Coachella 2019 was a lot. Then again, this music festival never fails to give us the full experience. We were treated to a one-way ticket to”Beychella” last year in all of its glory. With Beyoncé’s tribute to black colleges and black excellence in general, she proved once again why she reigns as Queen Bey. It’s quite hard to beat.
But this year, renaissance man Donald Glover a.k.a. Childish Gambino brought everyone to church.
Read more: Rihanna and Childish Gambino’s film is premiering this weekend
As Childish Gambino stood where Bey stood, the pressure is on to live up to last year’s groundbreaking performance. It’s impossible to outshine Beyoncé (not unless you’re Prince), so Bam-B did the next best thing—give these kids a much-needed spiritual experience.
“Put your phones down. This is not a concert, this is church. If you came here to hear your favorite song, you should go home and do that.”
From a stunning musical film debut with Rihanna to a heartbreaking tribute in honor of Nipsey Hussle and Mac Miller, here’s what happened during service at the Church of ‘Bino this Coachella Weekend.
Childish Gambino singing “Sober” @Coachella will put you in all your feelings. We got up close and personal to give you a taste. Incredible @donaldglover. #Coachella pic.twitter.com/TYvGXQzzkw
— #BETMusic (@BETMusic) April 14, 2019
Phones out. Listening ears and watchful eyes only. This is what this year’s Coachella headliner demands of his audience. Apart from his strict no phones policy, he made it clear that this isn’t a concert, rather a spiritual experience. “He wants church, he’s brought a choir dressed in religious garb, he’s channeling spiritual healing. The experience over the course of his set is entertaining as hell, but it’s also intense, unsettling, and makes you ask questions of yourself,” according to Vulture.
Too bad we’re not in attendance during the service. Maybe all we have to do is settle for the Word of ‘Bino through his hymns.
Not for your ‘gram
Childish Gambino set 2 rules at the start of his #Coachella set.
1⃣ "Feel each other and really have a good time."
2⃣ "Put your phones down."
Follow along with the festival live: https://t.co/LnlyYYlHif pic.twitter.com/rKbradbdOv
— LAT Entertainment (@latimesent) April 13, 2019
“Put your phones down. This is not a concert, this is church. If you came here to hear your favorite song, you should go home and do that,” he tells the crowd mid-set, according to Vulture. “If you want to come here to just take Instagram pictures and shit, you should go in the back and move right now. I want y’all to feel this shit. This is my church. I feel at home here.”
Pics or didn’t happen? Nah, bro. Childish Gambino made it clear: his set is Church. In a world where clout is currency and content is king, Gambino puts artist-crowd connection as his top priority. No photo ops, no ‘content is life’, and no phone screens. His set was between his fans and the music that binds them. He made this clearer when the LA Times reveals that “he barred The Times and other media outlets from photographing the show.” Talk about dedication.
Read more: Blackpink and Hyukoh mark the return of South Korean acts to Coachella this year
childish gambino airdropped a picture at coachella of his adidas collab and everyone who accepted got a pair of his unreleased shoes… pic.twitter.com/JLKsmNb4LM
— jay ➐ (@THEGOODSlDE) April 12, 2019
“You get new kicks, you get new kicks—everybody gets new kicks!” Bambini probably screamed during Coachella at one point. Or maybe not at all, but that’s how the lucky few felt when they got new Adidas x Childish Gambino sneaks.
Lucky fans got a surprise from ‘Bino last April 12. Complex reveals people received an AirDrop request of an image of his Adidas collab. Those who gave the random request a shot had 60 minutes to get their new kicks at a nearby meeting area. Wow, who knew ‘Bino is literally a gift that keeps on giving?
“There’s a good chance that some of y’all—at least one of y’all—won’t see next week. So what I’m saying is while you’re here, while we’re here, feel something and pass it on.”
To be blunt
No one can legally blaze it up in the Philippines without getting D30 and the popo riled up. But man, this one fan in ‘chella got lucky. He got to pass the joint with none other than ‘Bino himself.
AV Club reports, ‘Bino walked toward the crowd with a joint during his set. He offered to a lucky fan and asked if the fan wants to get high with him. Now, who wants to deny him after he asked kindly? “How old are you?” he asks the fan jokingly, according to Vulture. “Let me see this ID.” Both of them jammed it out while they’re surrounded by hulking bouncers. Apparently, the joint got the fan high like it was his first blunt. ‘Bino didn’t even look fazed.
Read more: No Rome just performed with The 1975 at Coachella
Greetings from Guava Island
Rihanna & Childish Gambino is BaeGoals ? vibes all summer ?☀️ pic.twitter.com/wBDCUjkOvE
— “OMILLO” ALL $ IN ?? (@ChampagneOmillo) April 13, 2019
The mystery is finally solved. After all the unconfirmed information and secrecy about this collab, the musical film finally dropped at Coachella last weekend. It’s the much-awaited project from Rihanna and Childish Gambino. Shot last year in Cuba, the film is anti-capitalist fable set in a tropical island. People got to see it at the Californian festival and hours later in Amazon Prime for free.
Rolling Stone describes the film as: “This conception of America, as a broken, cruel system that breaks as often as it makes.” Tropical depression mixed with breaking systematic oppression? Don’t mind if we do.
The realest of real talks
Childish Gambino breaks down talking about Nipsey Hussle, Mac Miller, & his late father ????#Coachella pic.twitter.com/3SEYSyLEw4
— EMINEM AND HIP-HOP (@Eminemtvnews) April 13, 2019
Guava Island isn’t his only huge statement of the night. During his set, he went off into a rather deep speech. It sounded similar to his monologues in his EP STN MTN or album Because The Internet. But of course, this one is more off-the-cuff than artistic if anything. He talked about losing his loved ones and how cherishing life can be a way to honor them.
Read more: Alextbh talks about “Twink R&B” and the Malaysian music scene
“I lost my dad this year, we lost Nipsey, we lost Mac. What I’m starting to realize, all we really have is memories at the end of the day, that’s all we are.” Buzzfeed News reports the contents of ‘Bino’s spiel. “There’s a hundred thousand of you out here right now. There’s a good chance that some of y’all—at least one of y’all—won’t see next week. So what I’m saying is while you’re here, while we’re here, feel something and pass it on.”
This might be what he meant when he said he’s taking us to church. Unintentional, obviously, but he did drop some hard facts. A lot of media outlets are lowkey shading his speech for being awkward and got some people in the crowd booing. If everyone’s just expecting him to drop some bars, perform soul and funk, and call it a day—then you’re not his audience.
His depth and “uncalled for” monologues makes him an exciting artist. Childish Gambino always does projects with the intention to speak out either for or against something. No fresh drops for the sake of it, he shows the world his creations when it’s ready. So when an onlooker told Vulture, “He’s the greatest. He didn’t get here by chance,” take their word for it.
Still from yaphet kotto