With 'Atlanta' Donald wants to tell white people, 'You don’t know everything about black culture.'
In a new interview with New York magazine, Donald Glover talks about his upcoming TV series Atlanta, set to premiere on September 6. Donald left the cult hit Community in order to focus on his own show, and while it's still early days, Atlanta previews certainly make it look as if he made the right call. The show follows two cousins through the city as Donald's character, Earn, tries to take over his cousin's bourgeoning rap career. It's part comedy, part drama, but always true to Donald's own experience as an African American man.
That meant hiring an entirely black writers' room — something that's still extremely rare in Hollywood. "I wanted to show white people, you don't know everything about black culture," Donald told New York. "I know it's very easy to feel that way. Like, I get it, you can hear about the Nae Nae the day it comes out. You follow Hood Vines, and you have your one black friend and you think they teach you everything, but that's not the case," the actor concluded.
When looking for a director Donald met with Tangerine's Sean Baker, but ended up choosing Hiro Murai — the man behind a number of Childish Gambino music videos. "Hiro'd never done narrative before, never done television," Donald explained. "Everybody kept asking, 'Are you sure you want to do it with him?' And I'm really glad, because when I'd ask him, 'Is this normal for a show?' he'd be like, 'I have no idea, I don't know.' But that's how we made something personal. We'd do something and then start giggling and be like, 'That's tight, this is dope, I'd like to see that.'"
"Atlanta" premieres on September 6 on FX.
Text Isabelle Hellyer
Image courtesy FX Networks