Donald Glover is hands down one of the most talented young entertainers, maybe ever. At 37, the former College Humor writer has come a long way in a short time.
The reason I’m such a Donald Glover fan is because he’s much more than a movie star. He’s a stand-up comedian, a TV actor, writer, producer, and a popular music artist under pseudonym Childish Gambino. He’s the ultimate entertainment multi hyphenate, and everything he touches turns to gold.
Donald Glover has made so many achievements in a short time that some of them are bound to be overlooked. So to show our appreciation, let’s break down some of our favorite aspects of Donlad Glover’s career.
Donald Glover in Movies
In Glover’s 2012 comedy special Weirdo he does a whole bit about people on the internet pushing to make Glover the next Spider-man, and other people rejecting that idea with some malice. It’s a great bit. But what makes it even better is that Donald Glover was sure to make a couple cameos in Spider-Man: Homecoming as the scene-stealing criminal Aaron Davis.
Donald Glover also voiced my favorite childhood character of all time, Simba, in Disney’s The Lion King (2019). This remake was fantastic, and Glover got to show off some of his vocal chops singing alongside Queen Bee herself, Beyonce. And speaking of iconic characters, he resurfaced the character Lando Calrissian in Solo: A Star Wars Story (2018).
Lando is a very special character because he was first played by Billy Dee Williams, the only actor of color to appear in the original Star Wars trilogy (James Earl Jones is never shown). Getting to play Lando in a new Star Wars movie is a validation that he is an ambassador for Black people in entertainment.
Donald Glover in TV
Donald Glover continues his ambassadorship in Atlanta. The show in which Glover writes, stars in and executively produces, takes place in Atlanta, following “Earn” as he tries to make it in the world of rap. The show dives into issues of race, relationships, poverty, status and parenthood.
Before Atlanta, Glover was a star in the Community ensemble cast. This sitcom still has a growing fanbase today. Spearheaded by the brilliant writing of Dan Harmon, and carried out by stars like Chevy Chase, Ken Jeong, Jim Rash, Joel McHale, Alison Brie and Gillian Jacobs, Community is turning into a cult classic.
Community may have gotten Glover the exposure he needed in front of the camera but people forget just how much Donald Glover shines behind the scenes. He was the Executive Story Editor for a season on the Emmy magnet 30 Rock. There’s maybe only two shows that have made me laugh as much as Community, and one of those is 30 Rock. Donald Glover’s involvement in both of these shows cements him as a sitcom legend in my mind.
Donald Glover as Childish Gambino
When Glover left Community it was to embark on a career in music. Glover started producing rap songs under the name Childish Gambino. His bars are well articulated and cleverly tongue in cheek.
He would eventually gain widespread recognition when “Redbone,” (in which he highlights his vocal range) from his third album, reached number 12 on the Billboard Hot 100. But everyone was talking about Glover when he released rap single “This Is America” in 2018. The poignancy of this song is intoxicating. I have listened to it on repeat. The song became the 31st song in history to debut at number one on the US Billboard Hot 100, where it stayed for two weeks.
The song has recently seen a massive surge of Spotify listens amid the George Floyd riots. To put it simply, the song deals with gun violence and racism, but I could spend an entire second article analyzing this song. It deals in particular with the history and culture of Black men as entertainers, which punches even harder coming from the quintuple threat of entertainers, Donald Glover, actor, writer, musician, comedian and producer.
So go listen to “This Is America,” better yet, watch the music video. Then go watch Community and 30 Rock and Solo and Lion King and everything else Donald Glover does. He is simply the best.