After many on social media called out the eerie comparisons between Donald Glover’s “Guava Island” and the recent passing of rapper Nipsey Hussle, the film’s creators touched on how “art imitates life”.
Glover’s new 55-minute film “Guava Island,” co-starring Rihanna released on Amazon last weekend following his performance at Coachella. The musical was shot in Cuba and includes Glover’s recent music as Childish Gambino, including his viral hit “This Is America,” “Feels Like Summer” and “Summertime Magic.”
The film is set on a tropical island that was once a paradise but instead turned into a place filled with overworked and underpaid people due to a capitalist ecosystem. Glover’s character Deni (Glover) believes his mission is to make the perfect song to unite the people of the island. His upcoming performance at the festival will give the natives of the land one night of joy and no worries. His love Kofi (Rihanna) supports him on his mission while she works hard at a clothing factory and waits to inform him about their unborn child.
After Deni is shot and killed during his performance at the festival, the island dwellers wore blue at the processional held in honor of the fictional musician. With the film premiering just days after Hussle’s funeral, many took to social media to call out the stark parallels between Deni and the life and death of rapper Nipsey Hussle.
The timing of the film #guavaisland is surreal. I cried at the end …..Life imitates art— Jodylove (@gigiflacko) April 13, 2019
Or this is really all a plan from a higher being.
It felt like Nipsey’s funeral.
Donald Glover was sent from the future. A man with such awareness #NipseyHussleMemorial pic.twitter.com/HJcYO8RcoV
Isn’t it crazy how much similarities Guava Island’s story line has in relation to Nipsey’s death. A leader trying unite and spark change in a small island (community) through music. Even right down to the Blue celebration at the funeral towards the end. 💙#GuavaIsland— Danica Samuel (@DanicaSamuel) April 14, 2019
That was really short and enjoyable.— KYLE A.B. (@kyalbr) April 13, 2019
The coloring and whole premise definitely hit differently than if this had been released three weeks ago.
One of the film’s creators and brother to Donald Glover, Stephen Glover spoke with HuffPost about the movie being “art imitating life.”
“I think that the topics that we like to focus on in Royalty, and when we like to do stories they all feel, we like to do things that are grounded in a sense of reality even if we get weirder from there,” he said, speaking about their creative collective. “And a sad reality is the tragedy of black leaders being killed before their prime, of people who want to help the people who are killed or are stopped from realizing that dream, I think that’s something that’s happened in history plenty of times, especially to black people. So it’s just one of those things where you can see the movie has this element in it but it’s like, yeah, there’s real-life instances and examples of that all the time, unfortunately.”
Jamal “Swank” Olori said Hussle’s death was “shocking for everyone” but noted the “universe” playing a role in the similarities.
“Everybody respects him and cares about him, so it’s not like you plan for anything close like that to happen, but it’s almost like “This Is America” [with] the timing of that… but Donald’s been working on that song for like three, four years, essentially. Even before we knew all about the Trump stuff and everything like that so,” he said. “I mean it is something that’s like super eerie and coincidental ’cause even with all of the blues and all that stuff, we can’t control that. The universe just makes stuff like that happen.”
“I think really with Deni it was taking this idea of a community that’s oppressed or overworked and finding somebody who can represent that feeling, that hopeful feeling that everybody wants, or that everybody in the community wanted to see, which is somebody who’s not depressed, who’s happy, who can relate to everybody, who brings a smile to people while at the same time he’s fighting for them to be able to live lives where they have fun and can do things that they want to do and dream. So I think the idea of Deni is really just looking at the major theme of capitalism and kind of the hero of that, the hero of a capitalist system. Somebody who values the soul over money.” Stephen Glover added.
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