Tag Archives: Donald Glover

Kobalt Signs Childish Gambino

Kobalt, a music and technology company built for artists, songwriters, publishers and labels as an alternative to the traditional music business model, announced that it has signed Grammy award winning, actor, comedian, writer, director, producer, singer, songwriter, rapper, and DJ, Donald Glover, a.k.a., Childish Gambino. The worldwide agreement includes publishing administration, including global synch and creative support services, for all of Childish Gambino’s future songs after the Awaken, My Love! album. In addition, Kobalt has signed Wolf + Rothstein, Glover’s musical teams of collective songwriters and artists for publishing administration, global synch and creative support services.

Said Kobalt Music SVP, Creative, Al McLean, of the deal, “Donald is one of those rare multi-talented artists who can do it all. It’s an honor to sign Donald and Wolf + Rothstein Collective to the Kobalt family.”

Emmy-, Golden Globe-, and Grammy-winning actor, writer, comedian, DJ, and rapper Donald Glover broke into pop culture mainstream first on the hit TV sitcom Community after serving on the writing staff of both The Daily Show and 30 Rock. In August 2011, he signed to Glassnote Records under his rap moniker Childish Gambino and has since released two albums. Glover also currently stars in the FX series Atlanta, which he also created and occasionally directs.

Operating out of Temple Studios in Los Angeles, Wolf + Rothstein is the creative agency comprised of Golden Globe and Emmy Award winner Donald Glover, Wolf Taylor, and Fam Rothstein, all whom worked with the band that helped compose the critically acclaimed Awaken My Love! Released December 2, 2017, Awaken My Love! and the chart-topping hit single “Redbone” are nominated for five Grammy Awards: Album of the Year, Record of the Year, Best Traditional R&B Performance (winner), Best R&B Song, and Best Urban Contemporary Album. Childish Gambino is set to perform on Saturday Night Live on May 5, 2018.

“Wolf and Rothstein is excited to partner with Kobalt for publishing,” said Wolf Taylor of Wolf + Rothstein. “We’re looking forward to growing the roster together.”

Katt Williams Interned At An Alligator Farm to Prep for His Role On ‘Atlanta’

Written By | Angel Diaz 

Katt Williams is starting 2018 on the right foot. Fresh off a great stand-up special on Netflix, the comedian is busy working on a pair of movies—Meet The Blacks 2: The House Next Door (with Mike Epps, Lil Duval, Bresha Webb, and Michael Blackson) and 2 Minutes of Fame (with Jay Pharoah and Keke Palmer)—and just had a show-stealing performance on the first episode of Atlanta‘s second season. Katt plays Earn’s crazy uncle who, for some inexplicable reason just so happens to have a pet alligator, and the neighborhood kids call the “Alligator Man.”

While this isn’t the first time we’ve seen Katt show off his acting skills, this performance did display a range that we haven’t really seen from him before. It’s one of those stand-out performances that makes you hope he ends up getting more roles in the near future. We recently caught up with Katt to talk about how he was able to vibe with an alligator, how serious his acting was in the episode, and his admiration for Donald Glover.

You’re the Alligator Man in the first episode of Atlanta Robbin’ Season. How did you end up on the show?
I’m a music fan and I’m a comedy fan. [Donald’s] name carries that type of weight in both of those circles. So any project that he’s a part of, you want to be a part of as well. He had some thoughts on season two, where he wanted to take it, and how he wanted to put things out there. You can put yourself into somebody’s hand when you can trust their objective.

The first two times I auditioned, I wasn’t good enough and other people were better. I just kept at it, and then I interned at an alligator farm for three-and-a-half weeks, just so I could get comfortable enough that we didn’t use a stuntman. I really adopted the alligator into my home. And became so comfortable with it that it was like working with another co-star.

So you were just like chillin’ with the alligator for three weeks?
Yeah.

How was that experience?
It was life-changing.

How so? 
I’m saying it wasn’t the first alligator; the first alligator turned out to not work. When they got the next one in, he and I were able to vibe. But a lot of people probably would’ve quit.

