FX’s Atlanta is well-known for its inspiration from real life events and controversy. Season three’s ninth episode of season 3 brings us a new storyline. In yet another detour episode without our mainstay crew — Earn (Donald Glover), Paper Boi (Brian Tyree Henry), Darius (LaKeith Stanfield), and Van (Zazie Beetz) — titled “Rich Wigga, Poor Wigga” (a clever nod to JAY-Z’s “The Story of O.J.We follow Aaron (played brilliantly by Tyriq Withers), who is a high school senior struggling with being biracial.
The episode features Aaron’s inner struggle to find his Black and White identities. Through a series of absurd scenarios and subtle hints, Aaron is forced to make a difficult decision. “Atlanta,” with its dark humor and signature style, makes a powerful point about reverse racism in America.
Season 3 Episode 9 of “Atlanta”, Explained
“Rich Wigga Poor Wigga,” opens with some references to Aaron’s inner struggle with identity. After hurling racial slurs towards two Black kids who were playing intense video games with him, the episode begins with subtle references. Aaron’s revelation that he wasn’t awarded a scholarship to the same college as his girlfriend Kate (Rachel Resheff) is a key part of the episode. However, he thinks he may have found a solution to his financial troubles when a wealthy alumnus of Stonewall Jackson High School, businessman Robert “Shea” Lee (played by Kevin Samuels), returns to his school to pay tuition bills for all the seniors — but only if they’re Black.
You’ll notice this segment of “Atlanta’s madness” is taken straight from a headline about billionaire Robert F. Smith. Smith announced in 2019 to the Atlanta HBCU Morehouse College graduating classes that he would keep his promise to be a good steward. pay off all their student loans.
The Atlanta version of Smith also states that Smith intends to change the school’s name to “that degenerate slave holder” and replace it by “one the richest Black men”. [on] this side of the Mississippi” — a nod to the existing debates about removing the names of racist figures from buildings across America. These real-life connections between “Atlanta,” and Aaron’s dilemma are obvious. However, the show’s racially motivated proclamations tie back to Aaron.
The episode goes one step further by allowing students in Aaron’s position to only receive Lee’s generous donation if it can be proved that they are Black. Samuels, along with guest stars George Wallace, Anthony Daugherty and Anthony Daugherty proceed to quiz the students with a series questions to see if they are worthy of their “Black card”.
Aaron, who seems to not have any idea about his own culture at the moment, fails the test as Wallace’s character repeatedly points out, “You’re white!” . . . Only blacks Aaron decides to use a flamethrower as a solution after his girlfriend split with him. He was already outclassed by someone else. (It is Atlanta, we’re talking here.
After another failed attempt to prove himself, Aaron finally chooses to stick to the identity he’s been avoiding all his life, and one year later, we find him working at an electronic store with a low fade, gold chain, and stud earrings to match — he chose his Blackness. It’s ironic episode nine closes with Loose Ends’ song, “Hangin’ onto a String”, to tie it all. The episode’s black-and-white format is a brilliant touch to the storyline, but it still leaves us wondering about the many unanswered questions. What is the hidden meaning of this episode? This is Emmy bait, as the episode description suggests. Will these special episodes make sense in their final episode? We’ll just have to wait until episode 10 arrives on May 19, to find out.