Donald Glover: The Modern Day Renaissance Man
Some may know him as a rapper, others as an actor and comedian. However, one thing is certain: Donald Glover is a modern day renaissance man taking the world by storm. There is seldom an entertainer of the same caliber as Glover, who has dabbled in everything from music, acting, directing, writing and comedy. He has time and time again proved to be a highly talented individual with no signs of slowing down.
Donald Glover grew up in Stone Mountain, Georgia, in a strict Jehovah’s Witness household. Always one with a penchant for jokes, he was a member of several sketch-comedy groups in his time at New York University, where he produced a number of viral YouTube hits. His first big break came when he attracted the attention of producers for NBC’s 30 Rock, where he was hired as a writer. Later on, he was cast as Troy Barnes on the NBC sitcom Community which would solidify his position as a talented actor early on in his career.
His breakthrough role in television came when he starred in the hit FX show Atlanta, a show which he created, wrote, produced, and directed. The series became an instant commercial hit, winning several Golden Globes and a pair of Emmy Awards. Glover made history by becoming the first African American person to win an Emmy for Outstanding Directing for a Comedy Series in 2017.
Along with work in television, he has also appeared on the big screen. He played Rich Purnell, an unconventional astrophysicist in the Oscar-nominated film The Martian, starring Matt Damon. Recently he made a cameo in Spider Man: Homecoming, portraying Aaron Davis, a cool criminal affiliated with a high-tech gang working against Spider Man. However, his most anticipated performance in film is seemingly shaping up to be him playing the charismatic smuggler Lando Calrissian in the new Star Wars film Solo, coming out on May 25. Early reviews have been highly positive of Glover, with many saying he absolutely steals every second he is on screen as Lando.
In keeping with his innate quality of having his hands in pretty much every facet of the creative world, Donald Glover has established quite the track record in music. Under his artist name, Childish Gambino, Glover has released three albums, each debuting in the top 10 on the US Billboard 200. His first two albums, Camp and Because the Internet, were both hip-hop heavy, with deftly delivered lyrics and intelligent comedic material that were unusual at the time. His third album, Awaken My Love!, was a complete 180 from the usual rapped lyrics of his previous albums. This album marked an evolution of his musical career, with tracks consisting of singing, each dipped with psychedelic soul, funk, and R&B influences. The album went on to receive multiple Grammy nominations.
The music video for Glover’s recently released “This is America” has been viewed 138 million times since its May 6, 2018 release . The graphic video is laden with metaphors about race and gun violence in America, and has generated thought pieces from academics around the country. “This is America” has demonstrated that Donald Glover has a firm grasp on the pulse of current events in our country, and has propelled his music career into new realms. This is America is currently No. 1 on this week’s Billboard Hot 100, a rare breakthrough for a political song.
Warning: Graphic Violence