Childish Gambino chosen to perform at LSE

Donald Glover, the man behind the hip-hop act Childish Gambino, has had extensive career experience in the arts, ranging from being a screen writer on the hit sitcom “30 Rock,” to performing as an actor on screen in NBC’s television series “Community.”
(Courtesy of mamapop.com)

After weeks of speculation, Childish Gambino has officially been declared the headline performer for the Large-Scale Event (LSE) for the spring semester. The performance will take place on April 27, although the location is still pending.

The campus-wide vote that took place in November 2011 had Janelle Monáe and Childish Gambino virtually tied for the most votes.

“We went after Janelle Monáe first, but then that didn’t work out, so we went after Gambino instead,” LSE committee coordinator Shane Ogunnaike ’12 said. Because the female Grammy-nominated artist was ahead by a few votes, she was the first to be contacted. However, she first proved to be out of reach economically, and when the committee came up with the necessary funds to cover the fee, her schedule turned out to be incompatible with the tentative dates.

“The process for booking popular artists is full of many twists and turns,” Coordinator of Student Activities Paury Flowers said in an e-mail. “They go out of and around the country on tours. They record albums. They appear on television and in movies. They also make time for their personal lives and families. We have to work inside those parameters.”

Since Gambino was just a few votes behind her, Ogunnaike and the committee successfully contacted and arranged a performance with him.

According to Flowers, the committee was cautious about releasing too much information, in fear that things wouldn’t get done properly if the pressure from the student body was felt by those in charge of the event.

“[We wanted to] bring an act that was actually voted on rather than just grab an artist and make the show happen as quickly as possible when things in the lives of those ‘voted-for’ artists almost led to us having no show at all,” Flowers said.

Ogunnaike thinks that the committee might have gone about the release of information in the wrong way, by having never specified that all performances were tentative, not guaranteed.

“It may seem that the campus is in the dark because at some points we felt as though if we gave information, it would sound definitive, when it wasn’t,” Ogunnaike said.

Childish Gambino, whose real name is Donald Glover, is an actor, writer, comedian and musician, best known for his role in the NBC series “Community.” His first studio album, “Camp,” was voted the number one most underrated album by the online music publication Pitchfork’s “annual Readers poll.”

Alex Moskowitz ’15, rooted for Gambino from the beginning.

“I’ve wanted to see Donald Glover perform live for a really long time. He’s great on ‘Community’ and I’m a huge fan of his music, so I think it’s great that he’s coming for the LSE. He’s a hilarious, witty comedian and a great rapper,” Moskowitz said. “I’m hoping it will be a memorable show.”

Ogunnaike was always conscious of bringing someone the campus would really enjoy.

“We tried our hardest to appease the campus. I’m happy we are going to be able to do this,” he said.

Gambino is now touring the United States and Canada. He will be stopping at Swarthmore shortly after his tour ends.

Because LPAC, the most “optimal venue” for the event according to Flowers, will not be available on that date, the committee is considering having the performance in Upper Tarble.

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