Donald Glover, Chance The Rapper & the Art of Being a Hip-Hop Parent
In December 2014, exactly one year after the release of his sophomore album Because the Internet, Childish Gambino essentially vanished from the internet. He deleted all of his tweets and Instagram photos, leaving only a black square as a profile picture for his followers to stare at.
Some speculated that the decision was in protest to the verdicts in the police killings of Michael Brown and Eric Garner. Others suggested he was just busy working on other things (like his new hit FX series, Atlanta). In reality, Donald Glover had just had enough.
“Everything you put on social media lasts forever, so even if I post it for a second, it’s going to be there,” he explained. “My fans will find it again. So I kinda just want to be like… respectful almost, of the audience. I wanna make sure that when I put stuff up it’s for a reason. It counts. I don’t wanna just be posting up stuff about my dog all the time.”
Today, almost two years later, Donald Glover’s Twitter and Instagram accounts remain bare. He did tweet once, in June, posting a link to a mysterious app to announce his new album Pharos and a coinciding three-day festival in Joshua Tree, CA, but the tweet has since been deleted. No quips, no qualms and certainly no dog stuff; just an update on his new album and—wait, he’s gone again. At least he made it count.
Even the happiest, most wonderful experience a human being can have wasn’t enough to lure Donald Glover back to social media. Yesterday, US Weekly broke the news that ‘Bino and his “unidentified partner” had welcomed their first child into the world earlier this year. They were only able to confirm this through an unnamed “insider” and a months-old photo of the couple pushing a baby in a stroller. No one, not his fans and especially not the media, seemed to notice that Donald Glover had become a daddy. And that’s exactly how he wanted it.
Chance The Rapper, a close friend and collaborator of Childish Gambino, also became a father recently. In late 2015, he welcomed a daughter into the world with his then-ex-girlfriend, who he since indicated he plans to make his fiancee. While Chano has never been a closed book in the spotlight (he’s talked about his Xanax addiction and even admitted to making a “big mistake” on his Coloring Book mixtape), he announced the arrival of his daughter in a more guarded way than we might have expected.
I got to take my child home. Thank God, her mother, our families, the medical staff at Women's Prentice and an amazing organization called The Ronald McDonald House Charities of Chicago. I love this time in my life, and I've learned to love better because of it. I wanted make a grandiose and poetic statement with her weight and size and DOB to show how much this means to me, but I think it'd be more appropriate and fatherly of me to just say thanks to those who helped us during this pregnancy, and ask for a little privacy in this time for me and my new family to get settled. ��
A year later, Chance still hasn’t shared a single photo of his daughter—or even his baby mama (though he got close once)—with the rest of the world. Like he said on Kanye West’s “Ultralight Beam,” “My daughter look just like Sia, you can't see her.” And why should we? In the age of social media, so much is shared, yet nothing is sacred. A photo of Chance’s daughter might make headlines for a day or two, but then it’ll get tossed on the pile with the rest of the celebrity baby photos. It might even make a “25 Photos of Famous Peoples' Kids” list if it’s lucky.
That’s not to say there’s anything inherently wrong with introducing kids to the spotlight at a young age. In contrast, Kanye rapped about North and Saint numerous times on The Life of Pablo. “Pink fur, got Nori dressin' like Cam,” he bragged on “No More Parties In LA.” We know that because we’ve seen her in a pink fur. For a kid growing up with the West-Kardashian name, preparing them for fame is simply good parenting.
Social media can be an unforgiving place. Beauty can be broken by a single comment. At times, it’s nothing more than a rat race for the best photo or the smartest comment, and the only thing waiting for you at the finish line is empty applause. Sometimes keeping things to yourself makes them all that more special. When it comes to parenting, Chance The Rapper and Childish Gambino have figured that part out.
By Andy James. You can follow him on Twitter.