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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.

Now, Tyler has accomplished so much. He’s created Golf Media, an app and self-described “network” that includes articles, original shows (The Jellies and Nuts and Bolts, which originally appeared on the app, is now on Adult Swim and Viceland, respectively), live streams, radio selections, and more, all curated by Tyler himself; he has his own annual festival, the Camp Flog Gnaw Carnival; he has his own fashion line, Golf Wang; and he recently released his fourth album, Scum F**k Flower Boy. Regardless of his many creative endeavors, Tyler still manages to bring some of them together when necessary. Last year, when he presented his first-ever fashion show, he not only created music for the event but had live performances and skits (reminiscent of his first television series, Loiter Squad); and with both The Jellies and Nuts and Bolts Tyler provides his own music.

Tyler The Creator's Cartoon Series 'The Jellies' Headed To Adult Swim This Summer
Tyler, the Creator’s TV show The Jellies. Source: YouTube


Glover and Tyler share a similar sentiment on the importance of building their own worlds. In the first episode of Nuts and Bolts, Tyler says the following:

I wanna just build my own world because it’s a safe place, whether it’s my room coming up with these imaginary characters and things like that — making a sound that’s the soundtrack to this bigger world I feel safe in.

In a recent interview with The Hollywood Reporter, Glover offered a similar response, saying:

I wanted to build my own world because then you get to make the world a little safer.

The beauty of the worlds Glover and Tyler have created is that it also feels safe to people that relate to them, especially black people. Whether it’s Glover allowing Atlanta‘s Darius (brilliantly portrayed by Lakeith Stanfield) to simply exist and distort ideas of black weirdness or Tyler changing the skin color of The Jellies‘ Cornell Jelly from white to black, the two control and provide these safe spaces that take both themselves and their fans out of the harshness of the real world for a bit.

But it’s also empowering. During a Q&A session at this year’s San Diego Comic Con, Tyler responded to a fan’s question about why he changed Jelly’s skin color, saying:

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‘Why you make him black?’ Why can’t ni**as have anything, man?…How many fu**in’ black cartoon characters is it on TV right now? Name five. I’ll give you time. It is none…We don’t got shit…So I said f**k that, we about to make this ni**a black, and he ain’t got no guns, he ain’t shoot no fu**ing basketball, and he a fu**ing goober, and we gon’ put him on TV. And he’s the lead character, he ain’t the comic relief, he ain’t the sidekick, he the lead ni**a.

In a world in which black people often feel powerless or restricted in their pursuits, it’s inspiring to see someone like Tyler offer such an unapologetic response, and highlight the importance of having Jelly be a black lead character who’s unlike most mainstream depictions of black characters. But, most importantly, it’s inspiring to see both Glover and Tyler cultivate these worlds in hopes of inciting positive change in the real world.

To have the opportunity to create and invest in your own world is a privilege often not allotted to black people. Glover and Tyler feel safe in their respective worlds because it’s their worlds, providing a perspective and representation we need more of. They’re living proof of the importance of giving black creatives the control and freedom they deserve to manifest their ideas into reality and build worlds that we’ve never seen before and inspire the next generation of multidisciplinary black creatives to do the same.

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