Black Satire after Obama
An engaging study of contemporary Black satire through the lens of a critically acclaimed television series
Contributions by GerShun Avilez, Lola Boorman, Thomas Britt, John Brooks, Phillip James Martinez Cortes, Derek DiMatteo, Tikenya Foster-Singletary, Alexandra Glavanakova, Erica-Brittany Horhn, Matthias Klestil, Abigail Jinju Lee, Derek C. Maus, Danielle Fuentes Morgan, Derek Conrad Murray, Kinohi Nishikawa, Sarah O'Brien, Keyana Parks, and Emily Ruth Rutter
The seventeen essays in Greater Atlanta: Black Satire after Obama collectively argue that in the years after the widespread hopefulness surrounding Barack Obama’s election as president waned, Black satire began to reveal a profound shift in US culture. Using the four seasons of the FX television show Atlanta (2016–22) as a springboard, the collection examines more than a dozen novels, films, and television shows that together reveal the ways in which Black satire has developed in response to contemporary cultural dynamics. Contributors reveal increased scorn toward self-proclaimed allies in the existential struggle still facing African Americans today.
Having started its production within a few weeks of Donald Trump’s (in)famous escalator ride in 2015, Atlanta in many ways is the perfect commentary on the absurdities of the contemporary cultural moment. The series exemplifies a significant development in contemporary Black satire, which largely eschews expectations of reform and instead offers an exasperated self-affirmation that echoes the declaration that Black Lives Matter.
Given anti-Black racism’s lengthy history, overt stimuli for outrage have predictably commanded African American satirists’ attention through the years. However, more recent works emphasize the willful ignorance underlying that history. As the volume shows, this has led to the exposure of performative allyship, virtue signaling, slacktivism, and other duplicitous forms of purported support as empty, oblivious gestures that ultimately harm African Americans as grievously as unconcealed bigotry.
"The erudite analysis unpacks the complex ideas embedded in the series’s surreal vision of Atlanta. This will enhance fans’ appreciation of the show."- Publishers Weekly
"Greater Atlanta is the collection we need right now. It is far more than the first extended critical study of Atlanta, one of the best television shows of our era. This volume gathers the sharpest minds interested in African American culture and satire to examine the many complexities in Black lives since the Obama presidency. A sequel to Post-Soul Satire: Black Identity after Civil Rights, in many ways Greater Atlanta is even more essential. No scholar of contemporary African American culture should be without it."- Darryl Dickson-Carr, professor of English at Southern Methodist University