Andjela Lazic

Abstract

Blackness as a representative identity in entertainment media has been taking different shapes and forms since the birth of the moving image. From cultural appropriation to misrepresentation, contemporary film and television has finally given the torch back to people of color to tell their stories the way they live, see, and experience them. An example of this is the Afrosurrealist movement which started out as a literary movement in the 1930s but much later migrated to the film and television screens. Representative example is Donald Glover’s series Atlanta (2016 - present). This thesis aims at demonstrating how Glover manages to help the viewer understand how it feels to be black in America by using Afrosurrealism to reverse reality in the series, creating the argument that to enter the absolute reality one must access surreality. This study introduces the movement by creating a genealogy of Afrosurrealism in its literary and audio-visual outputs as well as its surreal predecessor. Afrosurrealism was identified with people of color experiencing life beyond the visible world, where in a sense one can live an absurd-less life in a surreality. This idea incorporates fantastical elements which will be discussed through the framework of Tzvetan Todorov’s theory on fantastic. Atlanta is exploring the reality of a black person in America hence the concept of Blackness will be discussed, through the lens of meaning, history, and its discursive shift from the Black Arts Movement onto the post-Obama era. Finally, an analytical case study concludes the argument by applying the fantastic theory to two episodes of the series Atlanta where a distinction will be made between the different applications of the theory itself.

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