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For his new Guava Island flick Childish Gambino re-stages ‘This is America’

Following his headlining set at Coachella on April 12, Donald Glover aka Childish Gambino (though perhaps not for much longer, as he’s announced he’s retiring the persona at the height of his popularity) released a short film entitled Guava Island.

Directed by frequent collaborator Hiro Murai — Murai has directed many episodes of Glover’s acclaimed, surrealist show Atlanta, as well as Childish Gambino’s heart-stopping “This is America”– Glover portrays the film’s lead role, a musician named Deni Maroon.

Guava Island also stars Rihanna as his love interest, Kofi Novia, and Black Panther’s Leticia Wright.

In the short film, Deni tries to stage a huge music festival on the beautiful island run by a dictator named Red Cargo (Nonso Anozie), who forces the island’s inhabitants to work in a factory. The breezy movie is all about how music can create unity and connection in the face of tyranny.

Sound familiar?

Glover’s choice to release the film at Coachella– the highest grossing festival in the world— further emphasizes the power of the music festival. Even one populated by Instagram influencers trying to gain clout and peddle Revolve clothing.

Though the film features three new songs, “Die With You,” “Time,” and “Saturday,” shockingly, Rihanna doesn’t get the chance to sing– prolonging her musical drought. Rih, stop making Fenty beauty kits and get back to music! We need you. (Luckily, Ms. Fenty has promised her Army a new album in 2019.)

Most notably, Guava Island features a re-staging of “This is America,” which takes place in the film’s factory. The re-staging features some of the same dance moves, wide-eyed expression, gunshots, and Glover’s bare chest as the original video.

But having the characters sporting red jumpsuits, à la Jordan Peele’s Us, gives the video a new bite. And with the movie set outside the continental U.S., “This is America” can be seen here as an outsider’s critique of the world power and the evils of capitalism and imperialism.

But what does it mean to release a film that critiques capitalism, at a music festival that embodies its very heights? Perhaps the Coachella crowd was meant to see it for themselves.

Guava Island streamed on Amazon for free on April 13 until 9 p.m. and is now only available to Amazon Prime members. How ironic!

This is (Gambino’s) America: How Donald Glover can do no wrong

Donald Glover is having himself one hell of week month year career. The dude has officially reached a place where he can do no wrong.

Since last Friday he dropped a new single “This Is America,” hosted SNL, debuted two new tracks, then dropped the craziest music video of the year. Not to mention, the season finale of his hit show Atlanta aired last night, but more on that later.

Although we didn’t need much more convincing, “This Is America” has solidified Gambino as THE definitive artistic influencer of our generation. The song and video have become an instant cultural phenomenon. Also, the song itself is fire.

The video is full of hidden messages, metaphors, and symbols. They reference a range of topics from gun violence, the country’s history of racism, and the role of social media.

Twitter, Reddit and other corners of the internet have taken the past view days dissecting the shit out of the video.

Glover’s series of successes has been a refreshing diversion from the Kanye West sunken circus that we were getting hit within the previous weeks. As a reminder, dude basically told us he supported Donald Trump, gave some crazy-ass interviews, and released an absolute trash “scoop-di poop” song (maybe as a joke).

The last couple of weeks are pretty much summed up by this Tweet.

Kanye poked his head out after not being in the public eye for a while and tried to shake things up and change the way we think just by saying some outlandish things. Instead, he got brushed off as just being a nut and completely losing his shit.

Meanwhile, while Kanye was making headlines for being a babbling lunatic, Gambino was plotting his latest conquest. A well thought out, extremely layered and well-crafted song and music video.

These recent events mark a seismic change in the way the general public views both artists. Kanye was once one of our most beloved figures in hip-hop, making classic albums and over time becoming a household name.

Kanye first burst out on to the scene with his timeless track “Through the Wire” and debut album The College Dropout. He became an instant success and spent the next decade or so taking over the rap game.

Would Kanye West GIF - Find & Share on GIPHY

On the other hand, Gambino was never really taken seriously as a rapper. He first emerged with fun and goofy songs like “Freaks and Geeks” and “Bonfire.” His reputation as a jokester was just reinforced by his acting career, which included his role on NBC’s Community as Troy Barnes.

