Entertainment

Why Donald Glover is one of the most talented artists of our generation

8 minutes to read

Actor, writer, comedian, director, producer, creator, rapper, singer, songwriter. Some people might read this as a list of professions a group of school kids dream to be when they’re older. Some of those dreamers might be lucky to ever reach one of those professions. That is of course unless your name is Donald Glover, you get to do all of them.

Donald Glover is quickly becoming a household name. Whether it’s his work in Community or his songs as Childish Gambino, most people have come in contact with something Donald Glover has left his fingerprint on.

Glover first rose to a level of stardom at the age of 23 when he was hand picked by Tina Fey to be a writer on the hit comedy show 30 Rock. He was brought to Fey’s attention with his work with New York University sketch comedy group, Derrick Comedy.

In his time working for 30 Rock, he was executive story editor of 22 episodes and writer on two episodes. He also appeared onscreen in a number of background roles. Glover left 30 Rock after three years to join the cast of the show that is still what he is know for the most: Community.

Glover’s popularity skyrocketed when he joined the cast of Community. He featured in five of the show’s six seasons as high school athlete Troy Barnes. It was, however, his relationship with Danny Pudi’s Abed that made them the show’s killer combo. Cinemablend rated Abed and Troy a respective 1st and 2nd when they ranked the best Community characters.

During his time on Community, Donald Glover ticked another profession off his list by adding comedian. In 2010 he featured on Comedy Central in a half an hour segment and in 2012 he got an hour special called Donald Glover: Weirdo. Unfortunately, Glover has not done another comedy feature since his hour special.

In 2013, Glover announced he would be leaving Community midway through season five. Community creator, Dan Harmon recently said that Glover leaving was “the death of the show“. When talking about the departure, Glover described it as “appropriate“. Not too long after the announcement, he posted several photos of notes to his Instagram, giving us an insight into his life.

Despite leaving Community, Glover still remained on the screen, both big and small. He featured in an episode of Sesame Street, where he built a guitar and performed a rap, Magic Mike XXL as a stripper, The Martian in an oddly Abed-like role and several voicing roles including shows like Adventure Time, China, IL and Ultimate Spider-Man (yes he finally got to be Spider-Man).

In 2016, Glover launched his new show, Atlanta. After its first season, it sits with an 100% Certified Fresh rating on Rotten Tomatoes. Glover is the sole creator of the project and is the only writer to write on all ten of it’s current episodes. The writer with the next most credited episodes is his brother, Stephen Glover. He also directed two episodes of the series

including B.A.N., the shows highest rated episode on IMDb. Season 2 of the show has already been green lit and is believed to begin shooting soon as Glover schedule had previously been busy due to appearing in the MCU’s Spider-Man: Homecoming.

If at this point you are yet to recognise anything Donald Glover has been a part of, then luckily there is a whole other side to him. The side he calls Childish Gambino.

Given the name by a Wu Tang Clan name generator, Childish Gambino has released three studio albums, seven mixtapes and two EPs, all from which has produced eight single and 11 music videos.

Between 2008 and 2010, Gambino released five mixtapes before his first EP in March of 2011, titled EP, which features his hit song “Freaks and Geeks“. That was then followed by his first album in November, titled Camp, which featured the singles “Bonfire” and “Heartbeat“.

Following Camp, Gambino launched another mixtape in 2012 titled ROYALTY. This was then followed by his second album, Because the Internet in December the following year. It was Because the Internet that pushed Childish Gambino forward as a serious music artist after it received two Grammy nominations. The album produced three singles in “3005“, “Crawl” and “Sweatpants“. “3005” was featured in Triple J’s 2013 Hottest 100 at number 43.

Because the Internet was much more than just an album however. Accompanying the album was a short film titled Clapping for the Wrong Reasons and a complete 73 page screenplay, both of which were written by himself. The screenplay was designed to be read with the songs from the album being played at different points. This screenplay introduces the story of a character named The Boy.

The creativity didn’t stop there from Gambino with the mixtape/EP combo of STN MTN and Kauai dropping in October of 2014. Kauai produced the hit single “Sober” as well as “Pop Theieves (Make It Feel Good)” which featured Jaden Smith. Kauai also has many references to The Boy from Because the Internet.

In December of 2016, Childish Gambino dropped his third album, Awaken My Love!. This album was seen as Gambino’s biggest change of direction. The new change was lead by its two singles, “Me and Your Mama” and “Redbone”, which peaked at number 27 on the Australian charts, with his previous best was number 70 with “Sober”. “Redbone” was voted at number 5 in Triple J’s 2016 Hottest 100 with “Me and Your Mama” also featuring at number 88.

Already Glover has many award accolades to his name. While many of them have been shared awards, it is still a massive credit to him and what he has managed to achieved in a diverse range of art forms. Just to name a few, Glover has won five Writers Guild of America Awards from six nominations for 30 Rock and Atlanta, a Golden Globe, Critics Choice Award and PGA Award for Atlanta, three Primetime Emmy nominations and one MTV Movie + TV Award

nomination for Atlanta, American Comedy Awards’ Breakout Performance of the Year for 2012, two Grammy nominations including Best Rap Album for Because the Internet and three MTV VMA nominations.

While looking back at what Donald Glover has already achieved at such a young age as both himself and Childish Gambino, it’s hard not to think that his best work is in front of him. As previously mentioned, Glover now has a role in the Marvel juggernaut known as the MCU. He plays the character know as Aaron Davis, the uncle to the second Spider-Man, Miles Morales, the character in which he voiced in the animated series.

Sticking with the Disney tree, Glover has been cast in Lucasfilms’ Han Solo spin-off film as a young Lando Calrissian. Lando was previously played by Billy Dee Williams in Star Wars: Episode V – The Empire Strikes Back and Star Wars: Episode VI – Return of the Jedi. In June, a photo was posted by Glover’s co-star Woody Harrelson showing himself and Glover with his Lando moustache.

With my buddy #Donald Glover in Spain

A post shared by Woody Harrelson (@woodyharrelson) on

Glover’s tie with Disney is not over yet however, with Disney recently announcing that Glover will voice Simba in their 2019 reboot of the Disney classic, The Lion King. It is assumed that Glover will voice adult Simba, however it is possible to see Glover tap into his Childish side to voice young Simba.

In terms of Childish Gambino, Glover has announced that his next album would be the last for Gambino. This, of course, does not rule out the possibility that he will continue to produce music, it does mean that there is only one more go-around as Childish Gambino.

Actor, writer, comedian, director, producer, creator, rapper, singer, songwriter. Donald Glover can be know to people for any one of these things. He is an artist in every sense of the word and he is going to continue to be in the years to come.