Radio & TV Talk

The TV/Radio blog features behind-the-scenes coverage of Atlanta’s stations, along with the hottest new TV shows.

FX's 'Atlanta' casts 'Justin Bieber' as black just because

By RODNEY HO/, originally filed Wednesday, September 28, 2016

I know, I know, I'm late on this one but I'm only now catching up with last night's fifth episode of FX's "Atlanta" and had to mention how Donald Glover chose to cast Justin Bieber on his show as black - without ever commenting on that fact.

Paper Boi is at a charity basketball game where Bieber is playing and finds him annoying. He starts defending Bieber during the game itself and getting in his face. This Bieber (played by Austin Crute) gets into a ridiculous fight with Paper Boi. (Jaleel White, playing himself, is on Paper Boi's team.)

"I became so cool I became something I'm not," Bieber said, apologetically at a press conference. "This is the real Justin. I actually love Christ. I guess I've been hanging out with the wrong people."

He then charms his way out of trouble by singing a delightful pop song, of course, with absurd dance moves to boot.

Bieber was discovered by Atlanta's Scooter Braun a decade ago and he has lived here from time to time since then so Glover picked a proper target.

So far, "Atlanta," which has already been renewed for a second season, has its fair share of oddities but this casting move really got the Twitterverse going.

Surprisingly, Bieber himself after nearly 24 hours has yet to comment on this. He is usually pretty self deprecating about such commentary. Heck, he had Comedy Central roast him last year.

Of course, the other two storylines were hilarious as well. Darius goes to a shooting range and white folks get angry because he shoots at a paper dog. He eventually gets booted. And Earn? A female agent mistakes him for "Lorenzo" and invites him to the VIP room, where he successfully pretends to be this guy, then finds out that the agent believes he sold her out and caused her to lose her job. Even after he says he's not Lorenzo, she doesn't buy it: "I'm going to make sure you die homeless."


"Atlanta," 10 p.m. Tuesdays, FX

Reader Comments ...

About the Author

Rodney Ho covers radio and television for the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.