Donald Glover delivers another one-off episode apart from the main storyline, focusing on race yet again, but from a mixed perspective. The timely episode also features a special guest.
This week’s episode of Atlanta offers another one-off chapter with Donald Glover in the director’s seat to tackle racial identity.
In this episode, we follow high school senior Aaron as he prepares for life in college. The episode is in black and white and starts with Aaron playing a video game, Flamethrower 2, online before hitting the post-game lobby and calling everyone else the N-word with a hard ER. This bomb is set up by slowly showing his room featuring Logan Paul merch and Post Malone posters.
Right after, we see Aaron headed to school with his Black father, who is not here for signing anything related to loans or FASFA for his college dreams to attend school in Arizona with his white friends. Once Aaron steps into his local high school, it’s very clear Aaron is a mixed kid trying his hardest to identify as white. You see Aaron embrace his white friends and girlfriend and they are all sporting Abercrombie head-to-toe.
Then, all the seniors are told they need to head to the gym for a special announcement. The late Kevin Samuels is introduced as Robert Shea Lee, who is the heir to a thriving multi-million hair care empire. Lee reveals he will be paying college tuition for all students–well, all students that are Black.
Aaron seems uncomfortable and doesn’t think it’s fair and questions why it isn’t based on the parent’s race.
We won’t give it all away, but let’s just say by the end, Aaron steps into his Blackness, and even the last line from him is a clever play into the racial identity in a way that won’t hit you at first.