Fea­ture

Esquire (Singapore) - - Port­fo­lio -

grav­ity of the role and the re­spon­si­bil­ity to do right by a char­ac­ter that de­fined his child­hood uni­verse. “I get why peo­ple don’t like re­makes,” Glover said, “and I only want to work with peo­ple who un­der­stand why peo­ple don’t like re­makes.”

His ob­ses­sion with qual­ity—his un­shak­able sense of his own taste—comes from his mother, who in­stilled in him a respect for things made well. Glover says it started with fast food. “My mom used to take me to Chick-fil-A. We all know it’s all fast food; none of it’s good for you. But it’s bet­ter than Mc­Don­ald’s. She’d be like, ‘Look at these cups. Look at the colour pat­tern. Look at the way this tastes. Look at how it doesn’t taste great af­ter a cou­ple of hours.’ ”

Atlanta is the clear­est ex­pres­sion yet that Glover has be­come a gen­uine cre­ative force in Hol­ly­wood and be­yond. That’s hard to do even in the most open artis­tic cli­mates, but it’s rarer still in film and TV, me­dia that tend to re­ward same­ness rather than strange­ness. Glover’s ge­nius has been to con­vince those very real gate­keep­ers that lazy, re­ac­tive, im­i­ta­tive dreck won’t cut it any longer—and to show, through his ca­reer and his fans, that large num­bers of peo­ple re­ally do care about the qual­ity of what they put in their minds.

Af­ter leav­ing the Land­mark,

we got in the car again, headed for In­man Park, one of Atlanta’s older, now-gen­tri­fy­ing neigh­bour­hoods. “I re­ally do be­lieve in be­ing a cit­i­zen of the world,” he said. Home, for him, is a place he builds ev­ery­where he goes. “I haven’t lived in LA in over a year. I lived in London and we made a home there and we had a place and we made new friends. Then we moved here and we built some­thing here and made new friends,” he con­tin­ued. “Af­ter this, then I’m go­ing to an is­land and I’m just go­ing to live there. Just cre­ate.”

Just as im­por­tant as his sense of home is Glover’s tight-knit cir­cle of friends and col­lab­o­ra­tors. The team calls it­self Roy­alty, af­ter a 2012 Child­ish Gam­bino mix­tape, and in­cludes Fam Ude­orji, Chad Tay­lor, Kari Faux, Ma­lik Flint, Ibra Ake, Swank and Don­ald’s brother Stephen. They man­aged his Child­ish Gam­bino tours, write for Atlanta and are his most trusted con­fi­dants. “I think they’re just a group of kings and queens. Every­body’s al­lowed to have their own no­bil­ity.”

We found a tapas res­tau­rant, part of a bourgie mar­ket on Krog Street, which is lo­cated in Tyler Perry’s old studios. It was early evening and the vibe was mel­low. No­body, aside from our host­ess, gave him a sec­ond look. That is, un­til a tall, tat­tooed guy wear­ing a leather jacket walked up to us, told Glover he was a huge fan and called his girl over. She was wil­lowy and dark-eyed, with a del­i­cate bone struc­ture. They were beau­ti­ful to­gether—poised and defini­tively alt. Glover made time for them. “You never know who you meet,” the guy mar­velled while talk­ing to Glover. “I love your work. I love how you give it back to the city, broad­cast­ing that shit, bro,” he said.

Glover’s care for black peo­ple and the black Amer­i­can ex­pe­ri­ence is un­de­ni­able. When he says that he wants “to make stuff that no one else will make”, he means

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