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Lena Dunham Addresses Your Questions About Donald Glover As Her Black Republican Lover

by Tambay A. Obenson
January 11, 2013 1:37 PM
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glover girls

I just thought I'd point you guys to this new interview with Lena Dunham regarding the return of her hit HBO series Girls, and its so-called *race problem,* which she's now apparently *addressed* by the casting of hipster Donald Glover as her black Republican love interest.

I recall the comments that followed the post anouncing Glover's role in the series (earlier this week), and the questions wondering why Glover had to be a black Republican, as well as how his political leanings would be worked into the narrative, and whether his addition really is meant to address the *race problem,* and even it is, whether it actually will, and if this will turn more black viewers onto the show... and more...

Well, I think Lena replies in the Q&A below with New York magazine's Vulture, speak to some of those questions some of you had.

Read on...

V: I want to start with the fourth scene of the entire season, which is you, topless …

LD: ... on top of Donald Glover.

V: Having sex.

LD: Yes.

Alright, so the 4th scene of this Sunday night's episode (at least that's how I read it) when the series returns, will show her topless, on-top of Donald Glover, having sex.

Got it? Good. Just wanted to make sure you didn't miss that part.

Ok, continuing on with the interview...

V: Which is pretty much a summary of every single thing that people complained about in season one. How conscious was that?

LD: We always wanted to work with Donald — he’s the cutest and the funniest, and why would you not want to kiss him on TV? But I think that when we shot that scene, there was both a feeling that it was the appropriate place for the character to be and a sense that it would, for people who had been paying attention to the backlash, at least evoke some sense that we were in a dialogue with our audience. It definitely wasn’t a “Fuck you, haters!” That’s not really how I tend to roll my game. But at the same time, it was a pretty clear statement that we are comfortable, that there isn’t a political agenda against having black characters in the show.

Alright... so, essentially, our intro to Mr Black Republican, as well as to take on the *race problem* backlash head-on, is to get all up in your face, like BOOM! There it is! Now what you got to say?

Ok, back to the interview...

V: Why make him a Republican?

LD: We liked the idea of a Republican entering their universe. And Hannah doesn’t really have a clear sense of why you shouldn’t date a Republican; it’s kind of just like the same reason why you shouldn’t date a Nazi: You just shouldn’t.

Alright, so, if I'm reading that correctly, she just made a comparison between Republicans and Nazis. I'm sure the Republicans who do watch her show,will just love that! But Hannah is apparently clueless as to why she shouldn't be with this guy, but she's into him (or is it the other way around), and that's cool enough for her, I suppose.

V: Wait, so your position is that you shouldn’t date a Republican?

LD: My personal position is that you should date anyone you want so long as they treat you respectfully and share your value system. So it might be hard for me to date someone who was against gay marriage and abortion rights — I don’t think I would be attracted to them — but I don’t have any personal problem with dating a Republican. I do think that Hannah has this reverse ignorance where she’s like, If they’re Republican, get them out of my airspace, and that was a fun thought to explore.

Ok, so I assume conflict will arise from the fact that Hannah doesn't exactly care for Republicans, but she finds herself dating one anyway, which the series will apparently explore somewhat.

Although that doesn't really address the "black" part of his being a Republican, which I think comes with its own brand of experiences, especially when compared to a white Repulican (facing racism from whites within your own party - especially from the extreme right - while also facing harsh criticism from blacks who are majority Democrats). And I wonder if any of that will be tackled, and how that will affect their relationship, or worked into the story.

Anyway, there you have it... feel free to jump in with your own thoughts.

Girls returns to HBO this Sunday night. And I actually just might check it out this time, if only out of curiousity, and also so that I can talk sensibly about Donald Glover's addition. So, maybe we could say, "mission accomplished" on her part???

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  • kara | January 16, 2013 3:14 PMReply

    they can keep that crap of a show.. its one that I'll never watch.. I don't care who they put on... it

  • Bondgirl | January 16, 2013 11:23 AMReply

    I don't care if they ever have a black female, and seeing how things are going, I hope they never do. It would be some irritating character like JHud's role in that God awful Sex & the city movie. The issue I take is how they address the criticism. The comments about not knowing how to write black characters are such a cop out. Denzel, Will, Halle, & Thandie receive scripts made for white actors, yet they bring their own cultural mannerisms to the role. So why she gets a pass for not casting ethnically diverse cast is based on people liking the show. Same happened w/ SATC, Gossip Girls etc. I've known the writer/co-EP on GG since I was 12 yrs old. She knows black dynamic, wealthy girls in REAL LIFE but instead CHOOSES to write only white ones. Don't fall for the okey dole, y'all. Just let them have their show, and continue to create more shows that include us.

  • Bondgirl | January 16, 2013 11:28 AM

    What also irked me is the Girls writer who tweeted sarcastically about how the movie Precious didn't have any white girls like her in it.

  • SilverZeal | January 16, 2013 9:55 AMReply

    Really nvr undrstud y so much h8 on dis chik...she md a movie based ON HER EXPERIENCES not based on black people &/or their experiences. So if her experiences in her 'world' had her surrounded by only White people den dats wat it is....not bcuz she's racist but perhaps bcuz of d circumstances she's born in2 &/or surrounded with.

