Back in July, we posed a simple question: Where is Donald Glover? Most fans and reporters either hadn’t noticed his sudden retreat from the pop culture landscape, or assumed his decision to scale back his role on NBC’s Community was due to the 29-year-old entertainer’s desire to focus on the burgeoning hip-hop career of his rapper alter ego Childish Gambino. But even Glover’s heightened focus on music and the news that he will be writing, producing and starring in a new show for FX couldn’t fully explain his disappearance.
Now, thanks to a series of handwritten notes posted on Glover’s Instagram account on Monday afternoon, we have a better sense of why we haven’t seen much of Childish Gambino in the last year.
As was commonplace for him prior to wiping his website and Twitter account earlier this year, Glover communicated directly—and remarkably openly—with his fans, revealing a series of hopes, fears and insecurities. His notes reveal concerns that he’ll always be thought of as the “Bro Rape” guy (his breakout Derrick Comedy sketch), that Community show-runner Dan Harmon hates him (presumably for quitting the show) and that he simply isn’t making the right decisions with his life.
Glover also takes time to clear up a few misconceptions, first and foremost that he left Community to further pursue his rap career: “I didn’t leave Community to rap. I don’t wanna rap. I wanted to be on my own.” He describes an apparent disagreement with his record label, which doesn’t want him to release his next album in December as previously planned because “it’s not a holiday record and I’m not a big artist.” More significantly, however, Glover reveals that he’s been sick this year and felt helpless for the first in his life.
It’s hard to know what—if anything—to definitively make of the notes, but it seems that Glover has turned a corner. His website is back up, he’s returned to Twitter—two of the Internet outlets that gained him his rabid following. Whether or not his new album actually drops in December, it’s certainly on its way. And yes, Glover will be leaving Community, but fans have five episodes with Troy Barnes to look forward to when the show begins its fourth season sometime later this year or early next.
Most crucially, the notes mark a return to part of what made Glover so popular and unique in the first place: unparalleled thoughtfulness, openness and honesty with his fans. Have a look for yourself: