The Cast of ‘Atlanta’ on Trump, Race and Fame


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HENRY I stay in Harlem, and I’ve lived there for seven years. There’s this dude who lives upstairs, and I’ve seen him on a regular basis on the elevator. On a regular basis. By no means communicate. After which rapidly, he’s like: “You reside right here? That’s actually nice — congratulations!” After which I discover out that he posted on Fb: “Simply discovered that Paper Boi lives downstairs from me.” I’ve lived right here for seven years! And don’t inform everyone!

Season 1 ended up being this nice poaching floor for the actors — you might have Marvel motion pictures, Disney motion pictures.

BEETZ All of us offered out. [Laughter]

Does making that leap from underground sensation offer you a special understanding of this extra intimate venture, the place you might have your fingerprints on every little thing?

DONALD GLOVER For me, it’s about understanding demise. These huge issues will not be attempting to die. They’re combating tooth and nail to remain alive and be related. I’m not saying they’re unhealthy — typically they’re. However they’re not sitting there like, “Is that this film good?” They’re like, “Is that this film going to promote blankets?”

That’s numerous what this season is about — survival. Me and Hiro by no means speak about how we’re going to get to Season 7. We’re by no means nervous. If FX canceled us tomorrow, I might be like, “Dope.” I actually wouldn’t be unhappy in any respect. All these individuals would nonetheless be my associates. And we made good issues.

Black fashionable tradition is flourishing proper now, with “Black Panther,” “Get Out,” reveals like “black-ish,” “The Chi,” “Insecure.” How do you ensure that to maintain the momentum of this second for black creators?

STANFIELD We don’t have to fret about that.

DONALD GLOVER That isn’t our downside. That isn’t our job. Our job is to make nice issues and occur to be black. That’s it.

Is it a second of precise, lasting change?

HENRY When individuals say “second,” that makes me twitch a little bit. I don’t need something to be a second. I need to be right here and have our place within the pantheon. Avenues are lastly open.

As a result of so many individuals latched onto the surrealist moments in “Atlanta,” did you’re feeling the necessity to stay as much as them?

STEPHEN GLOVER As an alternative of chasing the thought of what the individuals need — the identical factor — we considered it as, individuals have been receptive to those loopy concepts, so now we all know something is feasible. Our concepts might be much more loopy.


Due to the success of the primary season of “Atlanta,” Stephen Glover mentioned, “Our concepts might be much more loopy.”

Credit score
Bryan Derballa for The New York Occasions

You’ve had a run of nice cameos — Migos, Jaleel White, Katt Williams within the new season. How many individuals did you must flip down this time round?

STEPHEN GLOVER [Laughs] There have been lots of people who needed to be on this season, after all. However it’s additionally a type of issues the place everyone’s saying, “Oh yeah, I’ll do it.” And then you definately’re like, “All proper, be right here right now.” And it’s: “Oh, truly …” I keep in mind Chris Rock instructed me, as soon as individuals like him begin asking to be on the present, don’t let anyone do it.

You additionally touched on numerous delicate debates in Season 1 — transgender points, clearly race, police brutality, gun tradition. On this second, the place even somebody like Dave Chappelle is getting dragged for sure jokes, did you ever fear about what you possibly can or can’t say?

STEPHEN GLOVER With our present, we speak about being actual. With the Montague episode [a debate over race and gender on a Charlie Rose-like talk show], we have been simply attempting to point out an actual factor, and it wasn’t about being preachy. It’s simply reflecting the world we stay in.

DONALD GLOVER To faux like there may be not racism, colorism, sexism, killing, all of the worst elements of humanity in that space is doing a disservice to black individuals and humanity. If you happen to don’t like among the [expletive] that’s within the present, cease taking music out of our colleges, cease being profitable out of our areas.

I simply assume that’s an issue millennials have — issues ought to be this manner. [Holds up iPhone] So as so that you can even have this cellphone, a slave needed to make it. Confront that. Cope with that. Don’t sit right here and be like, we must always censor it and make every little thing lovely. As a result of it’s not lovely out right here.

That’s a white downside, to be trustworthy. I don’t assume any black individual is watching the present being like, “You may’t do this.” It’s: “Yeah, that’s my uncle.” Or: “Yeah, that’s some actual [expletive].” I don’t have to wash that up for you. It’s a must to take care of the truth that that’s on the market. I can’t change that, actually. I can simply present you.

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