Let’s Talk About the Renaissance Man: Donald Glover
By Sophie Austin
Donald Glover, otherwise known as Childish Gambino, does it all. Glover is someone who has contributed to the entertainment industry through many art forms. Oftentimes, artists try to pursue different avenues of the industry, but it is rare to see an individual achieve such high levels of success in all of them. However, Glover has graced the world in television writing, acting, music and as a stand-up comedian.
Glover attended NYU where he began studying dramatic writing and psychology in 2002. NYU recognized him in their alumni magazine as one of three “class clowns” who “made it in Hollywood by taking comedy seriously.”
In 2011, Glover’s stand-up comedy show, Weirdo, premiered on Comedy Special. During the show, Glover takes on topics such as black superheroes, dating and having children. Weirdo now is available to view on Netflix.
“I just don’t want to be labeled. I also don’t...like working for other people,” Glover said in an interview with the radio show the Breakfast Club.
Glover demonstrated this by going from being a writer for the hit show Thirty Rock to being a producer, writer and actor in his series Atlanta, which airs on FX. The show’s second season premiere received the best ratings in any recent cable comedy program. Atlanta is a clever mix of a drama and comedy. It tackles complex subject matter such as race, class and masculinity. In Atlanta’s first season, it received an average of 5.2 million viewers. The first episode was available to be viewed by the public for free on Youtube.
He has been nominated for seven Grammys for both of the albums he has released, and, in 2018, won for Best Traditional R&B Performance for his song “Redbone” off of his second album.
“I just never thought anything would be like this. You know, nothing quite is what it seems. And I guess, yeah, that’s what I would tell my younger self, nothing is what it seems,” Glover said after receiving the Grammy. “So you have to control your destiny and your narrative.”
Glover does not cease to surprise even his fans. The sounds of his second album are a drastic change from those on his 2013 album Because the Internet. Music from his most recent album Awaken, My Love was featured in the highly acclaimed 2017 film Get Out, a Jordan Peele project in which racism becomes the subject of horror. “Redbone” peaked at #1 on the Adult R&B Billboard charts in May of 2017. The song stayed in its peak position for ten weeks. Glover’s music has been a part of large-scale contemporary cultural moments.
Being the well-rounded artist that he is, Glover has developed a very noticeable sense of style as well. He is often seen on red carpets walking around in boldly-colored suits. To the Black Panther Premier Glover wore a bright orange one with a printed shirt underneath.
Donald Glover also released a new song and music video titled "This Is America", with many hidden messages about today's violence, gun control issues, and the youth's obsession with the latest dance trends. The music video hints that we are too focused on dancing and the culture of media to notice the real-life issues surrounding us.
Glover will also be starring in Solo: A Star Wars Story as Lando Calrissian. Glover is apparently excited for the new role. The movie hits theaters May 28th.
Who’s to guess what will be next for Glover in the coming years. We just hope that he continues to surprise us with quality entertainment while also challenging us to think about subject matter in ways we never would have otherwise.
Edited by Danielle Germain