You do what you gotta do.
Atlanta may be one of the best shows of 2016 and now officially a Golden Globe winner, taking home two awards including Best Comedy and Best Actor for Donald Glover, but its universal acclaim all goes back to one little white lie. Backstage at the Golden Globes, Glover explained to reporters how he duped FX into letting him make the show of his dreams. “The best things just can’t be explained. I just Trojan Horsed it,” he admitted. “I told FX the show was something it wasn’t until we got there and then hoped it would be enjoyable.” Once green-lit, it never mattered to Glover if no one but he and the people closest to him liked the show, so long as it got his hometown’s approval. “I only cared about what people in Atlanta thought. Like you can’t name a show Detroit and have Detroit people hate it. I really only cared if my parents, cousins, and everyone in Atlanta thought it was cool,” he said. “If I could go to a Chick-fil-A and have people be like, ‘Yo, have you seen this Donald Glover show?’ Then okay cool, it’s touching something personal.”
For Glover, the show’s been gestating as far back as college, a memory he was reminded of when he returned to Atlanta to make the series: “I went home a year and a half ago and my mom was clearing out my room and she handed my brother a box of stuff. He pulls out this letter I forgot I sent to him from college: ‘Yo, I had this dream where we write a show together.’ It’s been in my head a long time,” he said. (Glover’s brother Stephen is now a writer on the show.) Glover continued: “I truly do believe in magic and we’ve forgotten it. That’s kind of the dream part of my show. You’ve gotta believe in keeping the magic. We live in a time where things are very divisive. Human joy is super important. It comes from believing in something. It’s our responsibility to make magic again. A lot of shit that’s happening right now is bullshit.”
Equally magical as getting to be the auteur of a show so specific to growing up in Atlanta? Migos. Glover thanked the Atlanta rap trio, who made a cameo on the show, in his speech, but saved his highest praise for backstage. “I think they’re the Beatles of this generation and I don’t think they get a lot of respect beyond Atlanta,” he said. “That song [’Bad and Boujee’] is just fly. There’s no better song to have sex to.” Head to your nearest bedroom to celebrate!
Reporting by Lisa Butterworth.