So what was up with the first alligator? Were you just not fucking with his personality?
No, it was like, the stuff that he thought was cool to do wasn’t cool to do. He thought it was cool to just take his tail and knock people off they feet. That sounds funny and all, but it’s not like a dog, it’s an alligator. He enjoyed freaking people out way too much.

Well, that’s the whole thing, with the first alligator, I tried to act like I wasn’t nervous. That’s probably what got our dynamic off to the wrong foot; we weren’t being true to ourselves. [With] the second [alligator], I understood that this is the closest to a marriage that I’ve ever been. Like, you gotta trust me and I gotta trust you. There’s the line that neither of us needs to cross. I look out for your best interest, and you look out for mine.

There was a part towards the end of your scene when Earn was in the room trying to talk some sense into your character that stood out. Do you see yourself getting into more serious roles?
Yeah, we have some of that lined up. It’s really about the key of the writing. Even if you’re doing something that’s comedic, that doesn’t make the real parts any less real. You know what I mean? The real parts have to be real because it’s a story that we’re telling. I’m having to channel what somebody else is going through. It’s an uncle and a nephew conversation that is as deep as it can possibly be.

Is your character going to return this season?
I don’t know what any of the subsequent episode numbers are. I certainly haven’t seen the last of it.

How was the experience finally getting to work with Donald, since you’re such a big fan?
Oh, it was great. It was magnificent. It was not just him, you know? This is royalty in its completeness. So it’s impeccable. It’s a joy to witness, ya know? When somebody is not just on the top of their game but their people are on top of their game. It’s really wonderful to be able to see the Golden State Warrior mentality play out in another field.

 

CHILDISH GAMBINO UNVEILS 2018 NORTH AMERICAN TOUR WITH SPECIAL GUEST RAE SREMMURD

Infinite Energy Arena on September 6

Tickets On Sale to the General Public Friday, March 9 at Noon (12PM)

LOS ANGELES, CA (March 5, 2018) – Today, GRAMMY, Golden Globe and Emmy-Award winning and multi-talented recording artist, actor, and producer Donald Glover a.k.a. Childish Gambino announced dates for his upcoming North American tour with special guest Rae Sremmurd. Produced by Live Nation in partnership with Wolf + Rothstein, the month-long outing will visit 13 cities across North America, kicking off in Atlanta on September 6 and wrapping in Vancouver on September 30.

Tickets go on sale to the general public beginning Friday, March 9 at 12pm local time. Purchase tickets at InfiniteEnergyCenter.com, the Arena box office or by calling (770) 626-2464. American Express® Card Members can purchase tickets before the general public beginning Tuesday, March 6 at 12pm local time through Thursday, March 8 at 10pm local time.

Childish Gambino’s last live music production, “PHAROS,” was a runaway success in 2016. The highly-acclaimed performances took place in Joshua Tree, California, where Gambino debuted songs from his third studio album “Awaken, My Love!” The performances were recorded and later accompanied the vinyl release of the album, along with a VR headset and an app that allowed owners to access the “PHAROS”
performances. The critically-acclaimed, certified gold album was nominated for Album of the Year and Best Urban Contemporary Album at the 2018 GRAMMY Awards, while “Redbone” won for Best Traditional R&B Performance and received nominations for Record of the Year and Best R&B Song.

“PHAROS” returns this year to New Zealand on November 23, 24 and 25. More information and tickets are available now through the Pharos Earth mobile app https://pharos.earth.

Get Your Tickets!

CHILDISH GAMBINO WITH SPECIAL GUEST RAE SREMMURD TOUR DATES:
Thu Sep 06      Atlanta, GA                Infinite Energy Arena
Sat Sep 08       Chicago, IL                 United Center
Mon Sep 10     Toronto, ON               Air Canada Centre
Wed Sep 12     Boston, MA                 TD Garden
Fri Sep 14        New York, NY             Madison Square Garden
Tue Sep 18      Philadelphia, PA        Wells Fargo Center
Wed Sep 19     Washington DC          Capital One Arena
Sat Sep 22        Houston, TX                Toyota Center
Sun Sep 23      Dallas, TX                     American Airlines Center
Wed Sept 26    Los Angeles, CA          The Forum
Thu Sept 27     Oakland, CA                Oracle Arena
Sat Sept 29       Seattle, WA                  KeyArena
Sun Sep 30       Vancouver, BC            Rogers Arena

