Dave Burd, aka viral rapper Lil Dicky, recently debuted his new FXX show Dave, executive produced by Kevin Hart and music executive Scooter Braun. Burd is perhaps most known for his 2018 comedy song, “Freaky Friday," which features Chris Brown.
The song, which sees the two artists “switch bodies," also gained attention for the line (recited by Brown as Dicky): Wonder if I can say the n-word (wait for real?) Wait, can I really say the n-word? What up, my n***a? What up, my n***a? Big ups, my n***a, we up, my n***a You p***y ass n***a, man, f**k y’al ln***a ‘Cause I’m that n***a, n***a, n***a, n***am I’m that n***a.
Burd's new show draws inspiration from his life as a burgeoning rapper...similar to a certain other FX Networks show, Donald Glover's Atlanta. But many who have watched the show are calling Dave simply a white version of Atlanta.
Twitter users complained about the show being seemingly derivative of Donald Glover's successful comedy about an up-and-coming rapper trying to break into the industry.
dave is an executive power move for FX because now they have both gambino’s atlanta and lil dicky’s gentrified, less funny, parody of atlanta .
— xavier. (@xaveyinthecut) March 6, 2020
So this dave show spose to be like Atlanta but for white ppl? @FX
— Mike Will (aint) Made it (@IAMmikeW) March 6, 2020
“DAVE” is the gentrification of “Atlanta”....... as long as we all know that we can enjoy it.
— Crypto N’ Culture ⚡ (@CryptoKenzie) March 6, 2020
That new show Dave is giving me white Atlanta vibes.
— DrunkChickenWings (@HoneybunWarrior) March 5, 2020
I'm watching Dave, it's Gentrified Atlanta the show
— ???????????????????????????????????? ???????????????? ???????????????? (@AmestrisMan) March 5, 2020
Another problem is that somehow, Burd, who has no experience in Hollywood or in acting in general, managed to get Curb Your Enthusiasm executive producer Jeff Schaffer to partner with him and Hart to executive produce, while people of color and other women in the industry still struggle to get their projects greenlit.
Vulture Associate Editor Jordan Crucchiola wrote about the double standard on her Twitter page.
“I am friends with women (veteran writers) in the industry fighting to run the show THEY CREATED instead of having executives slot a more 'experienced' dude above them, and this utterly inexperienced guy got Dave on the air because he 'loved TV.'" she wrote. “Maybe he’s a great guy. Maybe the show is a triumph. Could be! But this is a hysterically sobbing accurate microcosm of what men need in Hollywood to have someone buy into their vision. Which is to say, a dick and an over abundance [sic] of confidence. Best of luck to this man."
Maybe he’s a great guy. Maybe the show is a triumph. Could be! But this is a hysterically sobbing accurate microcosm of what men need in Hollywood to have someone buy into their vision. Which is to say, a dick and an over abundance of confidence. Best of luck to this man. pic.twitter.com/xUGvx5HV5a
— Jordan Crucchiola (@JorCru) March 4, 2020
The privilege Burd received is also rarely given to creators of color, who have cited numerous times how often Hollywood executives look over their ideas or feel their ideas must be changed to reach a more “mainstream" audience.
In a review of the series for Pitchfork, Alphonse Pierre wrote: “There’s plenty of comedic material to mine from the absurdity of the modern hip-hop industry, which has hardly been handled in scripted TV outside of Atlanta (itself a surreal but honest antidote to soapy musical dramas like Empire). But instead, Dave boils down to two core elements: He’s a white rapper, and he’s got d*ck jokes."
To be fair, Burd doesn't shy away from his lack of experience in the industry, as revealed in a recent Vulture interview, in which he says, “I had no experience and didn't know what I was doing." But it's important to note how quickly it seems he's been able to establish himself with Hollywood studio heads, while women and people of color rarely get that type of carte blanche.
From Harlem to Hollywood, get the Black entertainment news you need in your inbox daily.