Last week, Donald Glover as his rap alter-ego Childish Gambino dropped a video for a new song called “This Is America.” The footage was chocked full of subliminal messages and implied commentary on race, gun violence, and the American way.
The video has sparked a great debate with many being shocked by the imagery and even more is left to interpret to determine what the artist was trying to say.
“I’ve had so many conversations at this point and heard so many disparate opinions on (the videos) goals and purpose that I’m just going to stick with what I know: Donald Glover made a video in which he dances a lot and some folks die and others don’t,” wrote Panama Jackson via Very Smart Brothas. “Because this is America.”
The Black community has lost one of our own when Kanye West began, Trumpin’ & jivin’ thus leaving the black culture in complete shock and awe. I think collectively we are looking for something—or someone else to believe in. Or at least take away the sting.
Enter Donald Glover, the man that is for some reason being touted as the “Anti-Kanye”.
Glover has been on quite the ascent through his writing, production and direction of his acclaimed show “Atlanta,” Glover offers his version of the black experience. He must be getting something right because many black critics and fans have praised the show for its intellect, mild complexity and authenticity.
In the quest to win 2018, Donald Glover is already blowing out the competition early in the second quarter. He has recently wrapped season 2 of Atlanta, his latest single as Childish Gambino, “This Is America,” debuted at No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100, with a video that has left tongues wagging. And in a few days, Glover will star as a young Lando Calrissian in Solo: A Star Wars Story, a performance many are praising as being better than the actual film.
“In terms of sheer numbers — dollars, media coverage, worshipful fanboys — Solo has outsized importance for Glover’s career,” said critic Steve Hyden. “But when it comes to less tangible properties, like buzz and prestige, ‘This Is America’ put Glover and Childish Gambino on a whole new level.”
And with that new level comes greater scrutiny.
Glover is under the microscope of hotness right now so prepare to be privy to some new-old stuff and personal details you never cared about before.
One such detail is the fact that he’s a father of two and that his children’s mother is (everyone holds on to your fitted hat), a European American. Yes, that’s right…America’s new “woke bae” is coupled up with a Caucasian woman. Which, I cannot lie had me hella surprised. Until I went back and recalled numerous interviews where Glover talked about how awkwardness and how black women would never give him the time of day.
Now, of course this is his personal life, and it’s none of our business, but I hear people questioning his ‘realness factor’ because his partner is white. As black people, we have to stop being distracted by nonfactors and appreciate the conversations and platforms that are created when a person like Glover makes a show like “Atlanta.” We place a lot on our celebrities and I get it, “to whom much is given”…however, it seems that society is always trying to crown someone as the next voice of our community.
But here’s the problem with that. Glover never asked for the job. He is simply telling stories and creating art from his perspective—one of a black man in America.
Here’s another example of society manipulating reality for convenience or symbolism. Glover’s song “Redbone” was an undeniable hit. And people would have you believe that it was some deep conscious song that was part of a movement. Why because he sings “stay woke” in the chorus?
Well, the fact is this “Redbone” is about paranoia and infidelity in a relationship. In the song, Gambino fears that his efforts to keep this woman satisfied will drive her away. It’s not about big government, racism or police brutality. It is about a man trying to hold on to his girl while reminding himself stay woke or another man will take her. That is it.
As a community, we have to stop letting people impose upon us. And we have to stop looking for a monolithic figure to represent our cause or interests. Our voices are loud and varied and carry a lot of weight and to quote Old Kanye “no one man should have all that power,”
The bottom line is white mate or nah. Just being black automatically qualifies you to speak on the black experience—your black experience.
Stay woke, y’all.