In the current TV landscape, there are hardly any shows more well received than Atlanta. The series has made Donald Glover a leading star in Hollywood, and opened doors for the rest of the cast as well. Atlanta’s success can be traced to its willingness to show characters stricken with poverty and social issues, all the while remaining both funny and dramatic.
It’s a highly introspective show that looks into how people express themselves using music and especially rap. If you want some great insights into the machinations of society, then these 10 quotes from Atlanta will certainly get your mind thinking.
10 "The music business is gross."
Earlier on, when Earn was trying to break into the music business, he came across an old acquaintance called Dave, who proceeded to shatter Earn’s expectations after asking him to straight-up pay $500 to get a chance at showing up at a radio station.
Dave was clearly being disingenuous, as he brushed aside Earn’s argument that $500 was too much to ask from a guy who made that amount in a month, and also treated Earn as if he was some generic person “from the hood”. What he did do right, though, was tell the music business how it is, by terming it as “gross”. And whoever’s watched Atlanta knows that at least is very much the truth.
9 "That’s what rap is, making the best out of a bad situation, brother."
Those who don’t understand rap music generally term it as something only hoodlums enjoy. After all, it doesn’t fall under regular music and the lyrics are always provocative. There’s a certain amount of people who get what the point of rap is, and Paper Boi put it best in this situation.
According to him, rap is about letting one’s heart flow and making the best out of a bad situation. If you think about it for a bit, you’ll see that’s not a wrong assessment either, as the lyrics that go into rap are so much more authentic than you’d find in any other musical genre.
8 "Not all great things come from great pain. Sometimes it’s love. Not everything’s a sacrifice."
Everyone likes to talk a big game about sacrifices. The general assumption is that the greatest inspiration comes from someone who’s lost things in life, or has had to give up their own happiness. However, that doesn’t mean we have to consider only great pain as the benchmark for true inspiration.
As put by Darius, you don’t have to consider someone a genius simply because they came from a tragic background; a person who has known genuine love in life is more than capable of touching the hearts of the rest of the world. In this way, sacrifices really are overrated.
7 "Learning requires failure."
You don’t need to watch the show to understand what this quote means - it’s just a way of life a person learns through experience. However, what Darius meant in this scene was for Earn to realize that failure is, in fact, a great thing.
Nobody wants to fail, but in the grand scope of things, you’ll find that failure is actually necessary. Without failing, you’ll never learn how to get back into success. It takes failure to know what learning means, and you’ll be grateful later in life that you were able to taste failure so that you could come out of it a more experienced and wiser person.
6 "When you’re drunk, the one thing you want to do is sit in a chair for two hours."
The main characters on the show hadn’t had the taste of the good life before the series’ events, making everything they saw as they moved up in the world as something remarkable. In one episode, they found themselves in a nice establishment, where they saw drinks being served.
This was when Earn quoted this surprisingly reflective line about a person wanting to be seated after they’ve had something to drink. It’s both a kind of truth and a shot at people who live the rich life, as no matter how they consume their drinks, they are still getting inebriated like the rest of them.
5 "Nothing was about to happen until something happened."
This might take you a moment to wrap around in your head, and when you do get what Earn said here, you might be inclined to think it’s a silly quote; however, this is basically how history came about into being. Whatever transpires in our lives, they tend to happen when you don’t see it coming.
It’s about moving forward with what you have that defines how you survive in this world. You don’t think things will change or something will happen until it does and you’re left to deal with the fallout. It’s unfair for the most part, but that’s just how things go.
4 "You need to start acting like you’re better than other(s), and then they’ll start treating you better than other(s)."
We’ve edited out a bit of the terminology here, but the message behind this statement is clear: you’re only as good as you think you are. Even in real life, there are people who are richer than most, yet others treat them as if they don’t matter much.
It’s because of a person’s delivery of their own self-worth that the people in front of them perceive them as such. Unless you don’t start acting like you’re better than most people, then you won’t come across as better than anyone, no matter the amount of money you’ve earned.
3 "Money is an idea."
In the same scene where the previous quote took place, there was another reality of life relayed through dialogue. This one told us what the perception of money is in society. For instance, you could hand a poor man millions of dollars, but the guy won’t have the necessary tools to make it look believable. Society has this idea attached to money - those that have it, need to put up a front that validates them in having their money.
This is the reason why a man who doesn’t look the part is questioned by authorities despite legitimately having earned his money, because society has turned money into an idea to live up to.
2 "Poor people don’t have time for investments because poor people are too busy trying not to be poor."
Capitalism has made us believe that earning money is something for the long haul; you want to earn, then you’ll just have to wait for your investment. Poor people, despite not knowing the ins and outs of business, do know the truth that starvation doesn’t run on investments.
This is one of the harshest yet real statements that Atlanta has doled out, because it informs the viewer to get real with themselves; not everything is a wait for profit, and you need to have a level of sympathy for those suffering. It was both a funny and extremely sad quote.
1 "Stars are just a projection of what’s actually already inside of your mind."
The associations with stars in the sky have been made to the human imagination. Although we’ve known for centuries that the specks in the sky are suns in distant parts of space, we still associate them with the farthest outreaches of our imagination. This quote by Darius is beautiful in describing how boundless one’s creativity can be. Although the show’s context was to describe when someone is high, we can still apply it to anyone who feels they’re reaching too far with their dreams.
The truth is, you can achieve even the most outlandish of dreams, because they’re constructs of your imagination, and no one’s stopping you from trying to make it a reality.