You’ve seen every worthy show on Netflix, listened to every quick-witted and sometimes vulgar comedy skit by Donald Glover, and you were too poor to see Childish Gambino (his artist alter ego)’s “Pharos Experience” in Joshua Tree. All this has left you with no idea when the album will actually be released and a little bit of time on your hands. Well Fambinos, you are in for a real treat every Tuesday at 10 PM on FX.
Not only did “Atlanta” receive an impressive 100% rating on Rotten Tomatoes, but critics are calling it “one of the best new shows on television.” What is so compelling about this show is the raw glimpse into the life of a city that the 3,452,159 American citizens who do not live there would not otherwise get to see. This is exactly what Glover wanted, going so far as to tell The Daily Beast, “The things that people are most attracted to online are the things that are the realest, the most honest. We tried to do that on the show because I feel like that’s a part of being black that most people don’t see. I’m trying to make people feel black.”
In doing so, Donald has come up with the most authentic show I have seen since Aziz Ansari’s “Master of None.” It thankfully lacks a laugh track and follows Donald Glover’s character “Earn” through his life as a father, a working black man, and soon, an aspiring rapper. Fans of Glover might notice some clear similarities between Earn’s character and how he portrays himself in his comedy and music. Specifically, in his song “Backpackers” off the 2011 album “Camp,” he refers to himself as “the only white rapper who’s allowed to say the n-word” and also a “nerdy ass black kid.”
Throughout almost the entirety of the show, he can be spotted wearing a backpack and there is a clear distinction between his demeanor and that of his acquaintances such as his friend ‘Paper Boi.’ A rougher around the edges, more abrasive character than Earn, Paper Boi gets him into a bit of trouble when the two become involved in a parking lot shooting. When word gets out about the confrontation, it leads to some of many woke moments I anticipate in this show.
“Atlanta”- to keep it relatively short but still high on the woke meter- shows the real struggles of making it in the rap industry in a way that mainstream media can’t. Glover seems to be on a mission to expose these racially charged predicaments that are sadly the reality of many black people trying to succeed in music or life in general. This show features unjust encounters with law enforcement that our black citizens are faced with every day. While there is no clear answers to the questions Glover raises, the fact that he is raising them is a step in the right direction.
If there were an award for the most woke show of 2016, “Atlanta” would win by a landslide.