Issa Rae, Amanda Seales & More Respond to ‘Insecure’s Alpha Kappa Alpha Backlash

'Insecure,' HBO, Natasha Rothwell, Amanda Seales, AKA Usage Criticism
Raymond Liu / HBO; HBO

HBO’s Insecure has come under fire from members of the Alpha Kappa Alpha sorority after the Season 5 premiere featured the use of the organization’s colors and logos.

The final season return saw Issa (Issa Rae) and her friends attend an alumni event at Stanford University. Tiffany (Amanda Seales) donned the sorority’s signature pink and green colors in several outfits, including a sweater featuring its Greek letters.

Some real-life members of the organization called the use of the logo “wildly disrespectful” due to the fact that Seales herself is not a member, though he character has been established as one. “This girl is not a Soror and had my SHIELD on her body,” wrote one person in a now-deleted tweet.

The surprising reactions prompted responses from both Seales and Rae, with Seales addressing the controversy on a recent Instagram story. “Tiffany is a character on a TV show. I didn’t write the character, I played the character. I’m not a soror. I’m an actress and I’m playing a character on a TV show,” she stated. “I’m just playing a character! That’s it. Y’all know that though, but some of y’all don’t. I feel like some folks really forget.”

In another now-deleted tweet, Rae jokingly responded to the issue, stating, “Oh s**t, let me tell @HBO to delete one of the upcoming episodes then, hold on.”

The historical first-ever Black sorority, which was founded in 1908 at Howard University, states on its website that the organization’s badge, coat of arms, and many other names and phrases are federally registered trademarks under the United States Patent and Trademark Office. If used without written consent by AKA, it is considered a case of legal infringement and the users can face prosecution.

Many people came to the Seales’ and Rae’s defense, including actress Yvette Nicole Brown (Community) who herself is a member of AKA. “I am a Silver Soror of@akasorority1908 and I had NO problem with how hard ‘Tiffany’ reps my beloved AKA. & I feel @amandaseales’ pain in this,” she tweeted. “Folks think I’m Shirley. Folks CALL me Shirley. Shirley is a character on a TV show. She is not me & I am not her. #MakeBelieve.”

Some fans are also pointing out that Seales’ character and Yvonne Orji‘s Molly have been members of AKA since the show’s first season.

However, other viewers have discovered emails distributed by the sorority claiming it had not known about the show’s trademark use, and encouraging members to refrain from discussing the matter on social media.

Insecure, Sundays, 10/9c, HBO