"Guava Island," a new 55-minute film starring Donald Glover and Rihanna, aired as a free, limited-time stream on Amazon on Saturday night, during the Glover tour that featured Childish Gambino at the Coachella Valley Music and Art Festival.
The mysterious project, which has been teased for months, features Glover in the role of Deni, a singer who hopes to reunite the mystical island of Guava with a music festival, while Rihanna plays his girlfriend, Kofi, and offers a voiceover during a fairy tale. – as an animated introduction to the fictional place and its precious blue silk. Nonso Anozie ("Game of Thrones") and Letitia Wright ("Black Panther") also appear.
With intrigue involving exploited workers, musicians' struggles, and a society divided between red and blue, the film incorporates themes found in most of Glover's recent works, from the hit series "Atlanta" to his song and Grammy-winning viral video for "This Is America", which is interpolated in "Guava Island".
The film was written by Stephen, Glover's brother, and directed by his longtime collaborator, Hiro Murai, who was also behind the camera during much of "Atlanta" and "This Is America". After its premiere on Coachella's courts Thursday and Childish Friday night's Gambino program entitled "Guava Island" has been made available to anyone watching on Amazon for 18 hours starting Saturday at 12:01 pm daylight saving time. Pacific; it will then be available exclusively for Amazon Prime subscribers.
Shot in Cuba and inspired by the Brazilian crime epic "City of God" and Prince's "Purple Rain", "Guava Island" does not contain much new Childish Gambino music – nor any of Rihanna's songs. The film opens with an unpublished number of Glover ("If the world ends / I think I want to die with you") and contains elements of another song with the lyrics, "Maybe that the sky will fall tomorrow / some baby / we are running out of time. "
It also incorporates alternative versions of Childish Gambino's recent singles like "Summertime Magic" and "Feels Like Summer", as well as "Saturday," which Glover debuted on "Saturday Night Live" last year (" My God, these 9 to 5 just keep going, kill me, he sings). In a scene taking place in a factory, another character tells Deni that he hopes to save enough money to travel to America. "It's different there," the man said. "I've heard that people are their own leaders."
Deni responds: "It's America. Guava is no different from any other country, "added," America is a concept. Wherever, to become rich, someone else must be richer, that is America. He then directs a choreographed dance on the song that reflects part of the video clip.
Friday night, in Coachella, Glover – who started his own festival, Pharos – did not pretend to plug in the "island of guava", although he has incorporated tropical images and sounds to his ensemble. For an unpublished song, he cleared a section of the crowd to shout about a cacophonous explosion of complex drum beats, bathed in almost apocalyptic red lights. He has also performed the unpublished title "Human Sacrifice," which debuted in a Google ad at the Grammy Awards in February.
Glover was overcome by the emotion on stage while discussing the death of his father and rappers Mac Miller and Nipsey Hussle. "What I'm starting to understand is that all we really have are memories at the end of the day," he told the crowd. "All we really are, is like data – you pass it on to your children, you pass it on to your friends, to your family."
"While we are here," added Glover, "feel something and pass it on."