Donald Glover starred on GQ’s Global Creativity Awards 2023 cover and broke down the many chapters of his career.
One of the most integral moments that started his break into television work was becoming a writer on 30 Rock while still studying at NYU in 2006.
He’d be in the writers’ room until 2009, but even he admits now that he realized being Black played a role in him getting the big gig on NBC’s fictional live sketch comedy show. If he didn’t accept the job, it would have gone to another Black man.
“There is no animosity between us or anything like that, but [Tina Fey] said it herself…. It was a diversity thing,” Glover said. “The last two people who were fighting for the job were me and Kenya Barris. I didn’t know it was between me and him until later. He hit me one day and he was like, ‘I hated you for years!’”
Elsewhere in the interview, Glover also talked about his cult classic FX show Atlanta. The four-season show was full of unforgettable and strange moments like the white face wearing Teddy Perkins and hilarious celebrity cameos.
One celebrity that no one was expecting to show up in the show’s highly-critiqued third season was Liam Neeson, who played himself while visiting a place called the Cancel Club. His appearance on the show came after he was canceled for saying he hoped he got a chance to kill someone Black after a Black man raped his friend.
In the episode, Neeson tells Brian Tyree Henry’s character, Paper Boi, that he can’t stand Black people and “that the best and worst part about being white is that you don’t have to learn anything if you don’t want to.”
Glover reveals that Neeson initially hesitated to shoot the scene, telling him that he spoke to Morgan Freeman, Jordan Peele and Spike Lee after the incident amid the outrage. So, Glover then used Peele to convince Neeson to agree to the small role eventually.
Check out the rest of Donald Glover’s GQ interview, where he also speaks on helping Malia Obama create her own short film, the farm he bought in California, criticizing Tyler Perry and more.
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