Must-Read Roundup: 3 Boundary-Pushing Black Artists Spill on Creativity and Politics

By Sameer Rao Aug 09, 2017

Today (August 9) is a great day for fans of Black musicians who use their platforms to challenge structural racism, conquer other mediums and push the envelope in everything they do. Kendrick Lamar, Chance the Rapper and Donald "Childish Gambino" Glover graced the world with new perspectives and reflections in interviews that all coincidentally dropped online today. We round up those exchanges below, complete with links and quotes: 

"Kendrick Lamar: The Rolling Stone Interview," from Rolling Stone’s August 24 issue cover story:

Other than a few lyrics, you’ve been quiet about Donald Trump. Why?
I mean, it’s like beating a dead horse. We already know what it is. Are we gonna keep talking about it or are we gonna take action? You just get to a point where you’re tired of talking about it. It weighs you down and it drains your energy when you’re speaking about something or someone that’s completely ridiculous. So, on and off the album, I took it upon myself to take action in my own community. On the record, I made an action to not speak about what’s going on in the world or the places they put us in. Speak on self; reflection of self first. That’s where the initial change will start from.

"Underestimate Donald Glover at Your Own Peril​," from The Hollywood Reporter’s August 9 issue cover story: 

After graduation, as many of [his] peers toiled away in their parents’ basements, he parlayed some funny YouTube videos from his sketch-comedy troupe into a coveted gig in the "30 Rock" writers room. He was all of 23, and it would take time for him to get comfortable with his good fortune. "Being the only Black writer, you’re sort of like, ‘Why am I really here?’" he remembers thinking, before his father set him straight. "He’d say to me, ‘They’re not hiring a bunch of these Black kids from middle of nowhere Georgia; there’s a reason you’re here.’"

Chance the Rapper speaking on NPR’s "What’s Good With Stretch & Bobbito" podcast: 

I think there’s always been a kind of quiet conversation that if you’re not hard, if you’re not from an impoverished neighborhood, if you’re not certain constructs of a Black stereotype, then you’re not Black. … But now a lot of Black people have a lot more pride in being who they are, and understanding that that is a part of the Black experience, living and being who you are.