Donald Glover is known for many things including being a successful comedian, actor, writer, and especially for his rap alter ego Childish Gambino. Over the weekend, Glover hosted Saturday Night Live and was also the musical performer. During the show, he premiered two new songs and released a music video for the song “This is America.”
This is America
“This is America” has already become a celebrated success and a controversial statement all at the same time. The music video for Childish Gambino’s new song plays more like a short film than other traditional music videos audiences may be used to seeing. The video is packed full of symbolism that requires more than just one watch.
The video features two scenes of bloody killing and lyrics about racial inequality. Gambino raps lyrics like, “Police be trippin’ now” throughout the song. Regular Atlanta director Hiro Murai directed the video. Glover created the hit show Atlanta which has gotten critical acclaim over its first few seasons. Both of Glover’s show and music video share some of the same themes.
“This is America” sounds like a classic Childish Gambino song and features some of the styles that have made him such a unique voice. The song features a happy melody that contrasts from the sharp lyrics.
The video starts off with the shocking scene of Gambino shooting a hooded African American man in the back of the head. Gambino does so while dancing and with a large smile across his face. The rapper then continues to dance through what seems like a warehouse.
The next shocking scene is when Gambino gets an automatic rifle and shoots an entire church choir that has been singing part of “This is America.” Glover carefully hands the gun to someone walking by with a fine red clothe.
The cheery music cranks back up, and Gambino starts dancing again before the video takes another dark turn. In the shadows, you can see Gambino terrified and running away from a crowd of mostly white men chasing after him. With “This is America” Glover has created one of the most thought-provoking music videos this year.