“Atlanta” co-writers Stefani Robinson and Stephen Glover alleged that the writing team were targets of racism while filming the upcoming Season 3 in London.
“It was the first night there,” Glover, who serves as a screenwriter alongside brother and series creator Donald Glover, said during the Television Critics Association winter press tour, as reported by Insider. “This group of people walks up. And maybe one of them kind of notices Donald or recognizes him. And she stops and they start asking if they know anywhere around here to get something to drink. I think we were talking to them for a second. It’s this girl and two or three guys.”
Glover continued that one man accompanying the woman accused the “Atlanta” team of being able to break into a closed bar because “you guys all carry hammers,” slang for guns.
“Mind you, all of the writers on ‘Atlanta’ are Black. So, he’s making a reference that we all have hammers, and we can just break into this place, which we kind of ignored,” Glover said.
Co-writer Robinson said, “It was so insulting but not insulting at the same time because it took us five minutes to fully understand. He got to a point of like if the insinuation was lost on us, he got specific and he was like, ‘You guys are Black, you’ve gone to jail and you do things like that.’ Like he kept doubling down on it.”
Glover added, “She’s talking to us. And then, after a minute, the guy just runs back down the street and grabs her and throws her over his shoulder, and he’s like, ‘Run. They are going to rape you, like, rape you.’ The girl was literally, like, ‘I’m sorry,’ as she’s being taken away. So, it was pretty bad. We are just standing there, like, ‘What just happened?'”
Season 3 takes place mostly in Europe, with the core cast — Donald Glover, Brian Tyree Henry, LaKeith Stanfield, and Zazie Beetz — navigating being outsiders in a foreign city.
“Season 3 is about curses and the curse of whiteness,” screenwriter Glover explained. “White people have blind spots, obviously to race and things that are going on. They’re affected by this, too. It’s not just Black people who are going through this and having a hard time. You’re actually affected by it, too. The first episode does a perfect job of showing how both sides are affected by this.”
The third season will premiere at 2022 SXSW and on FX March 24, with Season 4 to follow later in 2022. Series creator and star Donald Glover confirmed that the end for FX’s “Atlanta” is near but “death is natural.”
The writer, director, and executive producer, who also goes by stage name Childish Gambino as a musical artist, explained during the Television Critics Association winter press tour that the “conditions are right” for “Atlanta” to conclude after Season 4.
“I don’t feel any longevity, because then things start to get weird,” Glover said, via Variety. “The story was always supposed to be what it was. And the story, it really was us. Everybody in that writers’ room, everybody on set. It really was what we were going through and what we talked about…I think it ends perfectly.”
“Atlanta” has not aired a new episode since May 2018. Glover said during the TCAs that he hopes FX will include a disclaimer before episodes that were written in 2019 that seemed to prophesize the events of 2020.
“The world is extremely predictable. We really just knew how a lot of this stuff was going to pan out,” Glover said. “Everybody needs to know that we wrote this in 2019. All the shit that’s in there is actually just us being like, ‘Oh, this is how the cycle works.'”
Glover also revealed that parts of Season 4 changed since the COVID-19 pandemic and Black Lives Matter movement.
“We all got older and just went through our life. I think COVID was a very reflective time. So all of us kind of grew up,” Glover said. “The show’s very punk in a lot of ways, and I think we became more not punk, because we cared about stuff.”
But perhaps don’t say goodbye to the “Atlanta” characters just yet.
“We’re all eager to figure out what becomes of the gang, what happens to us. I was wondering, what happens to older rappers? What is Albert at 55? Is he still going to be doing the same thing?” star Henry said. “But that’s the great part of coming to an end. For us, it just naturally felt like it was time.”