DONALD GLOVER: THE MODERN RENAISSANCE MAN

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Evan Brown

St. Joseph, Michigan– Comedian, Rapper, Actor, Writer, Director, Donald Glover is a true creator and one of the most talented people working today.  Glover is able to jump from project to project seamlessly, with his works spanning both mediums and genres.

I have an incredible amount of respect and admiration for Donald and, to quote Ben Schwartz (Another extremely talented comedian), “I wish I did one thing as well as Donald Glover does everything.”

In order to truly showcase the raw talent of Mister Glover, you need to understand a brief history of his work.

Glover’s career in entertainment started at a young age. At the age of 23, while still a student at NYU, Glover procured a job in the writers room of one of TV’s most beloved comedies: 30 Rock.

While working for Tina Fey, Donald made a name for himself in improv with the Upright Citizens Brigade, released a mixtape under the moniker Childish Gambino, and performed in his sketch group, Derrick Comedy.

In 2009, Donald Glover left 30 Rock for  a lead role on NBC’s Community, a critically acclaimed show about a study group at a community college. In that same year, he released a pair of mixtapes that got him some traction in the music game.

While not on the set of Community, he performed stand up and released his debut Studio album, Camp. The album opened to mixed reviews, but has since gained popularity and has become a fan favorite.

Glover remained on Community until it’s fifth season. He left the show in 2014 not to pursue his career in rap, but to pursue projects where he would be able to create freely and make his vision clear.

So, in his post-Community life, he released his second and third album in 2013 and 2016 respectively. Glover has also gone on to feature in such blockbuster hits  The Martian (2015), and Spider-Man: Homecoming (2017).

Additionally, he is playing Lando Calrissian in the upcoming Solo: A Star Wars Story, as well as  portraying Simba in the motion capture remake of Disney’s the Lion King.

Donald also has a critically acclaimed and Emmy winning show on FX called Atlanta. Donald created, writes for, directs, stars in and produces the show.

Atlanta’s second season premiered earlier this month and opened to incredibly positives reviews.  Glover plays Ern, who is managing for his cousin an up and coming rapper in Atlanta.

This brings us up to date on the many and multifaceted projects of Donald Glover. My respect for Glover isn’t because he’s funny, or a good rapper, or a skilled actor, but it is because he balances and combines all of these skills masterfully. He is able to maintain the irreverent and silly social image that comes from being a comedian and the callous, boastfulness of being a rapper.

My admiration for him comes from his complete dedication to every single project he takes on and his desire to blur the lines between the labels that the entertainment industry promotes. He stretches the boundaries of his art.

And while there are plenty of entertainers out there who break outside of one genre, there are typically very distinct differences between them.

Jamie Foxx is an actor, and separately, he is a singer. The same can be said of Drake, Justin Timberlake and many other artists, while Childish Gambino blends this together, expressing himself in whatever genre he feels is necessary.

Take his second studio album, Because the Internet, for example; although it is classified as a hip-hop album, confining it to that is gross understatement. The album was accompanied by two short films and screenplay, all written by Glover.

While, separately, these were were well put together, the real magic begins when you combine them.

The album tells a story. It is a musical masterpiece that weaves a tale. This, the short films, the screenplay, the music videos, and even the lightshow at his live performances further crafted that story and the world it was set in. Glover even started dressing like The Boy, the stories main character at press events and the like.

His third and final album, Awaken My Love, was released on vinyl with an exclusive app and a virtual reality headset. This app featured an exclusive VR experience including performances at his PHAROS concerts (a three day event in One Tree Hill where phones were banned and Glover performed every day in an up close and personal setting).

These are just some examples of him using his incredible talent to meld together all the creative endeavors he was pursuing.

His incessant outpouring of creativity, allows him to utilize everything in his reach to express himself in his art. Yes, I believe that Donald’s character on Community is the funniest one. Yes, I believe that Atlanta is the best television show of our generation. And Yes, I believe that his music is incredible. But his real talent is in his dedication to and compilation  of his craft.