cover image Greater Atlanta: Black Satire after Obama

Greater Atlanta: Black Satire after Obama

Edited by Derek C. Maus and James J. Donahue. Univ. of Mississippi, $30 trade paper (304p) ISBN 978-1-4968-5056-0

SUNY Potsdam English professors Maus and Donahue (Post-Soul Satire) bring together rewarding if dense essays expounding on racial commentary in the FX show Atlanta (2016–2022), which follows a rapper and his manager/cousin as they try to make it in the eponymous city’s music scene. In “The Perils of Enjoying One’s Wounds,” Derek Conrad Murray lauds the show for giving the lie to “ghetto stereotypes,” but questions whether its depictions of financial insecurity partake in the entertainment industry’s tendency to “characterize Blackness as deprivation.” Lola Boorman argues in “What the Hell Is Muckin’?” that misunderstandings between Atlanta’s Black characters push back against “the notion of a unified and knowable ‘vernacular’ ” and “complicate assertions of shared racial identity.” Elsewhere, Tikenya Foster-Singletary contends that the show “destabilize[s] race by inviting the audience to examine” characters who don’t conform to expected “presentations of Blackness,” and Emily Ruth Rutter explores how Atlanta and Jordan Peele’s 2017 film, Get Out, skewer white liberals for reinforcing “hegemonic power structures while hiding behind the rhetorical guise of social justice advocacy.” The academic jargon can be tough to wade through, but the erudite analysis unpacks the complex ideas embedded in the series’s surreal vision of Atlanta. This will enhance fans’ appreciation of the show. (May)