Donald Glover says he felt “weird” for not wanting to label his sexuality.
In an interview with Michaela Coel for GQ, the entertainers discussed Black identities, their critically-acclaimed television projects and how our current generation of social media users interact with each other online.
Coel, who recently earned unanimous praise for creating and starring in the BBC One drama I May Destroy You, said she believes that some Twitter users put on a persona, a “very specific, flattened [version].”
The star continued to discuss a book called The Corruption of Language, which is about the language used from generation and generation, saying “it’s so slippery and your understanding of something might not be my understanding of something, and extremism can adopt the language of the other extreme or of the oppressed.”
Glover then questioned why millennials are “stuck” in a narrative of using labels.
“There is security to being identified. “I’m a straight white male” or “I’m a gay Asian dancer” – you can find community easily and safely,” he explained.
“Instead of being like, “Man, I really don’t know…” Most of my college years were me being like, “I don’t know what I like.” I had friends who asked, “Are you gay?” And I’d be like, “I sort of feel like I am because I love this community.”
“You know? But maybe I’m not? And I always was trying to figure out, “Am I weird for not wanting to label it?” Yet, also, I never felt completely safe in just one place.”
When asked by Coel, “In what way did you not feel safe?” the Community star responded: “One time I was really close with this guy – a white guy. I was like, “Oh, man, this guy’s my friend.” And then one day we went to the mall and some black kids ragged on his shorts.
“He turned to me and said, “There are black people and then there are n*****s.” My brain, my heart… It was really intense, so I go home and I tell my dad. To his credit, he sat there for a minute and just thought about it and then he said, “What do you feel? That’s the most valuable thing right now.”
He continued: “I think I said, “I think I understand what he meant. And that really hurts me.” But I was in high school, so I didn’t really have the emotional tools to really be like, “Oh, I understand,” because I had no experience.
“We just never talked again. It was a hard lesson, to understand that separation between myself and my friend. And all credit to my father for helping me see that for myself.”
Glover made headlines in 2018 when he welcomed the suggestion that his iconic Star Wars character, Lando Calrissian, identifies as pansexual.
“How can you not be pansexual in space?” he said on SiriusXM’s Entertainment Weekly Radio show. “There are so many things to have sex with. I didn’t think that was that weird. Yeah, he’s coming on to everybody. I mean, yeah, whatever.
“It just didn’t seem that weird to me ‘cause I feel like if you’re in space it’s kind of like, the door is open! It’s like, no, only guys or girls. No, it’s anything. This thing is literally a blob. Are you a man or a woman? Like, who cares? Have good time out here.”