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“Atlanta” Recap: 3 Of The Best Moments From “Juneteenth”

Atlanta Juneteenth

It’s amazing how money can separate you from people faster than anything else in thew world, even on Juneteenth. For those who don’t know, Juneteenth is a celebration of the day slaves in Texas finally found out that slavery had been abolished–a full two and a half years after the Emancipation Proclamation.

It’s also apparently a day where the bougiest among us feel the need to throw house parties and stunt with their money and knowledge.

Van and Earn learned that the hard way as they showed up at her mother Monique’s Juneteenth party, complete with “woke” white dudes, stubborn bartenders, and condescension as far as the eye can see. It takes a special kind of person to make Black history seem pretentious, but people manage throughout “Juneteenth.”

“Happy Juneteenth!”

The episode opens with Van picking Earn up from a one-night stand before heading to Van’s mother’s mansion for Juneteenth. People dressed as slaves singing Negro spirituals and plantation themed drinks at the bar are just the tip of the iceberg, though. A scene where Monique tells her Black servants to smile because “this is a party, not an orphanage” is enough to send chills down anyone’s spine.

“Have you ever been to Africa?”

Atlanta Juneteenth 2

The minute Monique’s husband Craig comes down the stairs and enthusiastically fumbles his way through a dap, you know Earn’s in for trouble. Craig paints interpretations of Malcolm X quotes, brags about trips to “The Mother Land,” does slam poetry, and drinks Hennessy in his wood paneled study; he’s White Guilt personified, your “woke” friend with eye doctor money and the free time to study and pillage other cultures while calling every Black man he sees “brother.” Craig’s earnest (no pun intended) and clueless love for Black culture is even more cringeworthy than I can put into words and his slam poetry session would have any Def Poetry Slam host worth their salt running for cover.

“Jim Crow is haunting me”

Earn and Van try to keep their heads low by playing up their “marriage” at the party, but Monique’s pretentious status climbing (she even calls Paper Boi a “trifling thug”) and Craig’s overbearing wokeness cause Earn to go off on both of them about how fake the whole affair is and storm out of the party. You’d think Van would be upset at a lost opportunity to network with the rich elite, but on the drive home, she and Earn show their own Black love in the front seat of the car.

Wow, this episode was a lot to take in. If “B.A.N.” was a page from the ‘Chappelle’s Show’ playbook, then “Juneteenth” mixes in “Black Mirror” levels of uncomfortable realness. Wow.

Takeaways

– Did Paper Boi sort out that situation with Chris The Club Manager from last week?

– I’m glad we’re seeing more of Van before the season closes because she’s even more put upon than Earn.

– Those drink names: Plantation Master Poison, Emancipation Eggnog, Abolition and Absinthe, Forty Acres and a Moscow Mule…

We’ve got five new songs for our Atlanta playlist, which you can check out on Spotify and Apple Music below:

Kamasi Washington – Change Of The Guard

Kamasi Washington – The Rhythm Changes

The Entertainer

Miles Davis – So What

Sam Cooke – Chain Gang

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