Donald Glover an underappreciated Renaissance man

By Darian Scalamoni

When people think of some of the biggest talents in Hollywood, they often don’t think of Donald Glover. In the entertainment industry today, he’s one of the best creative forces across film, television and music, and should be recognized for his career’s ascension.

Glover began working his way into show business when he was a child. He attended DeKalb School of the Arts and was even voted “Most Likely to Write for The Simpsons” in his high school yearbook, according to Rolling Stone.

Glover wrote an unsolicited screenplay for, “The Simpsons,” which led to an invitation from Tina Fey to become a writer for the NBC sitcom, “30 Rock.” Glover won a Writers Guild of America Award for his work on the series in 2009. He left the show to star in the NBC comedy series “Community.”

Glover wins an Emmy for his series, ‘Atlanta.’ (AP Photo)

While he’s gone on to appear in more films and television shows over the years, such as “Magic Mike XXL,” “The Martian” and “Spider-Man: Homecoming,” Glover has focused on a few projects that makes him stand out above the rest.

One of them is his FX series “Atlanta,” which he not only starred in, but also created, produced and wrote. The dramedy follows a Princeton University dropout who is trying to get through life, while attempting to redeem himself with his ex-girlfriend — who is also the mother of his daughter — and manage his cousin’s blossoming rap career.

“Atlanta” interweaves political, racial and classist statements about our society. Glover, being a young, black male, can shine a light on the issues he dealt with growing up. The show does this in an authentic way that keeps the audience hooked because it seems real and not overly dramatized like most shows. It makes you feel like you’re getting a private look into the lives of the characters, and helps you understand them on a deeper level.

It was because of his work on this culturally important show that Glover was able to book even bigger projects. Glover will star in “Solo: A Star Wars Story,” in 2018 in where he’ll play a young Lando Calrissian. He was recently cast to voice of Simba in the live-action film adaptation of “The Lion King,” which is slated for release in 2019, according to the Hollywood Reporter. He’s also developing an animated Deadpool series for FX with his brother, Stephen Glover, as well as a second season of “Atlanta.”

Glover is able to provide a program on television that, at first glance, seems like it’s just about the music, however, it also provides a glimpse into a realistic portrayal of “making it” in today’s America from the perspective of a broke Black male in Atlanta. One of my favorite instances in this is in episode three where Earn takes his ex-girlfriend, Van, on a date to show that he’s trying to be more mature — even though he has little money — and continues to act apprehensive while at dinner. The waitress tries to sell them on specials that cost way more than he’s capable of paying, to which he lashes out on her as Van is in the restroom. It’s a laugh-out-loud moment, and a true reflection of how guys can try to seem more mature than they actually are before embarrassing themselves in public to the strongest degree.

Glover has evolved musically under his stage name Childish Gambino, going from mixtapes to studio albums. His first album “Camp,” sold 242,000 copies, while, in just two years, his next album “Because the Internet” was certified Gold by the Recording Industry Association of America. He was also nominated for two Grammy Awards for his second album.

Glover then experimented with his third studio album, “Awaken, My Love!”, which can be described as anything but rap music. “Awaken” is an amalgamation of R&B, soul and funk, and featured the single “Redbone,” that was certified triple platinum and got to No. 12 on the Billboard Hot 100 in 2016.

Glover is consistently changing the expectations of how to work within the entertainment industry by modifying himself and drawing comparisons to some of the greatest modern entertainers. With publications like Rolling Stone and The Hollywood Reporter profiling him for his accomplishments and his plans to conquer Hollywood, it’s obvious that this guy has the charisma, motivation and prowess to do just that.

Within just 10 years, Glover has risen to the top of the music, television and film ranks, so one can only wonder and ask, what’s next for Donald Glover?

Students share opinions around campus
“Do you prefer Donald Glover’s acting or his music?”

Shirley Ayala, a sophomore sociology major. (Brielle Bryan/Opinions Editor)

“I don’t know anything about him.”

Kevyn Teape, a junior marketing major. (Brielle Bryan/Opinions Editor)

“I prefer his TV and his stand-up.”