Donald Glover made history on Sunday as the first Black director to win an Emmy in comedy, but he’s been changing the game way before snagging any awards.
Just like most young, Black kids in America, Donald realized a long time ago that he had something to say that the world needed to hear. Before hitting it big in the entertainment industry, the Georgia native was just a student at NYU who used comedy as a medium to share his tales. He gained attention on Youtube as a member of the sketch comedy group Derrick Comedy in 2006.
That was until Tina Fey came along that same year. At just 23-years old, with the help of the SNL alum, Glover became a writer on NBC’s 30 Rock. Along with his writing and comedy, Glover started working on his acting chops and snagged a role as community college student Troy Barnes on the NBC sitcom Community.
By 2008, the multi-talented artist decided to tap into his real passion — music. He got his rap name, Childish Gambino, from a Wu-Tang name generator that same year and the rest is music history. Donald released his first mixtape in ’08 entitled Sick Boi.
In 2009, he released the independent album Poindexter, followed by a pair of mixtapes, titled I Am Just a Rapper and I Am Just A Rapper 2 in 2010, all while still starring on Community. But by 2012, it was too much for Donald to handle. He announced that he’d be leaving his role on Community behind, citing a need for projects that offered him more independence as he worked through some personal issues.
While working on his musical releases, Glover still found time for his comedy special on Comedy Central entitled Weirdo and his reputation in Hollywood as a multi-threat was catching steam. He’s even been credited for inspiring the look of the new African-American Spider-Man after fans started an online petition demanding that Glover get the role of Peter Parker — which ultimately went to Andrew Garfield.
By 2013, Donald was a bonafide rap artist, a successful comedian, and budding actor. He announced that same year that he’d be dropping his sophomore album Because The Internet, which went on to solidify Glover as a true musician. It spawned hit records like “”3005” and got the rapper two Grammy Award nominations in 2014.
2016 was a big year for DG. His show Atlanta debuted on FX in September 2016 and hit it big with its audience. The show, which Donald writes, directs and stars in won the Golden Globe that year for Best Television Series – Musical or Comedy and Glover won Best Actor in a Comedy Series for it. Because of the show’s success, FX signed Glover to an exclusive deal to create and develop more shows for the network.
As of 2017, Donald Glover is winning on all fronts. His album, Awaken, My Love was a culture shifting body of work that brought the vibes of funk to a whole new generation and spawned the 2017 summer anthem, “Red Bone”. In September, Glover made history as the first Black director to win an Emmy in comedy for Atlanta. He’s also the first director to win for a show he acted in since Alan Alda won for “MASH” in 1977.
At just 33 years young, Donald Glover has accomplished more than some people have done in a lifetime — and he shows no signs of slowing down anytime soon. Stay woke.