 

 

‘Atlanta’ Season 2 Is Off to a Weird, Perfect Start

The premiere of the FX hit show’s new chapter reacquaints us with familiar faces and introduces some exciting new ones, including Katt Williams and his unconventional house pet

Written By |  

Even in a TV landscape characterized by peak drama and rare authenticity, critics and awards bodies and audiences all seemed to agree that the first season of Atlanta was exceptionally good, for many reasons. One of the show’s most impressive tricks was its insistence on subverting expectations at every available turn, whether those expectations were set by viewers, studio execs, or by Donald Glover himself. “Twin Peaks for rappers” fits neatly into 140 characters, and the conceit (a Princeton dropout, an aging rapper, and a space cadet tumble headlong through the Atlanta rap scene) seemed simple enough, but Atlanta was more ambitious than its creator’s elevator pitch in execution. And way weirder. There was an invisible car. There was a sketch comedy half-hour. Justin Bieber was black. Quavo went all Russell Baze on a dude in the woods using a hunting rifle he named “Percy.”

But you don’t need me to tell you that Atlanta was good and memorable. Now that “Robbin’ Season” (which means more and sounds cooler than “Season 2”) has arrived, the show will speak for itself once more. And we’ll all see what we loved about it in the first place: that Atlanta is still playing straw caterpillar with reality; that the show is still funny but not that kind of funny; that its choices are still thrillingly specific; that its use of guest stars still feels both whimsical and effective.

The problem is that I want to talk only about Katt Williams. We may talk about some other things by accident, but Williams—who is gloriously, hilariously, tragically pressed in the premiere—is the most pressing topic.

I guess we have to talk about where we left the principle characters; Atlanta has been off the air since the Season 1 finale in November 2016. Alfred, known to the internet as Paper Boi (Brian Tyree Henry), dropped a mixtape with a solid street single that his cousin-manager Earn (Glover) pledged to help transform into a full-on rap career. By roll credits, Earn’s only sort of succeeded at growing Paper Boi’s reach. Earn’s only sort of succeeded at a few things: keeping a roof over his head, getting his daughter into a decent school, working things out with his baby mama (Van, played by Zazie Beetz), figuring out what it is he wants out of life. The only thing he’s done successfully for sure is befriend Darius (Lakeith Stanfield), and thank God, because who among us wouldn’t want a friend like Darius?

If Season 1 ended on a note of fragile optimism, the premiere of “Robbin’ Season”feels defined by a simmering panic, like the anxiety that stampedes back in once a high wears off, like the dread of knowing you’ll have to either make decisions or have them made for you soon. The season premiere opens with Earn getting forced out of the storage unit he had been living in, and it’s three full minutes before any other familiar characters are shown. There’s a detached cold open that follows two new young men around the twist of a boring, gray winter day that suddenly turns violent. They play FIFA, they talk music, they decide that they’re hungry, they go to Mrs. Winner’s—a fictive version of the real chicken and biscuits spot, and one that doubles as a drug front. They rob the place, it turns bloody, it sets the tone: This is still Atlanta, but the stakes are irretrievably higher than they were two years ago. Disaster strikes elsewhere when Alfred, on house arrest, sends Earn over to his Uncle Willy’s after having received a call from Uncle Willy’s girlfriend, Yvonne, who said that Willy had “kidnapped” her. As it turns out, Uncle Willy is Katt Williams.

And he looks good, but, crucially, not great. At least as bad as when he retired from stand-up six years ago on KOMO 4 Seattle News dressed in a Kurt Cobain tee and ski goggles, and on purpose. Since his mid-2000s success, Williams’s fall from grace has been exceedingly long and noisy; in 2016 alone he was arrested four times for everything from “criminal damage to property” to sucker-punching a seventh-graderduring a friendly pickup soccer game. He’s back to doing stand-up now, though. He released a Netflix special in mid-January, Great America, where he talks into a golden microphone about racial tension and Trumpism, but also about the ways in which life—and he has lived a life—changed him.

It makes sense that someone like Williams would wash up on an absurdist show preoccupied with personal transition, but it’s still a surprise when he presses his face up against the screen door, and remarkable that his inclusion works so seamlessly. And so well.

