Childish Gambino (whose real name is Donald Glover) dropped his new music video for “This Is America” and it’s fire. We’re no strangers to this sagaboi and not surprised by the response to his latest musical debut. Amidst hosting/musical guest duties on Saturday Night Live, Glover premiered “This Is America” and released the music video on Twitter. Since its drop, the internet has been abuzz. Gambino also performed another newly minted track, “Saturday” on SNL (oh and it’s hot too). Both songs represent his newest material since the 2016 release of Awaken, My Love!, which inspired our feature “The Blessing of Rebellion“.
He smashed it on SNL and certainly did so for the music video. Directed by Hiro Murai, the video for “This Is America” is a powerful political visual exploring realities in world nuanced with POVs that span the African American experience, domestic terrorism, gun culture, police brutality, popular culture and human relations, to name a few. The layers and symbolism in the video are profuse. Here are a few noteworthy decipherings we identified:
- Limited Mindfulness: In the video, Gambino and his dancers are dancing in the foreground while chaos ensues in the back. This is reflective of a society and culture that moves through life inattentive to the injustices and atrocities happening around them.
- Distractions of Social Media/Popular Culture: Gambino’s portrayal of viral dance moves distracted from the madness happening around him referencing the world’s distractions by popular culture, social media and visual gratification.
- The Impact Of Leaders on Children: Paying attention to the young dancers and how they followed every move of their leader, one can easily reference how those coming behind are following society’s “lead dancers”.
- How Quickly We Forget: So many uncomfortable moments of violence is portrayed yet the viewer forgets each instance leaning forward to the next bombardment of information.
- Meaningless Infatuations: Much can be analyzed about the lyrics but the messaging around the world’s focus on the meaningless is major.
- Jim Crow (blackface) Minstrel: Gambino’s stance, exaggerated facial expressions, the yellow shoes, and other minstrel-esque moves touch on posters and illustrations from Jim Crow south, drawing similarities to those times and the present.
- Biblical References to the Apocalypse: In the video, one can see a dark figure atop a white horse, this can be linked to biblical messaging about the end of times, death riding a pale white horse, in Revelation 6:8.
Featuring background vocals from Young Thug, 21 Savage, Quavo, Rae Sremmurd’s Slim Jxmmi, and BlocBoy JB it is a timely artistic statement touching narratives in need of the spotlight. #ThisIsAmerica is a mesmerizing work of art that represents the times we are living in. Bravo Gambino! Check it out.