Presentation on theme: "+ The Rejected Rebel By Andrew Cristal. + Introduction Donald Glover has recently made his way into the entertainment industry’s limelight for his success."— Presentation transcript:
+ The Rejected Rebel By Andrew Cristal
+ Introduction Donald Glover has recently made his way into the entertainment industry’s limelight for his success in stand-up, acting, and rapping. Before his rise to fame and his eventual celebrity status, Donald Glover experienced a childhood full of alienation, as he was different from the rest of his peers. Donald Glover’s rebellion is against the stereotypes of race and class, and society’s strong rejection of those who do not fit these stereotypes. He uses the stage-name Childish Gambino as an outlet to express his troubled early years and his experiences of alienation through music. Donald knows what it’s like to go through school and life as the odd one out, and is now taking the opportunity to make kids who are not socially accepted feel as if they belong. Donald Glover continues to stress the importance of individuality through all elements of his work.
+ Childhood Donald Glover’s early years were spent in the bad parts of New York where he was often ridiculed for how he talked and his interests, which both seemed to be “too white” conflicting with his black skin color. His family situation was also much different than others in his neighborhood because he had a mother and a father who ran a foster care. Donald had a younger brother and sister, and many foster siblings that taught him everything about sex, race, and explicit language from an early age (Weirdo).
+ School Years His family moved out of the New York projects to Georgia where he went from being not black enough to the only African-American in his school. He graduated high school and earned a scholarship to New York University in dramatic writing. He got his big break when he was hired to write on NBC’s hit comedy show 30 Rock just two months before graduation. Although he found great success in television, he never stopped pursuing his true passion, rap. In February 2011, Childish Gambino broke onto the rap scene with his video “Freaks and Geeks” which had over nine million hits on YouTube (Farooq).
+ Style NPR Music’s Kwasi Ansu described Childish Gambino as “unique: He can vibe to a romantic melody with live strings and piano in one song, then follow it up with a song heavy on bass and fire-alarm sounds” (Ansu). Donald Glover’s stand-up has had an immense impact on his transition into the rap scene as he incorporates a lot of humor into his music. But humor is not the only element that makes his music stand out. In an interview with XXL magazine, Glover admits, “I kind of look up, as a rapper, to Woody Allen, because he’s honest but also funny. I try to do the same thing with the albums, to be sincere and honest” (XXL).
+ Introspective Music In an industry that is known for its hardcore elements, Childish Gambino brings a certain introspection and sensitivity into rap music. He is very insecure and is not afraid to express how he feels which is usually rejected in mainstream rap. Through his music he discusses his many insecurities including the stereotypes on race and the social differences in class, both of which that have a great impact on society’s alienation of those who are different than the norm.
+ Culturally Isolated Race is a huge topic in Childish Gambino’s music. He constantly raps about childhood experiences that compare to today’s rejection of those who do not fit the racial stereotypes. In his song, “Hold You Down” Gambino raps, “Culture shock at barbershops cause I aint hood enough. We all look the same to the cops, aint that good enough?” (Hold You Down). This line is very relevant to his childhood as he expresses his own alienation from not only his culture, but also through society’s eyes. Barbershops are a staple of black culture and Gambino is saying that he didn’t fit into barbershops, meaning that he didn’t fit into black culture. This was because he wasn’t black or hood enough to be accepted by his own people, but he believes that society alienates and judges him for his skin color which is all that should matter (Touré).
+ Blind Society Another aspect that Childish Gambino often touches on is the difference between race and class in society. In Gambino’s song called “Outside”, he tries to differentiate the two when he says, “They talking hood shit and I didn’t know what that was about because hood shit and black shit is super different” (Outside). Gambino is essentially saying that there is a huge discrepancy between race and class that society is blind to. He believes that society sees black and poor as synonymous, but this is not the truth. Being black does not mean you are poor and being poor does not mean that you’re black. Glover has run into many problems with this theory during his childhood and as of recently.
+ Class When he and his family moved out of the projects, there were many people back from his neighborhood who resented him for leaving. Later in the song Gambino raps, “It’s weird, you think that they’d be proud of [his parents], but when you leave the hood they think that you look down on them” (Outside). They thought that Glover and his family believed that they were better than the rest for working hard and getting enough money to move into a better and safer neighborhood. Even though his family did leave the hood, they were not living comfortably in middle class.
+ The Struggle Later in “Outside”, Gambino confesses, “Truth is we still struggle on a different plane, $7 an hour WIC vouchers, it’s all the same” (Outside). Gambino explains how even though he and his family left the hood, they are still struggling to make ends meet (Touré). Glover did not just struggle to make it in middle class, but he also struggled to be taken seriously in the rap game. When Glover first gave a go at rapping he was rejected immediately because he did not have the background that most rappers do: He had both parents, he was not raised on the streets, he went to college, and at the time he was quite rich. Once again, Glover did not meet the stereotypes and was alienated for factors not in his control.
