*Stands up and slow claps until it catches on*. Atlanta premiered on FX last night with not one, but two episodes. Almost immediately, I began to observe the show taking extremely comical scenes and underlining them with serious displays of issues in the black community.
If you haven’t watched, this new series primarily centers around an up and coming rap artist (Paperboy), his entourage/visionary/homie (Darius) and the incredibly multi-talented Donald Glover as Earn. The show takes a unique stance on ‘Rap life versus real life’ and exactly how it affects our youth and communities. I couldn’t help but notice how authentic every single thing felt about this series. It was such a refreshing visual experience as an African American to see multi-layered black characters with relateable daily life issues. One scene in particular almost leaped from my television and into my conscious. In the jail scene, 2 characters struggled with taboo stigmatisms in the black community of homosexuality and mental illness. The inmate, wearing hospital garment, was a regular at the county jail. So much so, that the Correctional Officers humorously boasted how often he frequented the jail. Donald’s character simply asked “Why is he in here every week?” and was instantly told to “shutup”. This struck a melody of chords with me considering that the black community historically downplays and almost encourages mental illnesses. It is a testament of how we would laugh and enterntain mentally ill african americans in our culture and afraid to step out of our comfort to find the solution or help they may desperately need. We see it everyday on social media be it Ice JJ Fish, Sharlett (plus size dancer on Instagram) or “Got eem” Welvin, just to name a few. Unfortunately, mental health is not taken as seriously as it should be and perhaps this new series can be the catalyst for open conversations on this plaguing issue. I thoroughly look forward to every black ass episode from here on out. I’m elated because we desperately needed black television that actually displays what and who we are in these current times. Something no scripted concoction of Mona Scott Young could immulate. Donald Glover just doesn’t disappoint. Atlanta, ya got yourself a new fan and I’ll see you next week!