With Community returning for its fifth (and presumably final) season with creator Dan Harmon back at the helm, fans have been furiously excited about back the show they knew and loved. However, they will have to do so without Donald Glover, who will not be joining the cast for the upcoming season. Although Glover has been silent on his decision not to return, rumors swelled that he chose to pursue rapping full time. When he’s not acting, Glover’s passion project is Childish Gambino, the stage name under which he released 2011’s Camp.
However, Donald Glover’s not one to go quietly. In 2012, the comedian wrote a page-long open letter to fans on Twitter as a meditation on fame and his rap career, with many wondering if he was having a breakdown. This week, Glover did something similar on his Instagram account, explaining his reasons for leaving Community. Written on stationery from Marriott’s Residence Inn, Mr. Glover apologizes to the fans and cast who might be disappointed in his decision. “I feel like I’m letting everyone down,” Glover says. “I’m afraid Dan Harmon hates me.”
In the notes, Glover clarifies his reasons for bowing out of the show, which have nothing to do with pursuing another career. Donald Glover explains that he’s been “sick” and “lonely,” as he watched “a bunch of people die this year.” He says, “This is the first time I’ve felt helpless.” The rest of the notes read like an existential crisis uploaded through social media, as Glover waxes about what it all means: “I’m afraid I’m here for nothing.” Faced with this self-doubt, Mr. Glover argues that doing his own thing might be the best solution. “I wanted to be on my own.”
Despite the grim overtones, the most poignant part of Glover’s statements is his final note, going out on a final note of hope. “I got really lost last year,” Glover writes, “but I can’t be lonely, though, cause we’re all stuck here. We’re all stuck here. I wanted to make something that says no matter how bad you fuck up…you’re always allowed to be better. You’re always allowed to grow up, if you want.”
You can read the unabridged notes below.