To the extent that time is real in Atlanta, it’s mid-afternoon by the time we meet Willy, and he is still wearing a bathrobe. Think of him as a much older Money Mike; the pimping is mostly dead and the alligator shoes are just house slippers now, although he does still have the alligator. A full-grown Caiman. Really.

The best of Williams’s performance coincides with the cops showing up, responding to a domestic disturbance call. “We not domestic, we ain’t eem married,” he explains with great annoyance. You really do forget that nobody willfully misreads things or demands more than their due respect quite like Katt Williams does. His act—which is also, historically speaking, his public face—is that he’s short, and it’s funny in a sometimes-sad way. He is desperate, but acidic; paranoid and uncool, but composed at the same time. Williams is perfect as Uncle Willy because Williams is Uncle Willy. Either might ask, with a crazed look in their eye and a cigarette hanging out of their mouth, what is youuuuuuu doin’ here.

Williams gets a big moment near the end of the episode, and it’s up to you whether it counts as redemption, given the decade he’s had. To set it up: After Willy needles the idea that Paper Boi has outgrown Earn’s usefulness, Earn does something he hasn’t since the third episode of the first season, almost two and a half years in real time. He says how he feels. “What I’m scared of is being you. You know, somebody everybody knew was smart but ended up being a know-it-all, fuck-up Jay that just lets shit happen to him.” Life has plainly not worked out for Willy; there are cracks in the ceiling above their heads, and Fulton County PD is at the front door.

Damn,” Williams says, and for what it’s worth, I also said “damn.” It’s one of those moments that bridges Atlanta’s surreality and the physical world. Willy/Williams becomes, unambiguously, what Earn/Glover has to grow beyond, and it’s striking, dispossessing. “If you don’t wanna end up like me,” Williams says, “get rid of that chip-on-your-shoulder shit. It’s not worth the time.”

He busts out the back door to skitter off into the sunset after that. Willy’s exit doesn’t magically solve his nephew’s insecurity. This is Atlanta as it ever was: reliably human, and reserved in its commentary on that humanity.

Donald Glover Needed ‘White Translator’ To Convince FX To Allow ‘N-Word’ In ‘Atlanta’

The network initially asked Glover to cut it out of the show’s pilot. “Only in a world run by white people would that happen,” he recalled.

Written By | Jenna Amatulli

Donald Glover says he had to convince FX to allow him use the “N-word” in his show “Atlanta” by having a “white translator” talk to executives.

In a new profile of Glover by Tad Friend in The New Yorker, the “Atlanta” creator spoke on how he convinced the network executives that use of the word would be important to his hit show’s integrity and authenticity.

The New Yorker profile shows the inner workings of Glover’s creative look on issues like race relations in America, but also delves into what black show runners have to deal with when it comes to explaining their content and comedy to often white executives and audiences.

Glover said FX initially told him not use the word in the pilot for “Atlanta,” and that their “compromise position” was they it could be used only in certain circumstances by a white character:

“Recalling the dispute, Glover exclaimed, ‘I’m black, making a very black show, and they’re telling me I can’t use the N-word! Only in a world run by white people would that happen.’”

Ultimately, one phone call with a “white translator” ― executive producer Paul Simms ― resolved the matter and convinced the network to allow for the word:

“It was a white executive producer, Paul Simms, who argued successfully for the authenticity of the show’s use of the word. Glover had brought in Simms, the elder statesman on “Girls” and “Flight of the Conchords,” to serve as what black creators call “the white translator.” “You need the translator for the three-minute call after the meeting,” [“Black-ish” creator Kenya] Barris explained. “It’s for when the execs call the white guy to say, ‘What exactly did Kenya mean there?,’ and to be reassured.” Since then, “Atlanta” has used the N-word unself-consciously, in a profusion of ways.

