morning after

What Donald Glover Said to Lena Dunham After His Girls Arc

Glover and Dunham. Photo: HBO

During the second season of Girls, Donald Glover had a two-episode arc as Sandy, Hannah Horvath’s black Republican boyfriend. At the time, it seemed that Glover’s role was a meant to pacify critics of the show’s whiteness and Hannah’s privilege. His character said as much to Dunham’s during their breakup scene. In a New Yorker profile of Glover ahead of Atlanta’s second season, Dunham and Glover revisited the arc:

When Hannah broke up with him, Sandy began pumping his shoulders to imitate her privileged cluelessness: “‘Oh, I’m a white girl, and I moved to New York and I’m having a great time, and, Oh, I’ve got a fixed-gear bike, and I’m going to date a black guy and we’re going to go to a dangerous part of town.’” Dunham told me that Glover improvised his lines: “Every massive insult of white women was one hundred per cent him. I e-mailed him later to say ‘I hope you feel the part on Girls didn’t tokenize you,’ and his response was really Donald-y and enigmatic: ‘Let’s not think back on mistakes we made in the past, let’s just focus on what lies in front of us.’”

Dunham has nothing but positive things to say about Glover and Atlanta’s success: “At least 20 people have told me, ‘I’d like to make something like Atlanta.’ And I say, ‘Oh, you mean a show that toggles between painful drama and super-surrealist David Lynch moments to take on race in America?’” she said. “That’s not a genre — that’s Donald.”

What Donald Glover Said to Lena Dunham After His Girls Arc