Call it high. Call it low. Hell, even call it prêt-à-porter. Clothing is an essential part of our lives. It keeps us warm and protects us from the elements. It may even look good on us.
Before we open our maws to introduce ourselves, what we look like speaks volumes. How we present ourselves is necessary for the entre to what we’re about to say.
Sometimes, clothing belies a bigger thing. A pair of Louboutins doesn’t take away the fact you may be an asshole and a good pair of slacks doesn’t erase the fact you may harbor a secret…
…Especially if you didn’t pay for it.
Welcome to the sixth episode of Atlanta (FX) titled, “White Fashion”.
We open in on a fashion house. Marcello wants to make the shit chic, but accessible.
Never pair an Italian brain with French fashion.
He’s super into Mr. Spagooti. The dude’s basically like the rockstar of art. Think of OBEY and SUPREME but with slightly a more artistic bend. Fuck it, he’ll put that stamp on anything and triple the price and it would sell like gangbusters.
Before the Chairman of the board leaves, he wants a piece for his grandson. As it turns out, Eniola’s (Anita-Joy Uwajeh) package came in quite quickly for the child and the whole company gets to cash in another day. This was all because of a simple character logo.
I’m pretty certain that these blokes in London don’t know what down-home meals are like. Not unlike Peter Parker, he’s far from home.
While Earn wants for nothing, Darius (LaKeith Stanfield) craves what could not be provided- Jollof Rice.
Ostensibly, their little pow-wow came at a price. It always does. ‘Twas because of a mix-up, an ‘incident’ if you will indulge.
The company said some racist ass shit and they want Paper Boi to co-sign to their apology campaign.
Earn wants cash. Al wants something more valuable. Integrity…
Because they can’t pay with actual money, Al demands three custom suits. One for each of his boys and as well as some drip for himself, and though they unwillingly agree to the request, they cave.
It’s the least they can accommodate for them. I mean, fuck it, they’re nouveau riche, right?
As Al gets fitted, cousin Earn feels the deal is almost an Uncle Tom thing and somehow knows the streets will think about him being ‘bought’. Al cares not. He’s making fucking lemonade. He could give a shit about what the streets chatter.
He already had a gun charge with the intent to, oh wait, he fired his warning shot in the first episode, except the shot wasn’t a warning. The streets have his six with an extra bullet, should he require one.
Earn is on a different level, though. Because they cannot pay but only put that lucre into a foundation in Paper Boi’s name, Earn would want to have it matter. Helping out black entrepreneurs. Al dismisses the project, thinking of it as a pipe dream, bringing the space cadet back down to earth.
Sharon (Tamsin Topolski), head of hospitality reaches out to Darius with a special email request with Jollof. It doesn’t exist in her world, but HE SURELY DOES.
She’s more than willing to take him out and get some bomb food.
Just like that, he’s on the adventure the wanderlust had always steered him.
Sam and her friend, Khalil (Fisayo Akinade) shoot the pleasantries. He enjoys a strawberry, compliments due to the hosts, and listens to Rose crooning ‘Amazing Grace’. It’s time for the gathering.
Just as all are properly introduced, activist/writer/foodie Khalil queries if Al was having a grand time apologizing for white people.
Khalil is hip to the game, riding on the backs of white people.
So long as he can forgive them, he is set for life. What did he give up? His soul. The devil doesn’t have a color. Oh wait, it does. Green.
At the press conference, Khalil assures Al that once he confirms that the European brand “meant nothing” in terms of whatever racist shit they said, all will be good, at least for him and the rest of the day.
The press box is hot. Hands are raised.
If you press the press, pressing issues are going to be pressed.
First question: If Paper Boi stands behind the brand, is racism over?
He responds with a resounding FUCK NO to the consternation of all in attendance.
Even with Al’s febrile outburst, Khalil seems to smooth over the situation, citing that with the initiative Paper Boi is backing, racism should be eradicated within two years.
Keep fucking dreaming, my dude.
As Darius and his new beau watch a movie in Eko Chops, his desire for liver and rice overcomes him. The hostess easily finds him out as Naija.
The lady of the house confronts him on his roots and he is truthful to them.
She’s busting his Chops! Go for no applause.
As he enjoys the meal, Darius explains to Sharon that Naija means Nigerian and though they seem to be getting on, when Sharon talks about her chef husband wanting to make the move into brick and mortar business, the date isn’t so much of one. It’s more of a confession.
