ROYALTY IN ATLANTA: How multitalented Donald Glover flourishes in music, comedy & film

By Thomas Hester II (@thomasahester2)

This past month FX has shown new teasers for their upcoming comedic series, Atlanta.

Fans who have been clamoring for what’s next for Donald Glover are greeted with a reverse edited 30 second promo with the protagonists walking throughout the capital of Georgia.

Every time someone tries to put him in the box he changes.

Even the title of ‘triple threat’ is lacking.

He’s a screenwriter, producer, actor, singer, composer, comedian, rapper.

“I never wanna be like just happy with where I’m at, I always want to be going for better”

— Donald Glover, Arsenio Hall Show

Though most know him as a writer first he first came on the scene independently as a musician.

He has released a mixtape The Younger I Get in 2005 though he later disowned it the project proves releasing music isn’t new to him.

As a content creator with the comedy group derrickcomedy, Glover was an early adopter of YouTube with classic skits like National Spelling Bee, Bro Rape and Girls Can’t Be Trusted.

They parlayed their success on the internet to their own movie.

While building their fan base he continued expanding his taste composing the score for Mystery Team.

While at NYU he got an opportunity of a lifetime working on SNL star Tina Fey’s new show, 30 Rock.

A dream job for a number of comedy writers he succeeded during this time period.

During the writer’s strike he continued working on music releasing the mixtape Sickboi.

In the 3rd season the Writers Guild of America awarded his work for Best Comedy Series.

Instead of staying with the popular NBC show until it ended in 2013 he left to pursue his other interests.

“I got the same speech when I left 30 Rock. My mom like, Why you wanna leave a good job? My dad like, Do you thing, boy, don’t stop ”

— Childish Gambino, We Ain’t Them

His talents includes acting, in 2009 he moved in front of the camera with Dan Harmon’s Community.

As former high school football star Troy Barnes, Glover became a favorite with the pairing of the socially inept character, Abed Nadir.

Though the show was low rating their fan base was dedicated.

The critics championed the show as one of the best cult shows in the last 25 years.

Harmon was open to the cast working on side projects with Joel McHale staying on The Soup and recognizing talent as the show’s writer won an Academy Award during it’s tenure.

Donald was again able to showcase his skills in the tags at the end of the show & musical moments in the episodes including a popular Christmas rap that went viral online.

Unlike 30 Rock where he stayed for only 3 of the 7 seasons Glover stayed for 5 seasons until leaving midseason to start anew.

Besides the exposure and him being cemented as an actor the show birthed a new partnership.

Film & television composer Ludwig Goransson worked on Community scoring for the show & after being first skeptical of his dedication joined Gambino on his debut album, Camp.

Co-producing the entire project Goransson brought a new orchestral sound to Childish Gambino’s music.

There were some distractors who thought he wasn’t concentrated on one thing and that he couldn’t be an artist.

Gambino answered the criticisms with the mixtape Royalty. Teaming with legends Bun B & RZA, TDE’s Schoolboy Q, Ab-Soul, independent artists Nipsey Hussle and Chance The Rapper showed he belonged in the rap game.

In 2013 his hard work payed off with the release of his 2nd album, Because the Internet.

Combining skills he created a rollout complete with a screenplay, interactive app for his tour, and short film.

The album was critically acclaimed even gaining two Grammy nominations including Best Rap Performance for the Gold selling single 3005.

“Who’s stopping you? Nobody’s stopping you anymore, but we’re afraid to move on. That’s why there’s so much nostalgia on the Internet…because we don’t want to look forward…but we gotta move on because it doesn’t make sense to stay”

— Donald Glover, Arsenio Hall Show

Continued acting he appeared in the critically acclaimed series Girls, Magic Mike XXL then Golden Globe award winning picture, The Martian.

In 2011 during his stand up special Weirdo he mentions how Twitter went aflame with the debate over who would play Peter Parker in the upcoming relaunch.

The hashtag #donald4spiderman trended and although the studios didn’t even contact him to audition, instead casting Andrew Garfield.

Years later in 2015 he voiced Miles Monroe in the Ultimate Spider-Man series even inspiring the creator of the new look of Spidey.

After casting, FX moved from ordering just a pilot to a 10 episode season.

The labor of labor that Donald Glover created, executive produced & starred in will soon be released.

FX’s Atlanta is set to air September of this year.

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