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Donald Glover, Tyler, The Creator & Black Creatives Building Their Own Worlds

Donald Glover, Tyler, The Creator & Black Creatives Building Their Own Worlds

Donald Glover, Tyler, The Creator & Black Creatives Building Their Own Worlds
Photo Credit: Laurent Chevalier for Okayplayer.

In the world of Atlanta Glover has also incorporated other facets of his artistry. Childish Gambino, his musical moniker, has appeared multiple times throughout the series: in episode five, “Nobody Beats the Biebs,” and in episode nine, “Juneteenth.” For the former, the episode ended with a parody track titled “Forget About It,” which is credited as a Childish Gambino song. For the latter, the album art for Glover’s Awaken, My Love! was included as a background prop in one of the scenes (the episode debuted a month before Glover announced the third album). Glover bringing his artistic endeavors together like this highlights his attention to detail and shows how they can complement one another, making the world that Glover is creating seamless. Plus, there’s a pleasure in acknowledging these connections as a fan. When people realized that Awaken, My Love!‘s album art was an easter egg in Atlanta they took to social media, showing side-by-side images of the scene and the album art.

Donald Glover, Tyler, The Creator & Black Creatives Building Their Own Worlds
The album artwork for Awaken, My Love! appearing in an episode of Atlanta. Source: FX


With Atlanta, we’ve witnessed Glover at his most cohesive and direct, but his prior projects foreshadowed what he has accomplished now. Almost four years ago he released Clapping For All The Wrong Reasons, a short film that offered a surreal glimpse into the day of the life of Glover. The video precluded the Childish Gambino album Because of the Internet, which was released with a 72-page screenplay intended to be read while listening to the album. The rollout of Internet was fascinating because Gambino created such an immersive world with it, the short film, screenplay, music, and music videos all overlapping in such a way that showed what he is capable of creating. Fast forward to 2017, and a core group of people that helped Glover with Internet also help him with Atlanta (brother Stephen and Hiro Murai, who directed music videos for Internet songs for “3005,” “Sweatpants,” and “Telegraph Ave,” as well as Clapping For All The Wrong Reasons, for example).

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Similar to Glover, Tyler has created his own world since breaking out in the early 2010s. With his Odd Future collective, Tyler not only brought together like-minded creatives but showed what he was capable of as an artist. Goblin, Tyler’s debut album, found him continuing the narrative he created on his debut mixtape Bastard, where he was talking to his fictional therapist and guidance counselor, Dr. TC. There’s a thematic structure to Goblin with the album ending in a plot twist where it’s revealed that Dr. TC is Tyler (along with his many other alter egos). Accompanying Goblin was music videos directed by Tyler himself (he also directed music videos for songs from Bastard too), and although there wasn’t any real continuity to them he had proved just how compelling and creative he could be aside from his music.

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