Donald Glover speaks out on police brutality, Twitter activism, being white

“Childish Gambino is a white rapper.”

 

Ikenna Anyoku

IRL

Published Aug 15, 2014   Updated May 30, 2021, 6:35 pm CDT

Donald Glover, the star of the popular NBC comedy Community who lives a double life as the rapper known as Childish Gambino, posted several tweets Thursday in response to the ongoing protests in Ferguson, Mo.

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Glover says his Twitter posts, which come in the wake of the shooting death of teenager Michael Brown by officer Darren Wilson, compose a poem that he wrote. 

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Glover begins by addressing a claim that “Childish Gambino is a white rapper.” He says he wishes he were white so he could benefit from all of the perceived privileges being white would bring. He then writes, “when someone calls me a ‘white rapper,’ i wanna make sure they understand i don’t have all the benefits.”

In the tweets, Glover confesses to being threatened with violence by police despite being a celebrity and calls for all law enforcement to be required to wear recording devices. He also expresses the view that Twitter activism is “wack” and “only half of activism”—an opinion that many involved with the Arab Spring may disagree with.

Childish Gambino isn’t the first musician to speak out on the incidents in Ferguson. Chan Marshall, a.k.a. Cat Power, has been encouraging her fans to join protests, and other music stars like John Legend, Big Boi of Outkast, Moby, and Questlove chimed in with their opinions on what was happening in the streets.

“when ur turn comes, please listen,” Glover wrote, quoting his mother. He added, “i don’t think it’s fair she has to feel that way.”

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His tweets, in chronological order:

“childish gambino is a white rapper”

— childish gambino (@donaldglover) August 14, 2014

i wanna be a white rapper.

— childish gambino (@donaldglover) August 14, 2014

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i wanna be so white im the biggest rapper of all time.

— childish gambino (@donaldglover) August 14, 2014

i wanna be so white i can have a number one song with cursing and parents are fine with it.

— childish gambino (@donaldglover) August 14, 2014

i wanna be so white and so big i get eat dinner with the koch brothers.

— childish gambino (@donaldglover) August 14, 2014

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i hope I’m so big and white i can go to clippers games and it not be a statement.

— childish gambino (@donaldglover) August 14, 2014

i hope I’m so white they let my friend out of jail sooner.

— childish gambino (@donaldglover) August 14, 2014

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i hope I’m so big and white my cousin wasn’t shot and stabbed twice in the neck twice last month.

— childish gambino (@donaldglover) August 14, 2014

i wanna be so big. so white.

— childish gambino (@donaldglover) August 14, 2014

i wanna be so big and and so white that white dads feel comfortable sending their daughters,

— childish gambino (@donaldglover) August 14, 2014

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who are home for the summer from Stanford, to my show.

— childish gambino (@donaldglover) August 14, 2014

and after the performance they come hang with me on my bus and we smoke and then we fuck to young dro

— childish gambino (@donaldglover) August 14, 2014

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and she holds my face in her hands and her eyes roll back in her head.

— childish gambino (@donaldglover) August 14, 2014

then she goes home and her dad says “how was the show?” and she says “it was fun. they had lasers.”

— childish gambino (@donaldglover) August 14, 2014

i hope i become so big and and so white that G-Eazy will say “damn, this nigga is white” and everyone will agree and nod.

— childish gambino (@donaldglover) August 14, 2014

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i want to be so big and white that people are scared. “what if this spreads?

— childish gambino (@donaldglover) August 14, 2014

what if everyone starts to get big and white? what if this works for everyone and everyone can experience this whiteness and this bigness?”

— childish gambino (@donaldglover) August 14, 2014

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i hope i become too big and too white.

— childish gambino (@donaldglover) August 14, 2014

but i am just a black male. i am a nigga.

— childish gambino (@donaldglover) August 14, 2014

twitter activism is wack. marches don’t work anymore. police should be forced to wear recording devices.

— childish gambino (@donaldglover) August 14, 2014

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i want people to understand i wasn’t under any influence last night.

— childish gambino (@donaldglover) August 14, 2014

after hearing a friend sobbing and after talking with my mom, i wrote that poem.

— childish gambino (@donaldglover) August 14, 2014

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I’ve been threatened by police twice this year, hand on holster. “and i’m childish gambino”.

— childish gambino (@donaldglover) August 14, 2014

so when someone calls me a “white rapper”, i wanna make sure they understand i don’t have all the benefits.

— childish gambino (@donaldglover) August 14, 2014

twitter isn’t wack. activism isn’t wack. twitter activism is wack to me. it’s only half of activism.

— childish gambino (@donaldglover) August 14, 2014

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this is not an apology.

— childish gambino (@donaldglover) August 14, 2014

“when ur turn comes, please listen” – my mom on the police. i don’t think it’s fair she has to feel that way.

— childish gambino (@donaldglover) August 14, 2014

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i honestly don’t give two fucks if you hate me. none of this was ever about me. and i hope you understand that

— childish gambino (@donaldglover) August 14, 2014

Photo via femme run/Flickr (CC BY 2.0)

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*First Published: Aug 15, 2014, 1:04 pm CDT