Donald Glover & Hiro Murai.
When actor-writer-rapper-stand-up-comedian Donald Glover released the music video for his alter-ego Childish Gambino’s This Is America, it set the internet on fire. Glover and one of his creative collaborators, filmmaker Hiro Murai, together created one of the most mesmerising and unconventional protest songs of the modern era.
In just 48 hours, the video clocked up over 30 million views, and has been viewed in excess over 445 million times.
Before This Is America, Donald Glover a.k.a Childish Gambino had a dedicated fanbase for his music. After, he had everyone’s attention. So too, did Hiro Murai.
Doomsday Entertainment founder Danielle Hinde recalls Donald needing visuals and content for an upcoming Childish Gambino album, so she and Donald’s manager organised for him and Hiro Murai to meet; “During this time, Hiro was evolving his style into more of a Glazer/Lynch aesthetic as opposed to the pop/R&B work we were doing previously. I also knew that Gambino’s persona was VERY different from Donald Glover’s, and for his new album they wanted to take it in a surreal and dark direction. I was trying to develop Hiro’s reel to complement his style and actively looking for projects within that world, so I thought it would be a perfect match. I could have never anticipated how much so!”
The thing that’s interesting to me about filmmaking is all the other stuff, the pockets of ambiguity […] I just sort of know that while we’re lobbing [ideas] around, it will become something, which is not a relationship I have with a lot of people.
[Hiro’s] a very playful soul. I think we both have our own issues with being alone, or just feeling like an alien at some level. When I was a child, you could tell me, ‘On this day the sun rises twice,’ and I’d believe you, because I’ve only been around six or seven years, and so anything is possible. That’s a beautiful thing, and it can be magic, but it can also be really scary. And I think Hiro never really forgot that. He always seems vulnerable in that way, which is hard to find. A lot of people are trying to be too cool.”
It just felt like we were aiming at the same thing. Donald was sort of intentionally doing things the wrong way, in a different way, and trying to make stuff that was the opposite of what people were expecting of him, there’s something sort of punk rock and fun about it.
I’m constantly looking for things that have their own emotional logic, things that are trying to articulate abstract ideas, I see that in him also. He’s aware of culture in a way that I’ve just never seen before, in a way that I’m not at all. I learn a lot from watching him.
He just swings for it. We like abstraction and we like presenting things where you kind of had to lean in to really get the whole picture … when we talk about ideas, everything we’re making is in that context of being alive right now.
I think we know that we click, and what he wants to say and how I like saying it all kind of lines up, and we don’t want to ruin it by putting a label on it. I feel like every time we put a label on it, it kind of ruins it a little bit.
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