She wants to buy out blackness and genuine shit. Remember that good ass food? Dyspepsia has now set in.
Alfred has now a seat at the table! This is a table he would rather not be seated at, but he has a seat nonetheless at this convening, meeting of the minds, brain trust, or council.
It’s up to him how the PR will go down and for his money, he has some brilliant thoughts in the court of public opinion.
He wants to start a limited version of clothing, backed by a campaign to have other blacks invest in themselves. It’s a great concept. Keep it all home.
Khalil doesn’t care much for that, looking to the Senate to shoot down his dream.
They only want their personal gain while still trying to maintain a “woke” attitude. How fucking aberrant.
Al sees through the fakeness (ironically wearing a Gucci Sweater with ‘FAKE’ emblazoned all over it.)
When confronted with his blackness and the rest not vouching, he only has to ask one question about his conscription.
What the shit is he here for?!
Actually, he has a bigger question for the board: What the fuck are they doing? The streets don’t fuck with them.
Al wants to help and is acutely aware his fame can bring a lot to the cause. He’s now going above board.
Hey, why not use that move when your meter is all charged.
At the hotel’s front desk, Earn needs an Apple Store for his watch. The watch is better seen on him, as Van (Zazie Beetz) is in the lobby and better seen on her.
My guy isn’t happy that she’s been ghosting him for weeks, and though her up demeanor tries to hide the pain, he can slice through it. But before a heart-to-heart can be held, Van now stands accused of shoplifting from some crazy white chick.
Is it because she’s black?
I mean, the situation was de-escalated quickly due to the house, but still. This brings up the situation of Gucci and a black guy buying a belt but being accused of stealing it. This would even go further with Ryan Coogler arrested just trying to fucking get some money out! It doesn’t just exist in America, my darlings and it makes no more sense.
And let’s not skirt away from the fact that in a moment of panic, Earn called Van his fiancee and goes further into expressing his displeasure to the house, getting them a top room for free.
Earn’s been in the boss mode for a minute and this exemplifies it. If he wasn’t staying there before, he sure as fuck is now.
As Al pitches, we realize that he’s not great. He actually kind of sucks. His heart is in the right place, but his thoughts are kind of all over that same place. They take the idea and run with it though, infusing social media into it. Now, something that was pure was jizzed all over by influencers, someone he knows little to nil about.
Give enough rope though. The board is having a civil war but, Al doesn’t have time for this.
In fact, he lost time even indulging their asses.
When push comes to shove, it’s Alfred’s plan and they defer to his wisdom.
All he has to do is film a quick vid for the campaign of Reinvesting In Your Hood and all will be copacetic, no?
Darius isn’t fairing any better. His favorite restaurant has been shuttered, bought out by Sharon, who has a food truck with Naija Bowls.
She purchased authenticity with her power and privilege. I mean, I guess with enough pounds, you can buy anything. Even a pound of flesh.
Though she gives Darius a dish she named after him, he’s like super depressed, especially knowing that Mimi was fucked out of a business.
It was his one taste of home abroad and she wrested it from him. Other than eating the meal, he throws it out. At least one of them has integrity.
But wait! Al’s message is now live!
In something looking like it was directed by early era David Finch in black and white, his words, his speech, and his personae were used. Al is no longer Al. He’s now a spokesman and this isn’t going to go settling with him.
They made his words out to be a joke to him, including homosexual overtones and a proxy gangster lean at the end so as to make it official. This wasn’t what he signed up for.
Though Khalil tries to calm him down, shit ain’t working… until the truth is spate.
Al’s commercial would have never worked. A fantasy does not a business not make. It’s a charity. Black investing in black was a pipe dream and to include more would be company suicide.
Khalil knows the game and was able to garnish the table out of 100k for his own charity, but even the temptation of a Black Panther 2 ticket couldn’t buy Paper Boi… just like a meal in his honor couldn’t buy Darius’ love.
As Earn pours the booze in his gratis hotel room, he references Nick or Treat.
Wowww. Just wow. A fucking throwback. (Appropos of nothing, I had to say it.)
Van emerges in a robe. The place is fucking beautiful and big. She relaxes and Earns takes a turn.
He apologizes for confronting her before. He’s just worried.
Throwing her arms around him, she knows worrying is in his nature. I can relate.
But for tonight, he does not need to worry about anything.
As they slow dance, the wig stealing isn’t even a memory because stealing a kiss is more important.
Oh yes, it feels like the first time.