In order to really understand what Donald Glover (aka Childish Gambino) has accomplished this year, we need to go back. We last heard from Donald Glover on the Kauai EP that came out in the latter half of 2014. After that, everything pretty much went dark for Mr. Glover. His social media accounts went black and for all intents and purposes, it felt like we might never hear from Donald Glover again. However, this isn’t just about Childish Gambino the rapper/producer, but also Donald Glover, the writer, actor, executive producer.
Two careers. One man. Donald Glover was still many many steps ahead of us. He silently stretched his talents across TV, film and music.
Like I said, everything was dark for Donald Glover after Kauai dropped. He wasn’t in the news, he didn't tweet, no instagramming. Nothing. We now know that Glover spent most of the following year acting. The former Community actor had roles for 2015 in The Lazarus Effect, Magic Mike XXL and The Martian. The Lazarus Effect didn’t do too hot at the box office, but Magic Mike and The Martian both drew their respective crowds.
Now to some of the OG Donald Glover fans, we’ve been waiting for this gloup for years. Even when he was writing for 30 Rock and doing stand-up, we knew something else was brewing. We knew his breakout role had to come eventually. In numerous interviews, Glover always reiterated that he wanted to create a show about his story in his own way. Never one to make a huge deal out of anything, the trailer for Atlanta seemingly came out of nowhere. The hype for the show was expected and all of us were ready for Donald Glover to take over the small screen.
Donald Glover may be an extremely popular celebrity but I was worried viewers wouldn’t be as receptive to what he was offering here. Thank goodness I was wrong by a long shot. Glover and FX made a genius move and put the first episode of Atlanta on Youtube. This got everyone involved and gave us instant access to the show. After the first episode ended, we were all hooked and couldn’t wait to see where the show would take us. He presented the black experience in a creative way, that was funny, satirical and serious all in one. Ten episodes deep, Atlanta earned widespread praise across the boards. Glover won best actor in a comedy series at the Critics Choice Awards and Atlanta was dubbed one of the top 10 shows this year by the American Film Institute Awards. And that’s only the beginning, the show and cast are nominated for 10 more awards, two of which are Golden Globes.
What about the music, though? We heard Childish Gambino do some covers and even some music in Atlanta, but would we ever get a return from the artist who dropped Because the Internet? The answer is yes. We’ll step back just a tad bit, remember when he tweeted out a link to the Pharos app? A plethora of questions flooded Twitter, of course, just my luck he was only performing once this year in California. After that show there were some mixed reactions, we definitely were getting a different Childish Gambino than the one we met years ago. And more so, this man was singing more than usual. I personally always wanted a record where he did nothing but sing and a couple weeks ago that’s exactly what we got in Awaken, My Love!. Blistering funky, jazzy beats coupled with the lyrical passion of Childish Gambino has this nostalgic album on several best of 2016 lists, Blavity included.
Donald Glover kills it in everything he does. Writing, acting, producing, he does it all which should be an inspiration for anyone looking to create something dope. Let's not forget about the amount of criticism he’s received over the years, not just from fans but from media outlets too. Through it all, Glover came out on top and from the looks of things, the train won't be stopping anytime soon. Glover will be starring in the brand new Spiderman flick and Atlanta is renewed for a second season.
What else will we get from the former Sick Boi? If he goes silent again, just know more greatness is on the way.