If there’s one thing Donald Glover aka Childish Gambino has in common with one of his heroes, Kanye West, it’s an intense honesty. Glover recently shared on Instagram a series of handwritten notes scribbled on a hotel pad, notes that detailed some of his deepest fears. In a new interview with Noisey, Glover continues to delve into incredibly personal territory, laying bare some of his frustrations and worries about life and the state of the world. His thoughts are nuanced, taking on the myth of the post-Obama world while defending Macklemore, speaking about trying to kill himself while discussing his fear of not living. It showcases the refreshing thoughtfulness and openness we’ve come to expect from Glover. Read highlights from the interview below.
We’re in a post-Obama world and everything is supposedly OK now. Fam works with inner city kids and a teacher told a kid, “Hey you can do anything because the president is black.” That just pissed me off. Because you can’t. I like Patrice O’Neal; he’s like a prophet and like a black Louis CK. He asked everyone at his show to put their hand up if they thought they were racist, and nobody put their hand up. But then he asked them if racism still existed, and everyone said yes. So where are all the racist people? We live in a time where you can’t prove it. And that’s part of life. And I don’t want this to be a race topic. But it still skews how I look at things. America is supposed to be this melting pot where everything is thrown in and the best rises to the top but that’s not true.
On his movie, Clapping for the Wrong Reasons, and fear:
The film does have to do with the album and the feeling that I’m trying to get across…that film captured how I was feeling at the time…the drifting, the not-knowing. Whether it be through relationships or through the house. That’s what I was trying to do…I just wanted people to get across something that they don’t normally talk about, and why aren’t they talking about it. I mean, I feel that way: why am I pretending to be Troy? Why am I rapping about puns? When actually, I’m afraid that my parents are gonna die or I’m afraid that I’m going to be Tyrese [Gibson]. Those feelings are the types of things that connect us, not showing the car you drove or the stack you have. I fully expected people to be like, “Fuck this movie, it sucks. Fuck this guy, he’s pretentious.” But I just said fuck it, let me tell the story of how one time I kissed a boy. Am I gay? I don’t know, maybe. But the maybe is what’s really connecting us.
Fear is the only connecting factor, at least for me.
On losing his way:
After I came off tour, we went to Australia and I was just super depressed. I mean, I tried to kill myself. I was really fucked up after that, because I had this girl that I thought I was going to marry and we broke up. I didn’t feel like I knew what I was doing. I wasn’t living up to my standard, I was living up to other people’s standards, and I just said “I don’t see the point.”
Read the full interview at Noisey.