‘Atlanta’ Takes Aim at Racism in the Fashion Industry
It’s almost surprising that it was gone by midway Atlantathe show’s third season to train their vision of the fashion industry. Rapper — like Brian Tyree Henry’s Paper Boi — may have become the characters that promote fashion culture. And the fashion business has long struggled to avoid even the most obvious missteps when it comes to racing. The season’s sixth episode, “White Fashion,” targets exactly that dynamic: it focuses on Bouchet, the white designer of a label called Esco Esco, who is fired for developing carry a sweater that says “Central Park 5”.
Esco Esco suddenly tries to correct his violation, and that’s why Paper Boi (Brian Tyree Henry) has to step in. To correct that — or as Bouchet describes it, “our little mix” — the label is forming a panel diversity advice. Paper Boi, along with other ambassadors like Khalil (who uses an inflatable life jacket with the words “BLM” painted on it as his signature outfit), was called in to clean up the brand’s mess. .
While recent episodes use exaggerated, fairy-tale-like stories to explore real-life issues, “White Fashion” is a little closer to family. We’ve seen a similar series of events unfold over and over again over the past few years: brands including Prada, Burberry and Gucci have all taken similar steps after releasing products deemed insensitive racial feelings. And if you have seen the recent documentary on the golden era of Abercrombie & Fitchyou saw how the brand promised to change after launching a racist t-shirt: with the hiring of a famous Diversity and Inclusion employee.
It should be noted that Paper Boi’s fellow members of the diversity panel are also involved in oversight as much as the brand. Much of this scrutiny fell on Khalil, the cartoonist activist who immediately forgave Bouchet during a press conference. But all the members of the council are skewed, as is the idea of the usefulness of the assembly. The members’ proposed changes have less to do with overcoming racism and more with self-interest: Esco Eco representatives seriously write down the requirements for business class flights family, let the brand buy one member’s stack of books and upcoming admission tickets Black Panther 2 This season of Atlanta continues the reference.
“White Fashion” expands this season’s exploration of how whites deal with racism and guilt. “The Big Payback,” episode four, imagines a world where white people can be sued for compensation; The previous episode, “The Old Man and the Tree,” explored the harm caused by seemingly well-meaning whites (while also calling into question the sanity of such intentions). The point where the show continues to return this season is that no gesture — not money, or a position on the diversity panel — can change the history of America’s relationship with Blacks, or alleviate systemic racism.