Childish Gambino and my longstanding love for the unconventional black man.

I remember walking in to a GAP store years ago, probably sometime in the winter of 2011 while I was at home on break with some friends. I saw this huge picture of Donald Glover modeling for the brand. In a small description off to the corner had his name and that he was a musician so naturally I went home and googled him. I INSTANTLY fell in love when I listened “Break.”

“These black girls with natural hair that keep up with their Tumblrs.”

If you knew me during this time then you know I was heavy on Tumblr back then. However, this isn’t about my weirdness. It’s about Donald’s, who’s been gaining a lot of attention lately especially with his new song, THIS IS AMERICA (if you haven’t seen it already then I suggest you head to YouTube to witness the masterpice it is). After his new video dropped people praised him on his ability to bring racial injustice issues to a visual art but soon after there were people to rain on his parade. One of the things that I heard people talking about was the fact that his girlfriend (and mother of his children) is not black and it raised the question with some people about his ability (or lack of) to be “pro black” while being with someone outside of his race. Oddly enough many people think that you can’t. I for one enormously disagree with this because 1. You fall in love with whoever you fall in love with and you can’t FORCE yourself to fall in love with someone because they are the same race as you. And 2. Unless that person is preventing you from expressing your blackness I see no issue. You think if she was stopping him from being Childish Gambino he would still be with her? I think not.


One of the responses I’ve seen since this conversation started was how Donald Glover always viewed himself as a “weirdo” or an “outsider.” Which he was and one of the reasons why I fell in love with him. He’s also talked about how in the past some black women weren’t attracted to him because he didn’t fit into the standard black male narrative so it shouldn’t really be a surprise that he found love with a woman that wasn’t black. I mean, were black women checking for Gambino when Because the Internet came out?? Not really, so let this man live.


I however have been a Gambino fan since the ROYALTY mistape (so many good hidden features.)


Anyways, I look back on some of the unconventional black men I’ve know in real life, and had some crushes on, maybe even dated, and I think about how they always knew they were different. They were still proud to be black but they knew they were different. I guess it’s easier for me to like different things outside of the “normal black narrative” becasue I’m a female but why is it different for black boys to like anime or Led Zepplin or Star Wars? Why do we consider them weird or even call them white? It’s hurtful and mean. Let these black men like what they like and wear Toms if they want to. It’s almost as if they have to limit themselves to rap music, Jordans, and disrespecting women.


Unconventional black men are creative, intelligent, and deserving of our love and respect too.




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