Childish Gambino Cover Model Alleges She Was ‘Taken Advantage Of And Lied To’

29 December 2023 | 5:41 pm | Ellie Robinson

“It’s been an exhausting, emotional, and overall sad thing to deal with.”

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Giannina Antonette Oteto – the woman on the cover of Childish Gambino’s 2016 album “Awaken, My Love!” – has accused the genre-bending artist and actor (real name Donald Glover) of mistreating her and the rest of the team involved in the photoshoot.

In a post made to the Facebook group Black Girl Luxury, Oteto shared a photo of herself holding a vinyl copy of “Awaken, My Love!”, saying the album “has been so hard for me to celebrate for many reasons, and for years I resented it even. It put me through a lot but finally being able to celebrate it means a lot!”

Following inquisitive questions from fellow group members, Oteto updated the post to explain that she felt the photoshoot for the cover was plagued by shady behaviour. “I resented it because myself, the makeup artist, and stylist (all black women) were [taken] advantage of and lied to,” she wrote, claiming they “received low pay but were promised residuals”, which never ended up making it to them.

“The only person who received residuals was a white woman who created the headpiece,” Oteto alleged, “even though she was not on set to work on this (but she also deserves it).”

Oteto’s ability to embrace the album now, she says, comes after “years of lies and silence, then finding out statue of limitation complications”. The situation has been “an exhausting, emotional, and overall sad thing to deal with”, which “took so much” from the model – “especially the fact that we all worked on it with so much love and [were] proud to represent black artists.”

In closing, Oteto alleged that her lawyers had attempted to make contact with Glover and his team, but had their efforts ignored.

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At the time of writing, Glover has not publicly addressed the accusations.

At the start of 2023, Glover confirmed he’d be relaunching the Childish Gambino project, having initially put it on ice after releasing his 3.15.20 album in 2020. Appearing at this year’s Golden Globes, he said in an interview: “I’m actually working, I’m in the studio. I’ve been bringing people in, like secret people, working on little things. But I've just been, you know, making it for fun right now. But soon, something will happen, I promise. Something will happen.”