The Many Faces of Childish Gambino
Donald McLinley Glover Jr. is an American actor, screenwriter, comedian, producer, director, singer/songwriter, and a DJ. Glover was born on September 25, 1983, at an Air Force Base in Kern County, California. His father Donald Glover Sr. was a postal worker while his mother, Beverly is a retired daycare provider and a homemaker. His parents were foster parents for 14 years. Glover lived in Stone Mountain, Georgia, and was raised as a Jehovah's Witness. Glover high schooled at Lakeside in Georgia, DeKalb School of the Arts and later in 2006; he graduated from the New York University Tisch School of the Arts with a degree in screenwriting.
While at the DeKalb School of the Arts, Glover was captioned most likely to write for The Simpsons. At age 23, he got his first writing gig. Famed comedian/actor Tina Fey hired him to write for NBC's sitcom, 30 Rock. He later played the role of a community college student, Troy Barnes on the NBC sitcom Community; and starred in and occasionally directed FX's series Atlanta. The critic's well-received glover acting efforts, and he has won several accolades, including Outstanding Lead Actor in a Comedy Series, an Emmy, a Golden Globe and the Writers Guild of America Award for best comedy series. Glover's Hollywood debut began with Mystery Team in 2009.
He also starred in The Lazarus Effect, Magic Mike XXL, The Martian, Spider-man: Homecoming and in Solo: A Star wars Story as the young Lando Calrissian. He is also slated to provide the voice of adult Simba for an upcoming remake of the Disney classic film, The Lion King.
While at Dekalb, Glover recorded and put out a mixtape The Younger I Get, which he later rejected as being somewhat naive and unsophisticated. He started to produce music and also dabbled in disc jockeying under the moniker mcDJ. In 2008, unsuccessfully auditioned for a comedy sketch for Saturday Night Live. Glover soon joined comedy group, Derrick Comedy.
They put out several sketches on YouTube and managed to gather quite a dedicated fan following. It is here that Gambino did the groundwork for the Stand-up acts that he would later do in his career. He along with Dominic Dierkes, Meggie McFadden, DC Pierson and Dan Eckman of the Derrick Comedy group steadily build an ever-growing fanbase on YouTube with their short sketches. Glover got his stage name, Childish Gambino on the Internet via a Wu-Tang Clan band name generator. In 2008, Gambino put out an independent mixtape Sick Boi. His second mixtape Poindexter came out in September 2009. A couple more mixtapes were dropped in close succession, I Am Just A Rapper 1, and I Am Just A Rapper 2 in 2010. In July that year, Gambino released his 5th mixtape Culdesac.
In what Gambino deemed to be a necessary change of pace, he signed up with RCA Records in January 2018. In May 2018, Gambino released a single titled, "This is America." The song debuted at number 1 on the Billboard 100 chart. The song soon became a viral hip-hop sensation. The music video has now become the most talked about video since K-pop artist, Psy's "Gangnam Style" broke the internet, back in 2012. The unapologetic Georgia-trap hit exploded on the face of the politically correct, candy-floss, American mainstream fluff — the video blasts through racial stereotypes, exposing rampant cultural appropriation present in contemporary American media.
In an attempt to rattle people out of their expedient complacencies, Gambino, with much artistic courage brings forth pressing issues of racism, gun violence, mass shootings and discrimination in the US through his blitzkrieg cultural commentary "This is America." The music video, directed by Japanese-American filmmaker, Hiro Murai, bagged awards for best direction and choreography at the recently held MTV Music Awards. The single won in all 4 of its nominated award categories at the 61st Annual Grammy Awards, which made Gambino the first ever hip-hop artist/rapper to have won both, Song of the Year and Record of the Year, awards in the same year.
On YouTube, the discordant music video resonated well with its audiences globally, garnering well over 482 million views, inspiring several remixes and colloquial renditions across the globe, including France, Iraq, Nigeria, Russia, Sierra Leone, and India. The in-your-face video seems to have captured the pulse of suburban black American life, giving expression to the gleefully indifferent, emotional American moment of mass discontent. Raw, timely, uncut and on-point, Gambino's landmark rap single "This is America" has organically mushroomed into a 'Protest standard' across the globe; its sentiment is reverberating and echoing around the world, revealing unexpected stories of truth in its wake.