Somewhere along the line, Glover decided that he needed to take his acting, writing, and musical careers into a more serious direction. After leaving Community he released 2013’s Because of the Internet which solidified him as one of rap’s next rising stars.

At the same time, Kanye was continuing his dominance over the game and transforming himself into a pop culture superstar.  He married Kim Kardashian, started work on his clothing lines and continued to put out great music.

Then in 2016, West released The Life of Pablo, a good album, even by Kanye standards. But we all started to see the writing on the wall. This guy was losing his f*cking mind.

Confused Kanye West GIF - Find & Share on GIPHY

He was constantly reworking and releasing the album until it finally matched his ultimate vision. He even raps about his struggles with mental health on a few tracks.

As we all witnessed Kanye’s very troubling and all too real public meltdown, Gambino shocked the world with his 2016 release Awaken My Love. Wait, that corny dude that made “Freaks and Geeks” and “3005” is the same dude that made “Redbone”? Yup.

And it didn’t stop there. Glover has been riding high ever since — 5 Grammy nominations, 2 spectacular seasons of Atlanta, a Star Wars movie, endless amounts of praise, and now “This is America.”

Donald Glover GIF by Childish Gambino - Find & Share on GIPHY

Glover’s ability to create thought-provoking art, while keeping it fun is a true gift that the rest of us can only marvel at. Hopefully, Kanye can observe what Glover is doing and draw some inspiration from that.

It’d be nice for all of to see both of these at the top of their games at the same time.

Donald Glover officially retires ‘Childish Gambino,’ makes us mad sad

Gambino, Gambino… Gambino don’t leave?

In the latest sad news, it looks like rapper/singer/actor/producer, Donald Glover, is retiring the Childish Gambino moniker.

Glover announced on Saturday at Governor’s Ball Music Festival in New York City that his next album will be his last album. “I’ll see you for the last Gambino album,” he said at the end of his performance.

Eight words I never wanted to hear Gambino say:

The Feels…

This will be Gambino’s last album? In an interview with Huffington Post, Glover confirmed that he plans to retire his rap moniker, because he feels that Gambino isn’t “necessary.”

This year was a great year for Glover. It has a lot of us wondering, why would he abandon music? Music-wise Gambino is very creative. C’mon he’s a Grammy-nominated artist who has released seven mixtapes, two EPs, and three studio albums.  Like, he’s so close to being a legendary artist.

“Redbone” just peaked at the No. 17 spot on Billboard this week and his third studio album “Awaken, My Love!,” debuted at No. 1 on Billboard’s R&B charts.

Definitely going to miss his funkadelic Redbone performances

Because the Internet was that heat too

And we hope you didn’t sleep on STN MTN / Kauai

In the interview with Huffington post, Glover stated,

“There’s nothing worst than like a third sequel, like a third movie and we’re like, ‘again?’… You know, I like it when something’s good and when it comes back there’s a reason to come back, there’s a reason to do that.”

According to his statements in the Huffington post interview, Glover wants to focus more on his punk image and how he doesn’t want to compromise his punk-ness,

“Like I feel like there’s gotta be a reason to do things and I always had a reason to be punk. Being punk just always felt really good to me and we always looked at ‘Atlanta’ as a punk show and I feel like the direction I would go with Childish Gambino wouldn’t be punk anymore. As much as ‘Redbone’ is a punk song because it’s a gospel song that’s on the radio, I’m like there’s only so far you can go before you just are the radio.”

Is there anything we can do to get Gambino back beyond one last album? Maybe not. Glover has a lot on his plate this year.

Glover will be appearing in Spider-Man: Homecoming, has been cast as the young Lando Calrissian in the upcoming Star Wars movie, and will be the voice of Simba in a remake of The Lion King. Not to mention starring and writing his own series on FX Atlanta. 

Oh yeah, Glover and his brother, Stephen, will work with Marvel Television and FX Productions on 10 episodes of Deadpool

Farewell Gambino. We, along with the rest of the music industry, definitely miss you.