DONALD GLOVER’S ATLANTA PICTURE OF LIVING HELL!
HELLO AMERICA! When hearing that young DONALD GLOVER, an actor-director who has proven to so many in the entertainment industry he has so much to offer in every creative direction, I was anticipating to view something quite extraordinary in his ATLANTA series. However, I sat watching two episodes in utter horror at the blatant ignorance, stupidity, and garbage spewed on the screen. The idea this young black man would create even more dirt and filth laced with every dark, stupid ghetto lie of who we are as a people was quite devastating, indeed.
He stressed that his aim was to reveal the real faces of blacks living in the ghetto as if they are all the same. This concept is and was utterly insulting To make things worse, nearly all of his characters both men and women were painted as low class, uneducated, representing absolutely nothing uplifting but at every turn, spewing out the “N” word as if they were yelling “have a good day!”
During my young years growing up in Morton, 10 miles from Philadelphia, a small community inhabited of mostly people of color with whites scattered here and there. In no way did people, especially young people relate to each other in such an inhuman, jungle animalistic way. Everyone knew what they had to do in order to survive, especially during the Big War. The language spoken in the “Atlanta” film was if the characters were inhabiting in the darkest part of an unknown world without any human perspective or social standards in which to move one’s life forward. Without a doubt, you would need an interpreter to survive an hour in the mythical neighborhood suggested by Glover.
This Glover’s jungle, one which would have been quite acceptable of an earlier generation of filmmaking when the characters were seen as servants or cotton pickers in some hot field, responding when the master called with,” YASSA BOSS!” would be quite acceptable with the times of bondage but not in this century. After nearly two centuries of growth and considerable state of freedom as well as choice, it is definitely not acceptable. Blacks are much more than the street life in many ghettos of this nation. Many who are forced to reside under those conditions are struggling for an education, have dreams of escaping the hell they have been possibly born into. There are tons of fathers and mothers who work two or three jobs to keep their families safe and sound as well as supporting what dreams their kids might have. They struggle to have their children not experience the difficulties, the hell they might have been forced to face or handle.
Glover paints a picture of young men who no one with any respectability would accept on their front steps and circus-type girls with elephant size bottoms and balloon breasts reminding one of Frank Buck’s films that centered on the deepest part of the African jungle. This causes anger because it will only enhance the belief that producing films such as this will still make money, in no way will the studios or production companies desist from marketing this type of motion picture or TV fare. And allowing this to continue only infuses the belief by other young people of color to continue the trend of ignorance and darkness when it comes to centering stories around people of color.
In no way is it possible to support Donald Glover and his limited view of his own people when it is so obvious who he is and where he comes from. All one has to do is view how he comes across when the camera is rolling. Atlanta is much more than what he has made it out to be just to please a studio that obviously doesn’t give a damn about history or who we are as a people.
Michael St. John