Hollywood’s march to inclusivity and diversity has been slow and painful. Clueless executives call the shots, white-wash characters, and often cast Black actors in stereotypical roles. For Donald Glover’s upcoming show, Atlanta, things initially were no different.
Atlanta, which will premiere on FX in September, is a show about two cousins with differing views on how to make it in hip-hop. When Glover presented the show to the network, they were incredibly supportive, but also completely out of touch. The network suggested that one of the characters live in a “trap-like” house.
In an interview with Rembert Browne for NY Mag’s Vulture, Glover revealed, “We were like, ‘No, he’s a drug dealer, he makes enough money to live in a regular apartment.’ There were some things so subtle and black that people had no idea what we were talking about.”
WANT MORE FROM ESSENCE? Subscribe to our daily newsletter for the latest in hair, beauty, style and celebrity news.
Glover’s show is set to really tap into Black culture and Atlanta’s rap scene. The entire writing staff is black and many are Atlanta natives, and for some it was also their first time in a writer’s room.
Glover also recounts filming a scene with his long-time music video director Hiro Murai, who he hired as the show’s primary director, where one character speaks with a twang specific to Altanta. “After three takes, Hiro took me aside and was like, ‘I don’t know what he’s saying.’ To Hiro, this guy is speaking patois. That character is an artifact,” said Glover. “Culturally, we’re becoming very homogenized. That dude isn’t going to be around in seven years. You aren’t going to be able to find him. White people are moving into Bankhead…It’s important that dude gets represented in this show.”
Glover adds, “With this show, with this music, I’m just trying to make classics. The second season of Atlanta will be a classic.”
Altanta premieres September 9 on FX.