    So yes indeed der r White people without black friends who r not racist...same goes with u do not hv 2 hv an Arab or Muslim friend 2 prove u r not a fanatical anti-muslim.

    Y aint y'all blasting away @ Gossip Girl instead?

  • sergio | January 16, 2013 10:33 AM

    Say, can you repeat what you said in a language we understand?

  • Ghost | January 12, 2013 8:32 PMReply

    How do we know if this wasn't her idea? What if the network said do it? Notice this is free HBO, Showtime & Cinemax weekend on Direct Tv. So everyone can see this show with him when it premieres tomorrow. I see HBO taking this and running with it to get better ratings for that show. Could this also be NBC's way of testing how well folk react to Donald Glover outside of rapping & Community? Or getting attention for that show as well? This smells like a network edict more than anything.

  • SilverZeal | January 16, 2013 9:56 AM

    Very gd point....we/SZ agree!

  • ska-triumph | January 12, 2013 10:40 PM

    It's common showbiz knowledge that HBO has the next seasons of practically all their original shows shoot while the previous season is in the can, and already broadcasting. (Networks have longer seasons...) Same for GIRLS; yet, the series had so much praise-cum-backlash, (and Dunham didn't or couldn't say much to the race issue without seeming apologist), that detail was stuffed away. That being said, while her vision/voice is precise, I'm not a fan of the show.

  • Cherish | January 12, 2013 5:17 PMReply

    Hehehe. Black people whining, "why can't we be on GIRLS?? Why can't it be diverse?????" So this is what you get. Lena Dunham laying her droopy breasts on Donald Glover. Serves us right. Maybe now we can focus on getting our own shows on air.

  • Browneyesblue | January 12, 2013 4:46 PMReply

    Still no black female hipsters. Screw her. A token is a token no matter how you dress it. Donald Glover is the new rae dawn chong.

  • Ghost | January 12, 2013 8:40 PM

    Who was crying not me. I never heard of this show until now. Her getting called out might have been for the best in terms of press and ratings. Someone who went to the same school as her said you would really have to go all out not to interact with minorities. Especially in New York. If you wanted an all white series pick a city that has a low minority population. Then again I would love for those complaining to call out some other white shows if they are so serious about this.

  • Carl | January 12, 2013 6:18 PM

    And when the token wasn't there your ass was crying about no black folk being on the show. Double talking cry baby asshole.

  • Troy | January 11, 2013 4:23 PMReply

    Tambay please just listen to some of Donald Glover's music. His rap name is Childish Gambino check him out at He is a normal black man from GA that has been exposed to many different things. Definitely not a hipster, he doesn't have a bunch of piercing so he doesn't fit in around Little Five Points. This site is pulling a Rob Parker labeling him every chance you get as a hipster. I say Rob Parker because you guys are Afrocentric cinema nerds. Why label him as if he is less pro black or down with the cause. Name a black comedian under 30 with a name for himself, that has writing credits, part of a successful show, and has produced music with hip hop cosigns from Funkmaster Flex, Rza, Ghostface, Bun B, and many others. Nobody has love for whatever hipsters are currently defining themselves as not being.

  • IJustGottaSay | January 11, 2013 4:04 PMReply

    This show is about Hannah and Hannah's little world that she sometimes tries to expand when she feels like it. It stays very true to her idiosyncrasies and foibles, whether those outside of her bubble like it or not. The men that orbit her world we learn about only as they and their problems pertain to her. If Lena dives into the issues of being a black republican THAT would be pandering to the naysayers and haters. Even though as you have laid out the dichotomy of being a black republican is intimate and interesting story fodder, it's for another writer's & character's story. Hannah at this point in her stunted growth would not only not care about his quandaries (as she sometimes confuses "boyfriend" and "f*ckbuddy") but would also have no idea how to even begin to discuss them because they are completely un-relatable to her world. And let's be honest, the moment that Lena the writer starts to dive into any "real black" territory, she's opening herself up to more vitriol and poo-pooing from the peanut gallery (see: Django Unchained). She just needs to stay true to the show she envisioned.

  • artbizzy | January 11, 2013 3:32 PMReply

    We really have to choose our battles here. Here we have a young female writer telling her stories in the way she wants to. As a woman that inspires me. Women across the board have had a difficult time in the industry. Sure she's white and privileged but so what? This has been going on since jump. If she could do it so can you. It might take more effort it might even take your whole life but don't give up. Look at Shonda Rhimes. I would prefer that Lena continue to make the work that she wants to instead of dialoguing with a really divided audience and making concessions. Some of the most powerful, enriching stories told by anybody regardless of race or gender transcend demographics because they feed your heart and soul. Lena, be the storyteller you want to be and know that for various reasons not everyone is going to like you or appreciate what you do. So at the end of the day, Artists, stay true to yourselves and your vision.

  • Helluva | January 12, 2013 12:08 AM

    Well put.

  • getthesenets | January 11, 2013 1:55 PMReply

    Hey, I thought the MTA and New York City got rid of tokens a long time ago.

  • Sweeta | January 11, 2013 4:58 PM

    And there--dear friends--it is! Just a little coinage to keep the ire down...Thank you and good night!!!

  • getthesenets | January 11, 2013 1:55 PMReply

    Hey, I thought the MTA and New York City got rid of tokens a long time ago.

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