It’s the beginning of September so naturally, just as I’m getting ready to
abandon this godforsaken summer and its myriad of eclipses and retrogrades gracefully transition into autumn aka Halloween season, Childish Gambino drops the music video for “Feels Like Summer” and suddenly I’m back to craving popsicles and poolside. Thanks, Donald.
While this isn’t the first time that character designer Justin Richburg has collaborated with a Glover project (you can see evidence as early as this year’s episodes of Atlanta), it’s definitely the most ambitious. It shouldn’t really come as a surprise at this point that the “officially untethered” Glover would continue to push the creative envelope after “This is America,” and returning to his Black nerd roots with an animated music video feels right on time with the back-to-school vibe in the air. No, it’s not the greatest Blerd music video you never saw but hell, I’m here for a trend of big name musicians putting dollars in the pockets of lesser known visual artists.
Actually, let’s call the video what it is: an exercise in self-insert AU fanart. I don’t even mean that in a bad way. I’m excited—more than excited. I damn near developed like 50 different fanfiction prompts from one viewing alone. There’s something about the alternate dimensional possibilities that reminds me of Raven “raveyrai” White’s Poke Celebs Series (a project that reimagines various Black creatives as Pokemon gym leaders and trainers) or Asia “asieybarbie” Kendrick-Horton’s otherworldly portraits of SZA or Beyonce. Maybe it’s the artists, especially the Black women artists, being depicted as having fun that feels so refreshing. I mean, sure, there’s plenty of shade to be thrown but lets not overlook the gift that is a magical Saturday morning cartoon from a different universe and all the speculations we could be making. Two can play at this game, Donald.
Like why Azealia Banks in a tree? Is she like a considerably less problematic ninja in this universe? Does she run around doing the Naruto run up and down this neighborhood’s streets? She got a kekkei genkai we don’t know about? What village she rep? She pass the chuunin exam yet?
Or do Solange and Willow Smith often engage in feats of strength? What’s that work out regimen look like? What happens when they win this game of tug-of-war, because obviously they’re going to win this game of tug-of-war? Is there harmonizing involved? How do I replace A$ap Rocky as their teammate and do I need muscles to do it?
How much does Michelle Obama get paid to apparently become Kanye’s therapist? Can she charge double because she’s a First Lady? Triple? Reparations from the Kardashians? Do we think Michelle Obama’s hugs can clear all your old tweets or just your skin?
(No real speculation here, just acknowledging).
And I’m sorry, Rihanna can levitate?! What?! What
strain meditation do I need to indulge in in order to achieve whatever level of enlightenment this woman has apparently reached? Do it got something to do with her make up line, ’cause they way my bank account is set up…
Most importantly, where the hell are SZA and Janelle Monae going, because wherever it is it’s going to be the Black Girl Hogwarts of my feelings and I am both so ready and so not ready for my queer ass owl to deliver my invitation in a stream of tears.
Look, I’m not saying that the next installment of Wakanda Beauty Shop might suddenly involve a ridiculous amount of celebrity cameos, I’m just sayin’, the Black fandom gods have smiled upon us fellow fan creators. Why let it go to waste?