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Donald Glover Addresses Criticism That Atlanta Isn't for Black People

The show's creator and star says he takes the critcism to heart, but "if you're online, everybody's gonna have an agenda."
  • Donald Glover in Atlanta (Photo: Coco Olakunle/FX)
    Donald Glover in Atlanta (Photo: Coco Olakunle/FX)

    At FX's TCA panel on Tuesday, Donald and Stephen Glover addressed criticism that Atlanta isn't for the Black community, Deadline reported.

    "To be real, if you're online, everybody's gonna have an agenda on some level," Donald Glover said. "It would be silly to say that sometimes what people say doesn't affect you because — especially being Black — I feel like a lot of the Black criticism bothers me only because it sounds like [it's from] Black people who don't really know what we've been through. I don't think they give a lot of credit to what we've gone through. So to be like, 'Oh, these Black people hate Black people or these Black people hate Black women.' — I'm like, it’s such a small view of who we are. I feel like it might even be because of what we've been through that you look at us the way you look at us."

    Glover added, "I kind of feel like I'm a little through with the culture, personally. I do a lot of this shit for the people. But the culture, I think at this point, I think a lot of us are sitting here being like, 'Yo, a lot of this shit was learned because of f*cked up shit that happened to us. And we actually have to relearn a lot of stuff.' So if you're sitting there being like, 'Oh, this is misogynoir,' I'm wondering why you think that and why you think I feel that way when I'm nothing without my people. It's just kind of wack to me. Some of that to me is just Internet people trying to get hot, which is also something we learned in the system we're in."

    During the Atlanta panel, Glover told reporters that he reads a lot of the criticism leveled at him and the series and said, "the conversation isn't as elevated as it should be."

    He continued, "There are better ways to talk about it rather than like with shit I've heard in fourth grade about who we are because I feel this is such a Black show. To say it's only for white people, it's like we're cutting ourselves down, which is kind of wack to me."

    His younger brother, Stephen Glover, who is also a producer and writer for Atlanta, said he takes in the criticism as well.

    "For me, one thing that I don't like is when people say the show isn't for Black people because I think it very much is for Black people," said Stephen Glover. "That kind of thing rubs me the wrong way."

    He added, "But I will also say being in Atlanta and walking around — or even like in LA — I run into Black people all the time who tell me this is their favorite show and how they appreciate everything we do. They also say we're making them want to do cooler and weirder stuff. You know, like the TikTok generation kids, they'll hit me up online and say how much they love the episodes. So for me, that's the real kind of conversations that are happening out there. Internet stuff isn't always real. It's not how people really feel. I kind of get my feelings from the streets, to sum that up."

    Season 4 of Atlanta premieres on FX September 15 at 10:00 PM before streaming on Hulu the next day. The first three seasons of the show are currently available to stream on Hulu.

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    Deena ElGenaidi's writing has been featured in Nylon, MTV News, Insider, The AV Club, and more. You can follow her on Twitter @deenaelg.

    TOPICS: Atlanta, FX, Donald Glover, Stephen Glover