Oh, hey, look: A new commercial for the Grammys is on. Let’s watch it together.
Wait. Something’s not right. Rewind the clip. Who’s that guy in the part where it name-drops Childish Gambino? Computer, ENHANCE.
That’s definitely not rapper/singer Childish Gambino — also known as Donald Glover, the actor from Atlanta and the upcoming Star Wars Han Solo prequel. It’s actually Lester Nare, a 27-year-old from Los Angeles.
In May 2017, Nare, along with his friend Nabeer Khan, noticed that Gambino hadn’t made music videos for his album Awaken, My Love!, which is nominated for several Grammys at Sunday’s ceremony.
So, as a fun project, their creative group, Outfitted, made its own music video for Gambino’s song “Redbone” and uploaded it to YouTube, where it got over a million views before it was taken down over a copyright claim. (The video is still available on Vimeo.) It appears that whoever edited this Grammys commercial thought it was the real deal, mistaking Nare for Gambino.
“We got the copy of [the commercial] and it was just like — holy shit,” Nare told Mic over the phone.
Nare, who sent the footage to Mic, said he got video of the commercial from Jeremy Abdo, who also worked with Outfitted on the “Redbone” video. Abdo said he got the clip from his brother, Chris, who said he saw the commercial while he was watching an episode of The Late Show With Stephen Colbert.
Outfitted’s video interpretation of Gambino’s “Redbone” was inspired by Get Out, the Oscar-nominated horror/comedy film that comments on racism in American culture. “Redbone” also plays in Get Out, so Outfitted’s intention to carry that commentary into the tribute video makes this commercial’s mix-up even more of an eyebrow-raiser, Nare said.
“It’s comic that this type of mistake happened, likely because of a lack of diversity in [CBS],” Nare said. “This is the Grammys. This is likely a nationwide campaign. I mean, Donald Glover is pretty big at this point if he’s performing at the Grammys. He’s a household name, so I’m assuming that someone would’ve seen that [mistake]. I guess not. That’s fine. I just think it’s interesting. I don’t really know what to do with it.”
CBS has not responded to multiple requests for comment. Mic has also reached out to the Grammys for comment and to verify the footage. We will update with any response.