Donald Glover’s new FX series “Atlanta” is a hit. It made Twitter users excited from the first few minutes, as many praised the realistic view of Black life.
And it has an all-Black writing staff to thank for that.
Glover spoke to Vulture ahead of the series’ Sept. 6 premiere and explained why he created such a show in the first place.
“I wanted to show white people, you don’t know everything about Black culture,” he said. “I know it’s very easy to feel that way. Like, I get it, you can hear about the Nae Nae the day it comes out, you follow Hood Vines, and you have your one Black friend and you think they teach you everything.”
Writers on the series are mostly Atlanta natives, aside from Stefani Robinson and the Stone Mountain, Georgia-raised Glover. Others include Glover’s brother Stephen and his roommate Jamal Olori.
The actor – who also raps as Childish Gambino – serves as the co-writer, executive producer and star of “Atlanta.” He plays Earnest ‘Earn’ Marks who seeks to manage his cousin Paper Boi’s burgeoning rap career. Paper Boi sells drugs with his adviser and friend Darius. That’s something Earn is familiar with in passing but doesn’t participate in. The character balances his roots with his existence in predominantly white spaces.
When it came to the network’s view of how the show should portray Paper Boi’s living space, the situation reverted to a stereotype. They wanted him to live in a “trap-like” home.
“We were like, ‘No, he’s a drug dealer, he makes enough money to live in a regular apartment,’ “Glover explained. “There were some things so subtle and Black that people had no idea what we were talking about.”
During the series premiere, viewers shared their reactions to “Atlanta’s” portrayals online.
Craig Jenkins related to the way Earn’s family treats him.
Donald Glover's family in 'Atlanta' fries him on sight just like mine does.
— Craig Bro Dude (@CraigSJ) September 7, 2016
@blvckprivileged thanked “Atlanta” for showing Earn’s ex-girlfriend Vanessa wearing a hair scarf before removing her Bantu knots.
Thank you for putting his girlfriend with a head tye and you got her taking out Bantu knots! Yassss #atlanta #atlantafx
— mrs. chartreuse 🍸 (@pisceanoracle) September 7, 2016
@Aqua174 applauded the “sophisticated and nuanced” look into Blackness.
No shucking and jiving or coonery, just a sophisticated and nuanced mirror on Blackness. Hope #AtlantaFX gets a fair shot.
— Alvin aqua Blanco (@Aqua174) September 7, 2016
Meanwhile, @FlowsAndolini identified with a certain food order.
The lemon pepper wet #AtlantaFX pic.twitter.com/xxMMuvdy3q
— Cornel Flows (@FlowsAndolini) September 7, 2016
“The Birth of a Nation” actress Gabrielle Union also shared praise for the show.
Man, very proud of @donaldglover !!! #AtlantaFX is a winner and like nothing you've ever seen before! PS @stanfield_keith is comedy gold
— Gabrielle Union (@itsgabrielleu) September 7, 2016
So did YouTube personality Kid Fury.
It was a fantastic start though. Great points made and it was hilarious all the way through. #AtlantaFX
— Small Freedia (@KidFury) September 7, 2016
Watch the premiere episode of “Atlanta” below.