On Thursday (March 24) FX series Atlanta finally kicked off its highly-anticipated third season. But if you were waiting for the adventures of Ern, Paper Boi and crew in Europe you had to practice a bit more patience (the 2nd episode followed) as it was a bugged-out quasi-kidnapping story based on the real-life tragic case of Devonte Hart.
In the episode, titled “Three Slaps,” a young Black kid, Loquareeous, shows out in class by getting his dance only to be reprimanded to the principal’s office. There, the no joke, but actually involved Black mother (along with her son’s grandfather) isn’t happy she’s been once again called to the school for her son’s “disruptive” (dog whistle) behavior, telling them to just put him in detention. After leaving, she gives her son some hard truth in the school hallway about his shucking and jiving, “If you don’t start acting right and using common sense, these white people they gonna kill you. Kill you!”
The white school counselor (she was in the office with the principal, a Black woman, but exposed herself as the Op when she suggest the kid wasn’t that bright) sees his g-daddy bless him with three slaps to the face. So you know child protective services was called. So of course, a visit is paid, and Loquareeous mom incredibly tell him to get to stepping after his mother accuses him of calling the cops on her, which he denies, which he didn’t. This is where his plight becomes a potentially deadly adventure.
Laquarius is places in a home with a pair of white women and three other black children who are clearly mired in the struggle. The food is terrible, there are no wash cloths in the funky smelling home and these two women are clearly out of their depth raising Black children.
But the jig is truly spotted when Loquareeous is spotted at a farmer’s market wearing a fly hat. The distinctive hat in question will be recognizable to those familiar with Devonte Hart.
Hart was wearing a similar hat when a photo of the teary-eyed Black child hugging a white police officer went viral. The photo was taken at a rally in Portland in 2014 to protest a grand jury’s decision not to indict Darren Wilson, the officer who killed the unarmed Michael Brown in Ferguson. However, many called out the allegedly heartwarming picture to be a farce and nothing but a staged photo op. Unfortunately, four years later, Hart was reportedly in his family’s SUV when it plunged off a cliff. Strangely, Hart’s body was the only one unaccounted for of the seven other family members who perished in the accident. The story is fodder for conspiracy theories since the SUV was reportedly intentionally driven off the cliff by his adoptive mother.
The bodies of Sarah and Jennifer Hart, Devonte’s mothers, were found near the SUV at the bottom of the cliff in Northern California, and the bodies of Abigail, Jeremiah and Markis, three adopted children were found nearby. The bodies of two more siblings, Sierra and Hannah, would be found later. Although the family was known as “The Hart Tribe,” the mothers had been accused of child abuse in multiple states.
So yeah, Atlanta went extra dark with this one. Unfortunately, in real life, investigators determined Devonte Hart was likely in the SUV, and was declared dead in 2019. However, Loquareeous fortunately, helped his siblings to a happier fate.
Rest in power Devonte Hart. You deserved so much better.
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