How FX’s ‘Atlanta’-themed Events for HBCU Students Launched a Dialogue on the Black Experience

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Partner activations included a series-themed nail decal station.

If you’ve ever seen an episode of FX’s surreal comedy-drama “Atlanta” about the Black experience in America, you know it’s a conversation starter. So to celebrate the series’ penultimate and ultimate seasons, the network hosted discussions and wellness activations for HBCU students at an off-campus event in Atlanta. Students of Morehouse, Spelman and Clark Atlanta participated in the spring, and an on-campus activation was held at Howard University in Washington, D.C., over the fall. The program was a means of cultivating a candid dialogue around the show’s provocative storylines with an audience that could not only identify with them, but amplify FX’s message.

“They were conversations that a lot of people are having around what it means to be Black in America, what the Black experience is, how ‘Atlanta’ has changed the cultural landscape, the impact of ‘Atlanta’ in entertainment and in the world at large,” says Kenya Hardaway, svp-integrated promotions, multi-platform marketing, at FX Networks. “There are so many things about the series that drive interest in discussing situations, experiences, characters so we wanted to explore all of that. It was great lively conversation, and it was as beneficial to the students as it was for us presenting the experience.”

fx-saints-on-crenshaw-2022-teaserRead More on The Topic:

At the event in Atlanta, a custom-fabricated structure served as the venue, where host Corey Arvinger, founder and ceo of Support Black Colleges, along with Black creatives and media members, engaged in a conversation on season three themes. Beyond the talk, students had the opportunity to have their hair done at an on-site barbershop, get branded nail decals, participate in an aura reading, play oversized games like giant Jenga and grab fare from local vendors.

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FX focused on connecting with HBCU students, many of whom identify with the cultural themes tackled in “Atlanta.”

Then in D.C., the conversation featured a panel of Black professionals, Howard professors and student activists discussing the cultural impact of the series. Students were also invited to enjoy illusionist and dj performances, have their aura read by a pro, snag giveaways and interact with a “memory tree” to share their favorite HBCU memories or “Atlanta” scenes before watching a screening of the latest episode from season four.

And FX didn’t just talk; it walked. Ninety percent of the vendors and talent enlisted for the event were not only Black-owned businesses but helmed by HBCU alums. Participating organizations included Dope Coffee, Parlay Food Truck, Juuice ATL, The SWAG Shop, DJ Tryfe, illusionist Tyler Korso and more.

“We definitely work to engage local Black-owned businesses and entrepreneurs when we do events in the community,” says Hardaway. “It really helps to add to the conversation and authenticity of what we’re trying to bring to the experience, and is able to highlight brands and products that our guests could be interested in. So it was leveraging this program to benefit a larger community of people.” Agency: Idlewild Experiential.

Kait Shea
Posted by Kait Shea

Kait joined EM in 2015 and today enjoys her role as senior editor, digital content. When she’s not in reporter mode, rocking mermaid pants at Comic-Con or running laps at MWC Barcelona, you can find her at home listening to music.
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