For context, the profile talks about shows like “Black-ish” and “The Carmichael Show” and how their usage of the word is often set up as an entire discussion piece, rather than in casual conversation like in “Atlanta:”

On African-American shows, racial anxiety often gets dramatized as a special episode about the N-word. On “Black-ish,” the Johnson family argued about its propriety, and Dre, the father, finally told his son—who’d been suspended from school for singing along to the word in Kanye West’s “Gold Digger”—to “hold off on saying it until you know the history of it, to make your own decision.” On “The Carmichael Show,” on NBC, a similar family debate ensued after a white friend of Jerrod’s greeted him with “My nigga!” Jerrod’s girlfriend, Maxine, said, “It’s the last word that so many black people heard as they were being hung from trees,” but Jerrod contended that “everyone should just use the word constantly, so much until it dilutes its power, it makes it meaningless.”

Glover argued that “no black people talk to each other like that, or need to. It’s all for white people.” According to the New Yorker profile, the audience for “Blackish” is about one-fifth black, whereas for “Atlanta” it’s about half black.

 

‘Atlanta’ Season 2 Review: ‘Robbin’ Season’ Changes the Game with Sharp New Episodes That’ll Leave You On Edge

Written By | Ben Travers

More money, new problems is a predominant theme of “Robbin’ Season,” as Earn and Paper Boi learn what it’s like to be successful and black in white America.

There is no “B.A.N.” in the first three episodes of “Atlanta” Season 2. Anyone expecting the long-awaited follow-up to Donald Glover’s breakout FX comedy to be as earth-shatteringly on point as its Season 1 peak needs to know a) that’s not happening, and b) that’s not how it happened last time. Meticulous but surprising, the initial 90 minutes of “Robbin’ Season” are laudable independent entries — truly strong solo episodes. But grouped together, their best trait is a lurking sense of anticipation; anticipation that feels a lot like dread.

“Atlanta” began its exquisite first season with a slew of smart set-ups: Characters were introduced. Tone was established. Disaster struck. “Robbin’ Season” is following suit, although how it establishes when the new season takes place and what has happened in the time jump is perhaps less interesting than how it formally repurposes the pilot’s framing: The very first scene of Season 2 is entirely disconnected from what follows, hinting (if not outright promising) that what’s coming later will deliver the goods — in harrowing fashion.

For those who forgot how it all began, we first met Earn (Glover), Paper Boi (Brian Tyree Henry), and Darius (Lakeith Stanfield) when a passer-by sideswiped their rearview mirror. The three men got into it with the young couple, the camera cut to an extreme wide shot from above, a gunshot went off, and we waited until the end of the episode to find out what happened.

ATLANTA -- Season Two, Episode 3 - Pictured: Zazie Beetz as Van. CR: Guy D'Alema/FX

Season 2 may be playing an even longer version of that same game — or it could be playing a different game entirely. Without getting into spoilers, let’s just say the first three episodes, “Alligator Man,” “Sportin’ Waves,” and “Money Bag Showty,” offer substantial insight into the issues they examine — and are still, by and large, sharply funny — but they still serve as a tease for what’s next. And after that distressing opening, what’s next could be anything: dramatic, scathing, or downright tragic.

The premiere catches the audience up: New dynamics have formed between friends, and matters of pride, family, and reliance are studied. Earn, a Princeton drop-out, remains worried about where he’ll end up; what kind of man he’ll become because he didn’t take the safest route available to sound living. Even with continued success, the friends’ social status hasn’t changed, but the expectation of further prosperity has them thinking about the future. Earn comes face-to-face with his fears in aptly odd fashion, involving a dynamite guest turn from Katt Williams and an actual alligator.

ATLANTA -- "Alligator Man" -- Season Two, Episode 1 (Airs Wednesday, March 1, 10:00 p.m. e/p) Pictured: Donald Glover as Earnest Marks. CR: Guy D'Alema/FX

“Sportin’ Waves” sees even more unexpected problems arise, most of which involve bending to the will of those who have what Earn and Paper Boi want: money and weed. Fame becomes a problem, and that discussion continues in “Money Bag Showty,” the strongest episode of the first three.

“Atlanta” has always excelled at specificity: Just think of the ads for the Dodge Charger and Swisher Sweets in “B.A.N.” or how many different topics came up in bottle episodes like “The Club” and “Juneteenth.” The third episode of “Robbin’ Season” dials in on one central idea — Earn wants to go out — and uses a half-dozen examples to break down why that’s not as easy for him as it should be. Not only does it further Earn’s motivation in intriguing new ways, but it invites a broader understanding of his perspective. His problems are both his and so many others’.

