Tonight's epic and hilarious episode of Atlanta takes place entirely inside the Black American Network, a TV station that mirrors a BET or VH1 Soul, featuring parodies of all-black commercials that are equal parts twisted, weird, and woke. The episode features Paper Boi making a guest appearance on the talk show Montague talking about his "problematic" lyrics, but the funniest moment in the episode involved the story of a young man's struggles with trans-racial identity. That man was Antoine, who should look familiar if you spend any time on the internet. He was portrayed by Niles Stewart, who is better known as YouTube/Vine sensation NileseyyNiles. And if that name doesn't ring a bell, this GIF definitely will.
This isn't the first time Donald Glover tapped the vast pool of internet celebrity for Atlanta; he already had pint-sized IG don Bankroll PJ steal a scene in episode 4. With this role, though, it looks like the 18-year-old Maryland-based internet celebrity (and rapper) Niles should be well on his way to more hilarious acting gigs (or, at the very least, a large bump in followers).
We caught up with Niles to see how he got this role on Atlanta, getting a bit too eager to tell people about his role, and his plans for his acting future.
It was a great surprise to see you pop up on the screen when I was watching this episode, even though people had been speculating you'd make an appearance ever since you posted a Snap with Donald Glover earlier this year. How did you end up getting the role?
I’m not sure exactly how he found me. I know Donald Glover has seen some of my previous work and had someone reach out to me.
Was it weird to see Twitter go so ham when you mentioned being on Atlanta in that picture?
I dropped a bomb on that one—I was just excited. Talking to my manager afterwards, [I realized I] said it a little early. I was just so excited. [But] I just stopped talking about it to let everyone get surprised whenever they actually do see it.
Was it a situation where he already had this role of Antoine/Harrison lined up or is that something you guys worked on?
He had it lined up already so when I accepted the role, I pretty much just got the lines and went with the plan that he already had.
This is a pretty amazing acting debut. What was it like for you jumping into that arena?
It was crazy. Coming from social media, it’s like you got social media and you have the real world. There’s like a break in between the two, so for me to have this as my first opportunity to really jump out there and get in that field—that’s a dope experience.
It seems like Donald bases a lot of stuff in Atlanta from real life, but do you know if your character Antoine was inspired by Rachel Dolezal?
I think so. I wouldn’t put it past him.
Do you have any more aspirations in TV or film in the future?
Yeah, we’re working with a couple of people to pitch some shows to a couple of different companies right now. I’m in the collective LeanSquad, we all do comedy videos together. We’ve built the brand, we’ve built the numbers up, so at this point we are trying to put together some things and actually start to get a show going for us. We know we can do it on another level.
This is definitely a good jumping off point. You rap, too, right?
Yeah, I rap as well. I have something coming real, real soon. It’s like brand new. No one has ever heard it. I’m just gonna drop it randomly for people.
It’s rare to get an opportunity like this, where somebody like Donald Glover hollers at you and you guys roll in multiple lanes. Did you ever hit him up to be like, "Do you want to do something for my YouTube or would you like to work on a track?"
Nah, I didn’t even approach him with that yet. You know, like I said, I didn’t expect anything like this. For this to be my first opportunity jumping into a field like this and the amount of love that he showed just by reaching out is awesome. There's a lot of people who watch us and a lot of big celebrities who follow our work, but you know, some people just prefer to see you work and just watch you grow. He is one of the only people who reached out and tried to make something of it. I definitely appreciate that. He really was doing research just to find my name, and just the fact that he reached out is crazy.
Finally, are there any more plans for us to possibly see Antoine in future episodes of Atlanta?
Uh, that’s not really up to me. I don’t want to give anything out or…