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Donald Glover Talks ‘Pharos,’ ‘Atlanta’ And The Time A Dog Bit His Butt


If you’ve been having Donald Glover withdrawals, your wait is coming to an end: Glover’s Atlanta will be premiering next month. The highly anticipated series, which Glover insists isn’t autobiographical, explores the life and musical partnership between two cousins in no other city than the hip hop haven itself.

The multi-talented actor-rapper visited The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon earlier this week to discuss the show and his recent hiking adventure where he encountered dangerous animals dogs. He also touched upon his upcoming three-day festival in Joshua Tree, called ‘Pharos,’ where he plans to play his new album for a group of fans.

Recently, Glover opened up to Vulture about how he wants Atlanta to show a different narrative of black culture that isn’t on television. “I wanted to show white people, you don’t know everything about black culture,” he said.

Atlanta is inspired by his life growing up in a middle class household in Stone Mountain, Georgia, a suburban neighbourhood near Atlanta. Other than Glover and his younger brother Stephen, everyone else in the writing room is from Atlanta.

For the first time in television history, all of the writers for the show are black. Just as they expanded the traditional demographic within the writing room, Glover also believed they should work in a non-traditional environment. Instead of an office, they work in a house in Hollywood they call ‘the Factory.’ “We would just sit around and have conversations,” Glover said.

The series is directed by Hiro Murai, a long-time collaborator of Glover who’s directed many of the rapper’s videos (“3005,” “Sober,” “Telegraph Ave,” to name a few).  Despite meeting many directors that have experience in television, Glover wanted to make something personal that isn’t exactly normal and believed Murai, who isn’t used to working with that medium, would be able to do that.

“We’d do something and then start giggling and be like, ‘That’s tight, this is dope, I’d like to see that,'” he said.

To Glover, the location is everything—Atlanta is the epitome of black culture.

“I needed people to understand I see Atlanta as a beautiful metaphor for black people,” he said. The city includes the longest history of black culture and has the largest amount of middle class people of colour in America. Martin Luther King Jr., historical black colleges and over 40 years of black mayors are just a few aspects that make Atlanta the core for black American culture.

It’s about time another black comedian showed the world the black experience in today’s society. The real black experience. Atlanta premieres on September 6.