This Is the End: Childish Gambino Honors Late Father at Concert Finale

Childish Gambino performs onstage during the 2018 iHeartRadio Music Festival on September 21, 2018 in Las Vegas, Nevada.
Photo: Kevin Winter (Getty Images for iHeartMedia)

The time has come.

Childish Gambino told us he’d be retiring following his fourth studio album. However, after an RCA deal was announced in late January 2018, folks started side-eyeing the claim, according to Billboard.

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Shortly after winning his first-ever Grammy (Best Traditional R&B Performance for hit single “Redbone”), he reconfirmed his music moniker’s retirement, saying, “I stand by that. I’m really appreciative of this. I’m making another project right now, but I like endings, I think they’re important to progress.”

On Sunday night, Childish Gambino performed his very last set at The Forum in Los Angeles.

“This is an experience,” he began, once he appeared onstage for his final show. “This is not a concert. This is church.”

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Gambino performed several songs from his discography, including his hit, “This Is America,” which immediately became a viral sensation, via its music video. He even rocked the exact costume from said video.

In Alex Stedman’s Variety review:

His performance, however, of “This Is America,” which he released in May to an immediately viral response, was perhaps the highlight of a night that could have seen many moments take that crown. Like so much in Gambino’s career, it was a contradiction — raw and aggressive, but still filled with joy and celebration. He brought on dancers dressed as students, like the children in the music video, who played off Gambino and even remained on stage after the star left, executing killer moves as the crowd lost it over the talented crew.

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In one of the most heartfelt moments of the night, Gambino confirmed the recent death of his father, Donald Glover Sr., according to Uproxx. He dedicated his song, “Riot” to his late father.

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“I lost a lot of good people,” he said, of 2018. “I know it’s been a tough year for everybody, that’s what’s crazy. I wish I could change everything for everybody.”

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He closed out the show with “Redbone,” another staple in his catalogue.

“This is not a concert!” he repeated. “This is motherfucking church! I told ya’ll!”

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Now that he’s no longer a man of two names, Donald Glover has more space to only go up from here.

“I think if a lot of things had death clauses in them, we wouldn’t have a lot of problems in the world, to be honest. I think endings are good because they force things to get better,” the Awaken, My Love! artist had said back in January.

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Well, damn. Profound.

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About the author

Tonja Renée Stidhum

Staff Writer, Entertainment at The Root. Sugar, spice & everything rice. Equipped with the uncanny ability to make a Disney reference and a double entendre in the same sentence.