Donald Glover expressed deep emotion about the negative fan response to the third season of Atlanta,
The Atlanta writer/creator/star spoke to GQ and talked about the response to the polarizing third season. GQ itself described the season as having a “61 percent decrease in viewership, writing that the season “was widely received as too weird. Confusing. Try-hard. It didn’t only push people way, it upset them.”
Glover said that if Atlanta‘s Season 4 was like Season 3, it would have been letting the fans down.
“As a product maker, as an entertainer, as an artist, as somebody who loves to make things for people…I’ve studied it enough to understand that things feel good because of what comes before and after them,” he said. “We deserve quality. We deserve something that isn’t easy for everyone to digest all the time. I knew Season 3 wasn’t easy. We all knew it wasn’t easy. We knew opening the season without [any of the cast] was going to make people f—ing mad and be like, ‘What the f–?’ It felt like…you’re climbing and you’re climbing to get up to the top where the light is. And when you get there, you can do whatever dance you want. And that’s what everybody’s fighting for.”
Glover said that he doesn’t think the third season is bad, but he added “I think with me specifically, people never give me the benefit of the doubt. And I needed to see for me.”
“This has nothing to do with the art, because I made sure that the art was good. But it really was a personal exploration for me.”
However, he said, “…Of course there’s gonna be a little anger, but like, that’s my own ego that I have to deal with. And my own sadness I have to deal with…with my own people…It made me very sad. I cried.”
He said he didn’t cry because he thought the season was great, but seemingly because of how the culture didn’t understand what he was putting out.
“It’s like what Prince said when U2 won best album. He was like, If y’all wanted me to make that album, I could have,” he said. “U2 couldn’t make Sign o’ the Times. But I know the character I am in culture and in Black culture–and that it doesn’t feel good coming from me. And also like, I don’t feel good saying s–t like that. I’d much rather lay on the empathy.”
You can watch Glover’s latest TV project, Swarm, on Prime Video.