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Why Donald Glover’s Hit Series ‘Atlanta’ Hit’s Home For The Culture

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We knew Donald Glover’s, Atlanta was going to be something serious when the beat dropped on the intro and it was OJ Da Juiceman’s “No Hook”. Men lie, women lie, but numbers don’t and these ratings are telling nothing but the truth.  Atlanta has the highest ratings on basic cable comedy since 2013, FX Networks report that the series debut garnered the “best audience of any basic cable primetime scripted comedy”If you haven’t had a chance to watch and are wondering what all of the hype is about surrounding the dramedy, we are here to help.

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“If a movie features a black family, it’s about them being black, and not about them being a family. If you watch Friends, it’s not about them being white. Atlanta shows all different kinds of black people, and not all the jokes are Kool-Aid jokes. That’s funny, I guess but I’m a little over that” –  Zazie Beetz tells Nylon Mag

It has taken ages for minorities to see true representations of their unique narratives on Television. Shows like Blackish, The Fosters, The Cosby Show, Fresh Prince Of Bellaire, and many others have contributed to the disruption of stereotypes by accurately portraying minorities that deviate from the invisible “norm” that has been oppressing the black community since the beginning of time. Atlanta is smashing that norm and has the ability to go down in the books as one of the most innovative comedy shows of our time. Atlanta is more than a show for African Americans and giggle’s on black twitter (although the twitter community is super lit every Tuesday @ 9 PM CST). This series hits home for a lot of us and resonates deeply with viewers on so many levels and it is pleasantly overwhelming. It is reminiscent of that one song or album that just “gets you” and brings out topics and feelings that you didn’t even know you had. 

Side Bar: #BlackTwitter deserves an Emmy award for all of the support and promotion that is given out for free, from pushing Nelly’s streaming campaign, to never missing a beat during shows like Atlanta, Power, and The Get Down

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This is why Atlanta hits home for a lot of us……..

Mental Health:

 Mental illnesses have always been brushed under the rug, ridiculed, and ignored in the African American community. Even though statistics show that  African Americans are 20% more likely to report having serious psychological distress than non-Hispanic Whites, there is still a large stigma surrounding the issue. African American’s who suffer from mental illnesses are more than likely to be written off as crazy or weak because we have normalized our own suffering. This stigma started during slavery, slaves would hide their issues to avoid abuse and harsh treatment. Even though you can’t physically see the pain someone is going through it is there — can you imagine going through life with an open wound?

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Sexuality:

Calling someone “gay” in the African American community has always been a “fighting word”, the term is offensive and meant to push buttons. The extreme suppression of homosexuality can result in aggression, addiction, depression, and even suicide. Atlanta didn’t just cover homosexuality, they addressed sexuality as a whole, in a scene involving a male and a transgender. Sexuality is a spectrum, you can really do whatever you want.

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 Chicken:

Food connects us as a culture, from your aunties mac & cheese at the family reunion to lemon pepper chicken wings from Wingstop. It’s lit.

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“Keeping Up With The Jones” (Image/Status/Identity):

In the African-American community, rappers and athletes are put on a pedestal. The ladies love them and the men want to be them. Often times we forget that they are human beings just like the rest of us, the only difference is they had a dream and they went for it despite all odds that were pinned against them. As Paperboy’s character develops we realize that he’s nowhere near as hard and rough around the edges as his music. He mentions that he doesn’t like to eat in front of people because he feels as though he will look like a zoo animal.

It is crazy to think that this “hard” rapper is anxious to do something as simple as eat in public. What’s crazier is that he is not the only dark skinned big black male who feels this way, and has those insecurities. During this same scene, a waiter expresses to Paperboy that he appreciates him for making “real” music. “Real” meaning music about the streets, drugs, and gun violence.

The bad boy facade that came with Paperboy’s rapper image was contradicted when he stops a group of kids from imitating him with their fake gun. The mother of the children treated Paperboy like trash until he mentioned who he was, she didn’t even care about her child threatening to kill another little boy with a fake gun anymore because she was infatuated with the “rapper”.

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Image and status are one of the more subtle issues that African-Americans are facing today. We came from nothing so when we get something, we don’t know how to act (as our grandma or mother would say). We start buying expensive and unnecessary material objects just to show our peers that we “made it”. We get to the suburbs and think we are  better than those who are not on our level yet, forgetting that years ago we were right beside them. Beyond skin color, geographical location, and religion, our tax bracket divides us as a human race in a major way and it’s called classism.

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 Natural Hair:

Earn’s girlfriend untwists her Bantu knots on the first episode, giving us all the life. For years African American women have permed and weaved their hair, not even being aware of all of the beauty that is underneath. Television and media play a role in why black girls are not comfortable with their natural hair. When everyone that we look up to in the magazines, movies, and on TV have this unrealistic long bone straight hair or long loose curls, it can make us feel like something is wrong with our tight coils. Representations like this will show girls that you can be beautiful and wanted just the way you are, no changes or additions are necessary.

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Being Broke With A Million Dollar Dream aka “The Struggle”:

 Dreamers, college students, and people, in general, can relate to the “struggle” of being broke. While laying the bricks down to your foundation the struggle can get really real. You might feel like you are the only one checking your bank app to make sure there is enough money to go out with your friends but the gag is (word to KeKe Palmer), you are not alone. Don’t let the struggle get you down, everyone has been there and it builds character. Trust the process.

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Bars/Gems That Will Get You Through:

“As humans were always close to destruction, life itself is nothing but a series of close calls. How would you know you are alive unless you knew you could die” – Darius

“Resistance is a symptom of the way things are. Not the way things necessarily should be. Actual victory belongs to things that simply do not see failureLet the path push you like a broken branch in the rivers current.” –  Random Man On Subway

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XOXO
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1 Comment
  • Atunga
    September 16, 2016

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