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Donald Glover’s “Atlanta” a Social Commentary on Being Black in America

The new FX series follows two cousins as they navigate through the Atlanta rap scene and life itself.

by Tyler Koslow

At this point in time, it’s safe to say that there isn’t much that comedic actor and musician Donald Glover can’t do. Before Glover took over the hip hop game under his moniker Childish Gambino, he was a writer for 30 Rock, and also one of the funniest characters on the college-based show Community.

Now, the 32-year-old entertainer has taking the reins on his new show Atlanta, a dramatic comedy that Glover created, co-wrote, executively produced, and also stars in.

The show, which premiered yesterday on FX, follows Glover’s character Earnest “Earn” Marks, a Princeton dropout looking to effectively manage the rap career of his cousin, Alfred "Paper Boi" Miles (played by Brian Tyree Henry).

The show can be seen as a comedy, but there’s also an underlying social commentary that focuses on being young and black within modern-day America. In the show, Earn must overcome the obstacles and disappointments that have stalled him in his early 20s. While he tries to pull his drug-dealer cousin into hip hop stardom, Earn must also focus on his young daughter, named Lottie, which he conceived with Vanessa (played by Zazie Beetz), who slowly grows weary from child-rearing while her parental partner tries to sift his way through Atlanta’s hip hop scene to make something of himself.

The show touches upon many themes, and aside from being darkly humorous, also explores familial dynamic, ambition, and the daily struggles that come with being a black person in America. The first episode opens with Earnest trying to calm down his aspiring rapper cousin Alfred “Paper Boi” Miles as he confronts someone who just tore off his rearview mirror.

Suddenly, a gunshot rings off, and were thrown back in time to the previous morning, where we see Earn struggle with his less than minimum wage job, his faltering relationship with Vanessa, and his attempts to mend relations with his cousin and help jumpstart his hip hop career

Last night’s premiere earned praise from critics, fans, and celebrities all across the Twitter-sphere. From the Daily Show comedian Roy Wood Jr., to actress Gabrielle Union, and even Chance the Rapper, Glover has received an immense amount of support for his truly unique and eye-opening television show.

 

 


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Tyler Koslow is a Brooklyn-based freelance writer with an intensive focus on technology, music, pop culture, and of course, cannabis and its impending legalization.



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