(SPOILERS for this week’s Atlanta will be found below.)
Following last week’s chaos in Budapest, the cast and crew of Atlanta are onto the next city as Paper Boi continues his European tour. This week, we don’t know the exact city that the group is in, but if one thing’s for sure, the awkward yet funny adventures that Earn, Paper Boi, Darius, Vanessa, and company find themselves in are still in full effect.
In this week’s episode, which is titled “White Fashion,” Atlanta tackles appropriation and the flaws in social justice reform. Darius experiences the former when he meets a woman (who’s taken an interest in Nigerian cuisine) while Paper Boi deals with the latter when he’s called to help a white fashion company apologize for their offensive errors.
Here are some of the biggest questions we had after season three’s sixth episode.
The ‘Little Mix-Up’ Is A Bit More Than A ‘Little Mix-Up,’ Would You Say?
This week’s episode of Atlanta kicks off with a white fashion designer apologizing for their company’s “little mix-up” during a meeting with Earn and Paper Boi. This “little mix-up” is the “Central Park” No. 5 jersey that was shown in the opening scene as the designer worked out final designs, which he says were inspired by New York’s Central Park. However, the designer failed to notice that the jersey inadvertently referenced the 2012 film Central Park 5. The movie examined the 1989 case of five teenagers who were wrongfully convicted of raping a woman, and as a result, the group spent 6-13 years in prison before a serial rapist confessed to the crime. To add insult to injury, the jersey was promoted with an image that featured a white woman wearing it as she laid beside a group of Black people. With that being said, there’s nothing “little” about this “mix-up,” but it’s another example of the questions decisions that fashion brands make (see: Gucci, H&M, and Burberry).
They Can’t Be This Oblivious To Their Appropriation And Wrongdoings, Right?
By the end of “White Fashion,” you can’t help but be a bit baffled that white people are this oblivious to their appropriation and wrongdoings. So much so that calling them oblivious may be cutting them unnecessary slack for their actions. There’s the white designer’s “Central Park” No. 5 jersey and Sharon’s decision to buy out the property of the Nigerian restaurant, shut it down, and then start her own Nigerian cuisine food truck despite having no knowledge or experience in crafting Nigerian food. We also have the fashion company’s decision to take Paper Boi’s “Reinvest In Your Hood” idea and, as he puts it, “all lives matter” it into something far removed from his original idea. These incidents are detailed with a comedic touch, but as the saying goes, “behind every joke there is some truth,” and the truth here is just as baffling as it is frustrating.
Wouldn’t It Be Easier To Fund An Idea Rather Than Steal It And (Unsuccessfully) Emulate It?
I mean think about it! Would you steal a luxury car that you have no idea how to operate? Probably not, because when you steal something, which we strongly advise against doing, you should have some sort of getaway plan in place to make sure you’re successful. It would make a lot more sense to pay someone who’s experienced in operating the vehicle to get the job done. This same applies to Sharon and her Nigerian food trunk. Shutting down the owner’s restaurant, which offered authentic Nigerian cuisine, in order to serve her own Great Value version of it, which will ultimately prove to be a failure sooner than later, makes little sense. The creations that Black people make are taught by family and/or inspired by our experiences in this twisted world. Without either of those, emulating these creations will lack the authenticity it truly needs to be successful. There are other ways, many of which are more beneficial, to support these causes.
Why Is A Finesse Needed For Social Reforms?
Paper Boi learns a few lessons when he joins the social justice cohort in this week’s episode. Despite everything that the world has shown him in terms of their treatment of Black people, he still approaches the reform with the thought that white people will make changes and take a step towards making a more equal world once Black people explicitly tell them what needs to be done. So when his idea to “reinvest the hood” is taken and turned into something completely different than what he imagined, his anger is very understandable. However, Khalil, a fellow member of the social justice cohort, notes that as good as Paper Boi’s idea was, it was no monetary benefit to the company which caused them to alter it. We’d love to think that white people will sacrifice their power, control, and influence, for a more equal world, but the direct or indirect question more times than not is “what’s in it for us?” And thus, enter: the finesse.
Is Earn Too Worrisome Or Is Vanessa Too Nonchalant?
Aside from Darius and Paper Boi’s dealings during the show, Earn has a few moments of his own during the episode, one of which sees him reconnect with Vanessa. They run into each other at a hotel, and after Earn helps fend off a white woman’s loud, obnoxious, and maybe true accusations of robbery against Vanessa, they head off to their hotel room to end the night. It’s here that Vanessa says Earn is too worrisome, which he denies. Earn’s worries, especially when it comes to Vanessa’s whereabouts as they share a child, are completely valid, but there is a bit of truth to Vanessa’s words. A relaxed and carefree moment or two would probably serve Earn well, but managing an artist and their tour overseas leaves little room for that. One could also say that Vanessa is too nonchalant as she sees no issue with aimlessly wandering who knows where in Europe without communicating with Earn. Long story short, two truths can exist when it comes to this question.
FX’s ‘Atlanta’ airs on Thursdays at 10:00pm EST.