degular Black folks living life. That is revolutionary storytelling.”

Issa Rae and the Insecure team “found a way to invest in the community that they were telling the story about,” he adds. “They invest in that community outside of the show and build up entrepreneurship in that area and then hire people that wouldn’t normally get those chances, even formerly incarcerated people — people that don’t necessarily have the degrees or the relationships or the experience. The tentacles of this show are more far-reaching than anybody can ever imagine, and you’ll see the fruit of that by the people that have gained the experience that they needed by being given the opportunity that they normally wouldn’t be given by white folks. It’s been a very special thing.”

Sampson has used his platform as an actor to advocate for social justice, from attending council meetings to protesting in the streets and even co-founding the nonprofit BLD PWR alongside Mike de la Rocha and Tia Oso in March 2019.

Reflecting on his experience with the show, Sampson heralds his Insecure crew showing up when they weren’t obligated to, especially during the national protests over George Floyd’s death in the summer of 2020.

“I’ll always be grateful that during the uprisings, my cast and crew… didn’t have to support the movement, and didn’t have to support me when I went through crises, but they showed up in the streets, they showed up at meetings, they showed up for my own personal organizing efforts and our nonprofit,” he shares.

In general, they “showed up for Black people in ways that were super impressive in the movement and really drove home for me that I could do my work in liberation and have a career for us, by us… meaning ‘for us’ has to include the community aspect and collective liberation.”

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