My Camp Counselor (A Letter to Childish Gambino)

I first found you on Tumblr
Hiding away in some culdesac
Sitting in my dorm room
Alone with those thoughts
But then you appeared like a firefly in my digital field
And I knew then, that power could be found in your words
Telling my story without me even sharing it
The smart kid
Being bullied for being the smart black kid
It began in summer camp that one year, and I started to feel uncomfortable in my own skin
I know it sounds childish but when your first name sounds like a country singer it’s hard to identify with your brothers. I know you know, the glover never fit you too well either.

Then you showed me
That being black and vulnerable was okay, and necessary.
So I began to write
To express myself,
Through metaphors like you
“Made the beat and killed it, Casey anthony?”
“E.e. Cummings on her face now that’s poetry in motion”
See only the freaks and geeks would get that one, maybe bloggers too.
But to me, that red hoody was more like a cape from a superhero.
And even though you didn’t get to play spiderman you still saved the day

Then you stole the show from Adele, no longer being silent as you rolled in the deep
Songs evolving, lyrics no longer being a string of punch lines but more like a compilation of One Hit KOs on Worldstar
My words following suit, watching me break down the rhyme scheme and making my own style.
As you tackled the issues of being called token, falling in love with the wrong women and liquor and the lonliness.
Remember heartbeat? Yeah, I listened to that everyday during my first real break up.
But I needed it, needed to know that these words I was writing were more than just black ink.

Royalty came soon after,
Growing a nappy fro to resemble a crown
And when I did too that,
everybody knew you were my role model.
Because now I was be mistaken as troy from community, especially with a bald face and cardigan.

It was Because the Internet that I left the digital world to tell my story.
Putting down the mousepad to pick up the pen
Leaving the keyboard to proclaim with lips
No longer being in the shadows,
Words finally crawling out of my mouth
Ready to tell the world about the zealots of Stockholm.
Hoping these truths would linger until 3005.
Or at least until I join the worst guys…

Then you broke down, on instagram.
Hastily drawn notes on paper
Drunken words and slurred sentences
As suicidal thoughts took physical form
How could I have not known that depression lingered in your bones because
You were the mirror to my own reflection
Fearing the same thing,
But you didn’t give up, you gave more. Gave up the notion of who you were, you know the quiet guy who wrote lines from 30 rock to adopt the celebrity status as if you were made to do this the whole time
Adding a beard and movie role to your arsenal.
Side note its awesome how you rescued Matt Damon from Mars.

Now you’re quiet, working in secret
Plotting for the next course of action as you navigate from Oakland to Stone Mountain to Atlanta. With plans, grand plans of screenplays and television shows.
And me, I picked up a camera and it brought me here.
How far we’ve come
From those nights doused with insomnia
From being the weirdo on stage with glasses and tight shirts
From the emotionally drained ex lover, writing the longest text message ever that would never be sent.
To now, the bearded artist
The free spirited nigga that wears short shorts during the summertime and full suits at formal functions
The boy who isn’t afraid to chase his dream to the islands of Kaui.

You taught me, to stop sharing myself with one person. Because that one person will eventually tell, so from now on I share myself with everybody. And now that everybody knows, there’s nothing to tell because it’s already known. I guess this is why I’m willing to let you all know my truths.

Donald Glover, Childish Gambino.
Thank you for being you, because it showed me I could be me, even with a different name.

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