+ Socially Misunderstood Although race and class play huge roles in his alienation from society, when it came down to it Glover was and still is purely socially rejected. In school, he was frequently teased for how he looked and dressed. Gambino recalls, “They called me fat nose, my mom says you’re handsome to me” (Outside). Although Donald was teased constantly from his peers, he always had the support of his family, which was rare where he grew up. Very few were lucky enough to rely on family to get through hard times, which is why most kids looked to the streets or gangs to feel apart of something.
+ Childhood Outcast Unfortunately, it wasn’t the support of his family that he was searching for but rather the acceptance of his peers. In “Outside”, Gambino takes the voice of his teacher when he says, “Mrs. Glover, your son is so advanced, but he keeps acting up in class and peeing in his pants,” Gambino switches back to the first person and declares, “and I just wanna fit in, but nobody was helping me out” (Outside). It was never a debate whether or not Donald was bright, but when it came to fitting in Donald could not. His teacher felt as if Donald was intelligent but his distractions in class continued to hold him back. When Gambino switches back to first person, he admits that all he wanted was to be accepted but no one would let him. It’s evident that Donald’s outbursts in class were just a cry for attention to be loved by his peers.
+ Cry for Attention This corresponds with his music career as he constantly uses humor and shock value as a cry for attention to fit into a certain stereotype of what mainstream rap is today. Lines like “You can fucking kiss my ass, human centipede” (Bonfire), or “NBC is not the only thing I’m coming on tonight” (Do Ya Like), which don’t fit his style of music but are rather forced into his rap songs in order to please a certain type of audience seem like a cry for attention comparable to his outbursts in class.
+ Alone In Gambino’s “Be Alone”, he gets back to his introspective rapping style as he analyzes his own actions. “It seems the more I try to connect with the world, I am feeling more alone than I have ever felt before” (Be Alone). This is the true Donald speaking as he gives his listeners a taste of his current life while also comparing it back to his early years. The more he tries to be like mainstream and the less he is himself, he feels more isolated than before. This is relevant to his childhood as his outbursts that were intended to make him closer to his peers only caused more alienation.
+ Individuality This is one of the biggest themes Donald Glover rebels against: the importance of being independent and an individual. He stresses the significance of being true to yourself and he celebrates those who are different. It is perfectly explained on Gambino’s last song on his album called, “That Power” where he talks about his summer at age 13 with a girl at camp. Staff reporter Shakyra Moore of Neon Tommy summarizes “That Power” as “a spoken-word tale in which he professes his love to a girl (who has decided to finally talk to him in his own disbelief), who then tells everyone” (Moore). Gambino talks about how he learned something that day, “I wish I could say this was a story about how I got on the bus a boy and got off a man more cynical, hardened, and mature and shit. But that’s not true. The truth is I got on the bus a boy and I never got off the bus. I still haven’t” (That Power). Donald Glover learned that it was okay being him and he wouldn’t change for anyone.
+ Conclusion It is clear through his music and stand-up that he is a rebellious writer. He continues to try to explain to society why stereotyping groups hurt individuals and why every kid that doesn’t fit into those stereotypes is not wrong for being different. Donald Glover rebels against society’s norms everyday and the more he writes, the more people listen, which in turn causes more people to understand and accept.
+ Works Cited Ansu, Kwasi. "Childish Gambino, 'Camp'" NPR. NPR, 06 Nov Web. 29 Apr Childish Gambino. "Bonfire." Camp. Glassnote Entertainment Group LLC, MP3. Childish Gambino. "Do Ya Like." Culdesac. Glassnote Entertainment Group LLC, MP3. Childish Gambino. "Hold You Down." Camp. Glassnote Entertainment Group LLC, MP3. Childish Gambino. "Outside." Camp. Glassnote Entertainment Group LLC, MP3. Childish Gambino. “That Power.” Camp. Glassnote Entertainment Group LLC, MP3. "Donald Glover A.k.a Childish Gambino, Strange Clouds." XXLmag.com. 16 Apr Web. 29 Apr d-glover-a-k-a-childish-gambino-strange-clouds- april-2012-magazine-excerpt. Farooq, Sajid. "Community's Donald Glover Brings Childish Gambino to Oakland." NBC Bay Area. 19 Apr Web. 29 Apr nitys-Donald-Glover-Brings html. Moore, Shakyra. "REVIEW: Childish Gambino Takes Us To "Camp"" Neon Tommy. 17 Nov Web. 29 Apr w-childish-gambino-takes-us-camp. Touré. "Who Killed It: A Lyrical Analysis of Childish Gambino." Complex.com. 23 Nov Web. 29 Apr killed-it-a-lyrical-analysis-of-childish-gambino. Weirdo. Perf. Donald Glover. Comedy Central, DVD.