Donald Glover’s “Atlanta” channeled its inner “Get Out” during the second episode of Season 2, “Sportin’ Waves.” The episode featured Glover’s Earn and Brian Tyree Henry’s rapper Paper Boi taking a business trip to a streaming-service company for an interview and performance. The company, which was essentially the show’s version of Spotify and Apple Music, included little diversity whatsoever: Virtually every staffer was a white man or woman.
Glover and director Hiro Murai seemed to directly call out Jordan Peele’s Oscar-winning social thriller in one shot where all of the white office workers appeared motionless, almost zombie-like, and staring directly at Earn. When Earn turned around, the workers immediately unfroze and went back to their daily business.
Peele wrote a nearly identical moment in “Get Out.” The Armitage family is throwing a party in which Daniel Kaluuya’s Chris finds himself surrounded by wealthy older white men and women. When he goes upstairs, Peele holds the camera on the white guests who stop what they’re doing, freeze, and look up at the staircase.
Later in the episode, Paper Boi gets onstage to perform for the company, but none of the white employees appear remotely interested. The rapper cuts his performance short and walks offstage. Earn later points out sarcastically that the company had a “vibe.”