Brothers Donald and Stephen Glover, who penned the episodes, continue to find natural rhythms to convey the bigger picture. When Paper Boi drives home the theme of Episode 3 in one perfect comparison, it connects. And so much hits home even without a declarative statement, like the bizarre climax of the premiere. You’re waiting for a moment to happen without really knowing why. Then it happens and everything clicks. Never does it feel like the show is up on a pulpit, nor does it stray from its characters’ compelling points of view. That helps the jokes pop, often arising in an instant and sending you into fits of laughter, but the blend of big and small concerns is utilized for an intriguing purpose in “Robbin’ Season.”

The title alone denotes things are different this year. “Robbin’ Season” may refer to the specific time when it’s almost Christmas and folks in Atlanta get desperate to provide for their families, but that framework is in place for a reason. Though exactly what that is remains unclear, the first three episodes are reason enough to believe. Something’s coming. It won’t be “B.A.N.,” but it will be big. And we’re already eager to find out.

Donald Glover Found Inspiration for Atlanta’s Second Season in the Unlikeliest of Places

Written By | Billy Nilles

It’s been a long time since we last visited Donald Glover‘s specific, surreal vision of Atlanta.But the highly-anticipated second season of the Emmy-winning FX comedy, officially titled Atlanta Robbin’ Season (more on that later), finally has a premiere date of March 1. And because the return is right around the corner, the multi-hyphenate (Seriously, not only does he star in the series he created, but he is also credited as executive producer, director, writer and executive music producer. Whew.) and his co-stars were on hand during FX’s day at the 2018 TCA Winter Press Tour to give the world some insight into what it’s like to return to something that was so rapturously received the first time around, as well as what to expect once it’s back.

Tiny Toons

CBS

“What we liked about the first season was we just looked at it as 30 minutes on television. We weren’t trying to think about it in terms of sitcom tropes and what has come before. We really tried to just devolve what television was. We just had 30 minutes to do whatever we want,” Donald explained. “So we just went into this being like ‘Why are we going to do seasons? Everybody does seasons.’ I felt like the theme that we really wanted to go for was this. I think in the writer’s room we talked a lot about How I Spent My Summer Vacation by the Tiny Toons which is a show we really liked. That was kind of the inspiration for season two.”Now, before you start thinking that Earn, Van (Zazie Beets), Paper Boi (Brian Tyree Henry) and the rest of the gang are going to suddenly get animated or spend some time with some animals or something like that (though, with this show, that might still be possible), Donald’s brother Stephen Glover, who writes and serves as executive producer on Atlanta, explained how that early ’90s animated classic truly inspired this new batch of episodes.

Summer Vacation Tiny Toons episodes were broken up into a bunch of episodes, like eight or nine, but if you watched them all together, it was a movie,” he explained. “We had this idea like, yeah, a whole story, but being told in a bunch of little parts.””You enjoy them more when they’re all together, but you also enjoy them in little bit,” Donald added.

As for the interesting new title, Stephen also kindly explained to the room what it was all about. “Robbin’ Season, for most of you that don’t know, is a time in Atlanta before Christmastime and New Year’s, but it’s basically a bunch of crime happens in the city because people have their Christmas gifts,” he said. “It’s just a time where robberies go up, like all times…It’s just a very tense and desperate time, so we kind of wanted to make that the backdrop of the season…Robbin’ Season’s kind of a metaphor for all of our characters.”

 

When the conversation turned to the pressure felt trying to capitalize on the first season’s success in the face of fan expectations, Donald admitted that he’s wary of giving people what they think they want. “It just feels like everybody wants you to do the thing that they like again,” he said.”At one point you talked about how last season, the ‘B.A.M.’ episode was sort of the anomaly or the one that completely unboxed what the TV format could be and you saying, ‘We can’t do another one like that,'” Zazie added. “So, like, not copying yourself.”

Something tells us that for the endlessly creative artist at the helm, not copying himself shouldn’t be much of a problem.

Atlanta Robbin’ Season kicks off on Thursday, March 1 at 10 p.m. on FX.

 

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