Five Takeaways from Donald Glover’s Bonkers Interview with Himself

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Interview Magazine was founded by Andy Warhol and usually publishes — you guessed it — interviews. But what happens when a famous artist would rather not sit for someone else’s questions? On April 7th, Donald Glover provided an answer of sorts when the magazine published him interviewing himself.

“Yeah, so first question, why’d you want to do this?” he writes, before responding, “I guess I don’t love interviews and I asked myself, ‘Why don’t you like interviews?’ And I think part of it is that the questions are usually the same. This way I can get questions I usually don’t get asked.”

He offers project updates, bizarre opinions, reflections on his own work, and more. The results are occasionally illuminating and often very strange. Glover does indeed ask himself questions that few others would ask, but in his willingness to toss out bizarre pronouncements without further explanation, he unintentionally proves that a good interviewer can be absolutely essential. Here are five takeaways:

He Considers Because the Internet to Be an All-Time Classic on Par with Radiohead’s OK Computer

This was probably the strongest endorsement that Because the Internet had ever received. His second studio album as Childish Gambino dropped in 2013 to generally positive, if somewhat lukewarm, reviews, racking up a 64 out of 100 on Metacritc.

Its reputation has grown since then. In 2013, many critics viewed Glover as a sitcom star turned hip-hop dilettante, but the undeniable success of his musical follow-up, “Awaken, My Love!” as well as Atlanta turning into a cultural juggernaut, have caused a broad cultural reappraisal of his early projects. But few besides Glover would compare it to one of the greatest albums of any genre ever made.

That won’t stop him from making the argument. “It’s the rap OK Computer,” he said. “It’s prescient in tone and subject matter and it’s extremely influential. And I know no one’s gonna give me that until I’m dead. But it’s true.”

Glover also offered his opinion on the state of criticism, writing, “You can’t believe the good or bad stuff now because it’s all just the economy around you. There’s money and clout in loving and hating you. You have to sift through and try and see if someone is debating in good faith. The internet doesn’t provide a large-enough amount of that.”

Pen15‘s Maya Erskine Has Replaced Phoebe Waller-Bridge in Prime Video’s Mr. and Mrs. Smith Series

Last year, Amazon’s Prime Video announced a television adaptation of Mr. and Mrs. Smith, the 2005 film that starred Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie as a married couple who are both keeping their real job — assassin — secret from the other. Glover is set for the role of the husband, while Fleabag creator Waller-Bridge was tapped to play the wife. But in September, she unexpectedly exited the project.

In his self-interview, Glover said the split came about due to “classic creative differences,” and added Pen15 co-creator  Maya Erskine would be replacing her. Glover wrote, “She’s dope. It’s exciting. I really love the show. I’m writing the finale now.”

He also asked himself the kind of question a ‘bad’ interviewer might ask, before gently mocking that question. “Are you and Phoebe still friends?” he wrote. He then responded, “What does it mean to be a friend? I still like her. I assume she still likes me.”

He Likes Lil Dicky’s Dave But Has Lots of Criticisms of the Show

Glover does not like it when Lil Dicky’s Dave is compared to his own series Atlanta. “You have to think of it like food,” he said of the other FX comedy about an emerging rapper. Regarding Dave, he wrote that “the flavor is artificial in some sense,” and added that “the Donald version of Dave” would be “about a white rapper who’s more successful than his Black peers from the jump. Because he’s more accessible. But what he actually wants is to be part of the culture, but his success keeps him from that and a lot of his Black peers and friends resent him for it but also feel like they have to fuck with him because it’s good for them. That’s the internal struggle I see.”

Glover then asked himself, “So if it’s all food, what is Dave?” He responded, “It’s a good burger you should eat fast because the ingredients are fresh. By a guy who didn’t study at a culinary school, but paid close attention to other burger spots and has the plug on good ingredients.

Speaking of Food, Euphoria “Always Leaves You a Little Hungry”

Euphoria, HBO’s teen angst blockbuster starring Zendaya, is “a really good butterflied chicken in the restaurant attached to an old hotel having a resurgence. It tastes really good and you feel guilty eating it because it’s got foie gras. But after going there for six months, you realize you always leave a little hungry.”

Glover explained that he likes Euphoria “for what it is. But I do think it’s time for Zendaya to choose up and leave Sam to come to Death Row.” He also added that his favorite shows right now are How To with John Wilson and Abbott Elementary.

He Hints at — and Then Refuses to Elaborate on — a Complicated Relationship with Black Women

The portion of the interview that inspired the most chatter on social media saw Glover bring up and then evade a query about Black women, quickly moving on to a broader discussion on race. Here is the relevant section, complete with Glover’s questions and Glover’s answers:

Are you afraid of Black women?

Why are you asking me that?

I feel like your relationship to them has played a big part in your narrative.

I feel like you’re using Black women to question my Blackness.

Alright. Are you gonna teach your kids how to be Black?

[Laughs] Well, yeah? Should someone else?

It feels as though your thoughts on race—

Can I say something? I hate talking about race more than five minutes unless it’s with other Black people and/or we’re laughing.

Can I ask one last one? Then I’m done. Do you think “Black” has lost its value?

In what way?

In whatever way you think it means.

I definitely think it’s diluted in the marketplace. Because everyone can do it and it doesn’t have to be authentic. It happens every 10 to 15 years. I think we’re at the tail end of it now, though.

Only Glover knows why he chose to bring up Black women in this way without further elaboration. But here, as in many other places in the interview, readers would have been better served by a dogged reporter who pressed for more.

Elsewhere in the piece, Glover asked and then dodged questions about Joe Rogan and Dave Chappelle, talked about culture and the importance of privacy, and described his farm in detail. You can read it at Interview Magazine‘s website.

Last month, Glover’s Atlanta returned for Season 3. Our critic Liz Shannon Miller called it a “gift,” a “masterpiece,” and “as ethereal and shocking and fascinating as ever.” The series will end with Season 4 later this year.

Five Takeaways from Donald Glover’s Bonkers Interview with Himself
Wren Graves

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