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4 Q’s with "Atlanta" Star Brian Tyree Henry

In honor of the return of Donald Glover’s award-winning series, Atlanta, we spoke with Morehouse College alum Brian Tyree Henry—better known by the show’s fans as Alfred “Paper Boi” Miles—on what he loves about the city, season two and making it in the A. 

Follow ATL’s own Brian Tyree Henry on Insta, @briantyreehenry  

 

So you went to Morehouse—when you got the script, were you excited to come back? Atlanta will always be one of my favorite cities in this country because it has fostered so many things in my life that I still hold dear today. Even the passion that I have for acting and performing started in Atlanta. I say all the time that from the ages of 18 to 21, that’s where I literally learned who the hell I was and what I wanted to become in life. That is because of that city. So when I got the script and the title was Atlanta, I was like, hold up, you sure?... A’ight, cool, let’s do it.

On paper this is a show about three young men trying to make it. What is it about the city of Atlanta that elevates their stories, as opposed to typical millennial sitcoms set in New York City or Los Angeles? Atlanta’s not waiting for anybody to give it its due. Atlanta’s a great city to cultivate your own thing, from fashion to music to food. Every single block of that city has always not given a damn about what anybody else thinks about it.

What’s Alfred up to in season two? So you know, Paper Boi’s got a little notoriety now. Celebrity is a crazy thing, and when you’re an Atlanta celebrity especially, people know who you are. People know where you eat; people know what car you drive. I think that Alfred is starting to realize that the anonymity that he used to move through the city with before is not exactly readily available for him anymore. So, it’s a little cold in these streets for Alfred.

You’re returning to Broadway this month as well in Lobby Hero. What’s that been like? Theater is literally where I started. Kenneth Lonergan is a genius. Chris Evans, Michael Cera and Bel Powley are all fantastic actors and creatives. Trip Cullman, who’s directing, is a really good friend of mine. It feels like I’m coming home to do the thing that I spent 11 years in New York City trying to cultivate. And it’s like a coming home gift to me.