5. Being an awkward Black girl most of my life if not all, I can relate to Gambino’s songs about being too white for the black kids and just not black enough to scare off the white kids. That time you remember being called an Oreo, like it’s a good thing...Is that supposed to be a compliment? After submerging myself into his work, it was nice knowing I wasn’t alone and that being me was enough. I’m sorry babe, but I act me. I don’t act black whatever that be.
4. He plays Troy from NBC’s Community. I mean, not only is Community hilarious and unique, but the character of Troy shows the insight in being a Black man that refuses to be stuck into a gender block. Troy continues to destroy the stereotype of black males being hyper masculine throughout the series.
3. His notes from the hotel. Gambino shared some personal thoughts and fears one night via Instagram. He spoke of depression, anxiety, fear, and shame. I might sound crazy for saying this, but I felt closer to Gambino. In a world where people of colour feel as though they have to stay silent about these topics, here he was, just laying it all down for us. I felt a sense of completeness. I remember messaging him on Tumblr (knowing he might never see it) thanking him, and letting him know, he’s an inspiration and going to do such amazing things, not just for him but for all of us.
2. He made his song, Not Going Back from his EP album. This song will forever be my national anthem. Lyrics that I will forever live by: I refuse to go back to not likin’ who I was. It’s one of those songs, that just scream I can only be me, I will continue to do me with no apologies and I will succeed, even if you doubted me.
1. His series premiere of Atlanta was straight fire. Gambino also did us solid by releasing the first episode on Facebook and YouTube for free! People like me that don’t have cable, were super grateful and excited. I’ve already watched it like 5 times. Gambino created and wrote Atlanta, a series about Earn Marks (Donald Glover) who’s trying to persuade his cousin Alfred aka Paper Boi (Brian Tyree Henry) to manage his new music career all while trying to balance being a father, his love life, and being broke af. The series is so important because it shows Black culture with no façade. To the opening scene with Earn and his baby mama speaking of trivial love, to the white guy that thinks you’re not black enough so he can say nigga in front of you, to how quickly one wrong move can change everything. If you haven’t seen it yet, please do. If you haven’t heard any of Gambino’s music, do yourself the favor and indulge.
Words by Tesia Pennie
Header photo by Roger Ho