Donald Glover is fast becoming a household name.
I first locked into him when he played the role of Troy Barnes in that very funny show, ‘Community,’ on NBC. From 2010 to 2015 he starred as the black student at a community college full of misfits. If you enjoy comedy and never saw ‘Community,’ you owe it to yourself to watch a few episodes. (I bet it’s the only show Michael Kenneth Williams – Omar from ‘The Wire’ – played a comedy role).
Glover launched a successful music career as Childish Gambino that I mostly ignored. But after seeing his performance on the past Grammys, I had to question on my Facebook, ‘Is there anything this guy can’t do?’ He’s a writer, actor, musician, comedian, producer and director, and does them all well enough to have earned an Oscar and Grammy.
The second season of his TV show ‘Atlanta’ on FX just ended and it’s a hit. If you only watch the ‘Barbershop’ episode from this season, you’ll appreciate his talent and humor.
I confess to being a fan of Saturday Night Live mostly because of the memories it brings back of sitting around the dorm in the late 70s on a Saturday night with the guys bonding over a bunch of laughs. Thanks to the DVR, I can now watch SNL at my leisure and fast forward through the trash. To their credit, they usually still bring at least one good skit per show.
A couple weeks ago I caught the buzz that Stormy Daniels was on SNL’s opening skit. The press seemed to have loved it. I got around to it a couple days ago and it did nothing for me. To my surprise, on the same show, Donald Glover was the host. Now, if someone had told me that, I would have watched it live.
Donald Glover stole the show. He was in every skit and killed each part. He performed his first song which was a tab R&B-ish. For a first time listen, I really liked it. But when he did his second song, I had to sit up and pay attention. This was the Donald Glover/Childish Gamino I’ve become addicted to.
He introduced the world to his new song ‘This Is America.’ I was curious if SNL knew about the song before he performed it (of course they did) because it sucked the air out the room with its message and delivery.
Since then, ‘This Is American’ has gone mega-viral. The video has been on YouTube a week and already amassed 5 million views. I’m not a video guy but this video is deep.
Solomon Jones puts it this way on Philly.com…
This Is America,” the music video released over the weekend by hip-hop artist Childish Gambino, deftly illustrates the political and social climate of our time, and therein lies its brilliance. In turns disturbing and thought-provoking, violent and absurd, “This Is America” holds up an artist’s mirror to the conflict-driven reality-show culture of our country.
If you don’t know Donald Glover, you just didn’t know it was him when you saw him. If you really want to know about Donald Glover, check out this longform article in The New Yorker.
In an awkward link back to Saturday Night Live, one of the skits he did took me for a ride. It was a parody of the old Oren ‘Juice’ Jones video from 1986, ‘The Rain.’ Back then it was an R&B hit on the radio and one of the first generation videos to hit TV.
(Lyrics to remember the song by… ‘I saw you (and him, and him) walking in the rain. You were holding hands and I’ll never be the same.’)
In the SNL skit, Glover played the Oren ‘Juice’ Jones singer as Ras P. Berry. If you remember ‘The Rain‘ video, the SNL skit comparison is hilarious. If you never saw ‘The Rain’ video, the SNL skit is funny and holds its own. It reminds us old guys how funny ‘The Rain’ actually was.
Keep doin ya thing Mr. Donald Childish Glover-Gambino