Childish Gambino and the Church of Short Shorts

Alright its Rockhard baby, Mr. Talk-About-Politics-Again, nerdy-ass white kid, whatever man, I’m sick of him. That well-spoken not-really-a-token, who ain’t been heard, the only white writer who’s allowed to say the N-word. Just kidding. Don’t say the N-word if you’re white. Please.

Okay, you already know what it is: what do Childish Gambino and the start of summer have in common? That’s right, short shorts baby, and they’re makin’ a comeback.

Donald Glover (a.k.a. Childish Gambino -- which if you didn’t already know that, that intro must’ve really confused you) has a bit of a thing with short shorts. Four of his songs have lyrics about them, I counted, and a quick google image search really shows off the man’s thighs. And to be completely honest, them shits are growing on me.

No other piece of male apparel radiates the same raw sexual energy (except maybe vests or cardigans) as a pair of nice short shorts. Like Gambino, they demonstrate a mastery of one’s own self-expression and creative destiny. They are emblematic of summer heat, good vibes, good thighs, and that game I used to play with my grandparents where I would try and get them to question my sexuality using only my wardrobe. I don’t think I ever really needed the wardrobe for that, but it’s not important.

What is important is short shorts, and I’m talking about them because I’ve begun to see them everywhere. And the more I do, the more respect I gain for the visionary that is Donald Glover. In “Call Me By Your Name,” Tim Chalamets short shorts could’ve won an Oscar. In 2019, short shorts made appearances all over the Spring/Summer runways, and you better believe I was scoping them out on the Urban Outfitters shelves before becoming confined to this unfashionable existence. But Gambino’s been rapping about them since 2011.



It’s obvious to anyone who has or knows a dad, that menswear is incredibly restrictive and boring. Toxic and fragile masculinity has made it so that in the past, even questioning the status quo was equivalent to questioning your sexuality.

There has since arisen however, one demographic whose sexuality is rarely in question: rappers. For whatever reason, rhyming about disrespecting women solidifies your heterosexuality and thereby allows you to wear whatever you want. Maybe if I taped a poem about getting head from some girl I just met to the fridge, my grandparents would have respected the rainbow suspender drip a bit more.

Anyway, it’s true. Rap and fashion go way back, and many artists have been very public about pushing the gendered barriers that exist within the latter industry. Even without mentioning openly gay rappers like Lil Nas X and Tyler, the Creator’s fashionable sensibilities, there are plenty of examples of MCs who are unafraid to express their femininity.

Camron made pink gangsta, Andre 3000 wore a dress for Outkast’s “Miss Jackson'' cover, there’s Cee Lo Green’s wedding dress and 2017 Grammys looks, Kanye’s kilt, Young Thug’s “Jefferey” album cover, Lil B’s entire existence, Bad Bunny’s drag look, Lil Uzi’s love of fabrics, A$AP Rocky’s ‘babushka’ scarves, Kid Cudi's crop top, and of course it all comes back around to Gambino and his short shorts.

Don’t get me wrong, this article is absolutely mostly about telling men to wear short shorts, but it doesn’t have to stop there. Rap resonates with people because of its rebelliousness. The feeling of freedom you get from blasting Meek Mill out the car windows is the same feeling you get from showing a little thigh, some curves, or maybe even a belly button. It’s the feeling of knowing that some (lame-ass) people don’t approve of you or what you’re wearing and not giving a flying fuck.

This feeling of exhilaration must be a constant for those who are lucky enough to have their creativity validated every day by fans and Instagram likes and Spotify diagnostics, but Gambino has translated that feeling and presented it to us, the laymen, in his constant praise for short shorts.

Short shorts present a bridge to another life, a taste of the ambrosia that is creative freedom and fulfillment. Fashion is equally about how you look and how you feel. So says Mr. Glover.

Therefore, though I may not have the clout or the sexual track record of the men spoken of here today, I put it to you, dear reader, that if you do not put on short shorts this summer, you are a member of a joyless, soulless race, and I am loathe to accept you as a man.

Actually, wear whatever you want, I’ll still love you. Unlike my grandparents.


Colman Brown

Instagram: @lankmun