Donald Glover has impressively built several successful careers that seem to be reaching new heights these days. As an actor you’ve seen Glover in a number of hit movies such as Spiderman:Homecoming and Solo:A Star Wars Story. The actor wears several hats with the hit show Atlanta, as he acts as creator and executive producer, as well as the star of the series. As if that wasn’t enough, Glover is a Grammy Award winning rapper under the alias Childish Gambino. While the multifaceted star just hosted and performed on Saturday Night Live this passed weekend, it is actually the music video he released after the show that has everyone buzzing.
The music video for “This Is America” provides shocking, yet powerful, visuals that shed light on many of the problems our country is facing. The amount of symbolism in the video is outstanding, and fans have been praising the amount of effort used to highlight such troubling issues in just one video. In the video the artist dances wildly throughout a warehouse, and many are noting the similarity of some of the moves to those of the Jim Crow caricature. Some of the other dances seen are from African descent, while others are those of social trends. Viewers are purposely distracted by the rapper’s dance moves, which serve as a smokescreen to hide the action that is taking place in the background. In doing so, the rapper exemplifies the societal habit of being distracted by something unimportant when there are bigger issues at hand. There are police riots, suicides, and one of the “pale horses” of the apocalypse, all appearing behind Gambino.
The most shocking visuals are the two murders that the Grammy winner demonstrates. The first, has the rapper shooting a man execution style, while the other has Gambino shooting an entire church choir with an assault rifle. After each murder, the guns are handed off delicately and swaddled in red cloth, depicting the value of guns over human life that is often seen in our country. The shooting of the all-black choir is a reference to the Charleston Massacre of 2015, in which 9 black church goers were killed by a white gunman. There is almost no time between the murders and the return to normalcy which is a commentary on how normalized gun violence has become in our society. There is so much compacted into this video, it is something to be watched several times over.
The video ends with a surprise appearance by SZA, leaving fans to speculate that she will collaborate with the artist on this album. After her appearance, we see Gambino running out of the warehouse fear stricken, with a mass of people behind him. Everyone in the crowd is running with their arms down and while it is unclear what the symbolism is there, I am sure we will see this piece continue in his future work.
Childish Gambino has shown great artistry with this video and provokes a conversation from it’s viewers. Fans and celebs alike have been praising Gambino on being honest and bold enough to bring these issues to light. Be forewarned that the video does contain violent imagery, but if you would like to watch click below.