On the eve of the premiere of the second season of Atlanta, Donald Glover sat down for an interview with The New Yorker, in which he admitted to being insecure over his status as the "golden flower of the black community."
Extending the implicit messiah metaphor—"I feel like Jesus. I do feel chosen," he said.—Glover contends that his greatest struggle is to "use my humanity to create a classic work—but I don’t know if humanity is worth it, or if we’re going to make it. I don’t know if there’s much time left.”
Doom forecasting aside, Glover is aptly describing the nature of his artistic success. From his Royalty days to Camp and Because the Internet, to his beautiful Maggot Brain homage, "Awaken! My Love", Donald Glover's music never fails to connect with his listeners because it is steeped in honesty.
Glover's incredible 10-year run as Childish Gambino was predicated upon vulnerability, insecurity, and self-realization. The same, of course, is true of Atlanta, a show that emphasizes perspective and truth over performing a brand of Blackness that will appease executives.
In an era where human connection is constantly being diluted, people are hungrier than ever for a piece of artwork to resonate with them and exist beside them as more of a friend than something to be revered.
Is humanity the ultimate deciding factor for living classics? Maybe so, and in that breath, Donald Glover has made at least one classic work, with more to surely come.