Amidst the whirlwind of US politics, Democratic presidential candidate Andrew Yang has announced that Donald Glover, the actor and rapper who also goes by Childish Gambino, is now the creative consultant of his Yang 2020 campaign. Yang announced their partnership on December 19th making Glover the newest artist to team up with a political campaign.
The announcement followed a pop-up event put on by Yang and Glover in support of Yang’s campaign. For the event, held the day of the sixth Democratic presidential primary debate that Yang participated in, Glover created limited-edition merchandise signed by Yang available to attendees. Items included sweatshirts, hats, and posters that ranged from $25 to the $1,000 price point, with proceeds benefiting Yang’s campaign. Hats bore the slogan ‘1K: Yang Gang 2020,’ referencing Yang’s promise to provide $1,000 per month to American adults, if elected, while vibrant posters depicting Yang clad in an American flag scarf reads ‘This is the simulation where we win.’
Prior to the event, both Yang and Fam Udeorji, Glover’s manager, confirmed the events on Twitter and that both Yang and Glover would be in attendance, though Udeorhi’s tweet has since been deleted. After, Yang posted a photo of him and Glover to his Instagram in front of what looked to be a stack of posters, stating: ‘Had a blast with Donald Glover today! Big thanks to everyone who came out in L.A.!’
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Glover follows the lead of a number of other artists who have teamed up with US presidential campaigns, created content revolving around candidates, or made art that has been adopted by presidential hopefuls. Perhaps most well-known is Shepard Fairey who created the now iconic image of Barack Obama with ‘Hope,’ ‘Change,’ or ‘Progress’ written at the bottom. His red, white, and blue stylized image (an image that wreaked havoc when Fairey was hit with a copyright lawsuit concerning the image he used for the poster) became synonymous with the Obama’s first presidential campaign in 2008. Fairey went on to use a similar style when he created the We the People poster series for the non-profit organization, Amplifier Foundation. That series, which featured the portrait of a Native American, African American, and Muslim woman in a similar red, white, and blue fashion, was created in that case to protest president Donald Trump’s inauguration.
While president Trump hasn’t enlisted the assistance of big-name artists on his campaign trail in the past, one artwork, in particular, became a star among Trump’s supporters and has continued to make appearances during rally stops. Titled Unafraid and Unashamed, the 2015 painting by Julian Raven is a massive, symbol-ridden tribute to Trump. Raven’s painting has also made headlines due to controversy, like Fairey’s posters. However, in the case of Unafraid and Unashamed it was when Raven was angered that the Smithsonian was not interested in accepting the painting into the National Portrait Gallery in DC in 2017.