My Top 5 TV Episodes of All Time – Pt. 1 (Atlanta S2 E11: Crabs in a Bucket)

I’ve been taking a lot of time to work on other endeavors: I’ve been heavily immersed in the world of investing which I will talk about more in future blogs, as well as writing a novella, more information to come on that as well.

As much as I love exploring other avenues, Inner Reign just scratches that creative itch unlike anything else.  Inner Reign is my baby, it will always be my baby and I’m glad I’ve found that second wind to contribute to this space once more.  I will continue to spend time exploring societal themes going on currently in the world, as well as in music, tv, and other forms of entertainment. Because the only way to navigate through this crazy world, is to examine it.

Power just recently ended its first installment on StarZ and it got me to start reflecting on some of the best singular episodes, that I have ever come across in TV history.  The exploration of social themes and its inclusion with subtle detail are things as that, as a creator, I really value and appreciate.  There is more to a book, TV show, or movie than simply telling a story from A-Z; its these nuances that leave a lasting impression on the viewer or reader. With that being said let’s get to it.

If there was ever an episode, that epitomized the mindset of black people as a whole, it is this one.

The Season 2 finale of the show Atlanta created by Donald Glover and written by his brother Stephen Glover, appropriately named this episode after the “crabs in a bucket” mentality that surrounds the black community.

Crab mentality is the behavior of undermining others, ensuring a group’s collective demise.

The opening scene shows recording artist Paper Boi and his manager Earn visiting a prospective lawyer.

Immediately, Paper Boi states that he wants to employ the services of a different lawyer of Jewish descent in lieu of the African-American lawyer that they just visited with.

Watching this scene immediately makes me think of how black people are wary of using the services of other black people when it comes to business.  For some reason, we have little to no faith when it comes using minority carpentry services, or painting businesses, plumbing, nail care, etc. Is it purely the fear of poor customer service or a “no refund” policy? OR is it the fear of someone within our own community advancing at the expense of our misery?  It’s not a problem that those thoughts come into our minds, but the problem is those thoughts only come into our mind when it comes to the transfer of goods and services being conducted between people of color.

I think back to all the ShadeRoom Instagram posts filled with examples of bad business being done between black people, you know, “What I Got vs What I Asked For?” It also doesn’t help that we publicize our shortcomings as business owners for the world to see.

How does a race progress when such feelings exist?  Continue to explore this question after you finish reading.

Earn, who is played by Donald Glover (Childish Gambino), instantly thrusts himself in the music and entertainment industry by convincing his talented cousin Paper Boi, to let him manage the up and coming artist. Like anyone else attempting an endeavor for the first time, Earn is terrible; however, it is a pleasure watching the trial and error phase that he goes through, and experiencing the occasional fruits of Earn’s labor.

As the episode progresses, Earn has a conversation with a mutual friend Darius (played by Lakeith Stanfield) regarding if Paper Boi plans on firing Earn as his manager. 

Darius replies that Paper Boi see’s that Earn is learning the ropes, he just doesn’t want Earn to be learning at his own expense.

The episode continues to dive into the idea that black people do not get to fail.  When your window of opportunity has presented itself. It is often all or nothing.

There are no second chances.

At the end of the episode, Earn is presented with an obstacle that threatens his entire livelihood.  He must either accept the blame for a glaring oversight or overcome and survive by any means.  Ultimately, he frames another for his crime, thus becoming just another crab in the bucket:  Pulling another back, in order to advance.

The scene was TENSE

This episode does a phenomenal job showing the duality of the “crabs in a bucket” mentality.

A black person’s greatest strength on an individual basis (survival by any means), is also our greatest weakness as a collective (holding each other back).

All that is known to the black community is overcoming against all odds time and time again; however, we have not been able to translate that skill over as a whole when it comes to business, politics, etc.

Maybe one day the pride that exists within the community will stem from not stepping over others to succeed; that we can all progress together.

Until then, all we have is this episode to serve as a reflection in the mirror.

Weather Your Storm, Maintain Inner Reign -E.

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