By now, unless you have been living under a rock, you have seen Childish Gambino’s jarring masterpiece of a video for his newest single, “This Is America.” The multidimensional artistry this man has put on display between his Emmy winning show ‘Atlanta’, his upcoming roles in the newest “Star Wars” and “Lion King” movies, and the fact that he dropped this song on social media in the middle of simultaneously hosting and acting as the musical guest on “Saturday Night Live” is a massive accomplishment in itself. But this dystopain, distorted view through the microscope of how Donald Glover's mind views our country may be the most important thing he has done to this point in his decorated career.
There is a reason that people from every walk of life reacted with such passion and charisma when they were first exposed to the video. From athletes, to musicians of every genre, to lifelong and newly acquired fans alike, everyone expressed one common thought on the piece; it made them FEEL something. And the way I see it, that is one of the highest forms of flattery a piece of art can receive.
The reasons this video in particular is so polarizing, and part of its genius, is that it is made for EVERYONE. If you fully understand the issues, and the accompanying historical context, that Donald is addressing, including this country’s self-destructive obsession with guns and our systematic destruction of black communities? This is for you. If you deny that these issues exist (even though they do) and are angry that they are being brought up despite the fact that real life human beings’ lives are destroyed every day because of their existence? This is for you. If you watched the whole video all the way through the first time and only noticed his flashy dancing, purposefully materialistic lyrics, and the fact that he wasn’t wearing a shirt? This is ESPECIALLY for you.
Gambino seamlessly weaves together a multidimensional narrative complete with commentary on gun violence, police brutality, the harsh realities of living as a person of color in America and so much more that will take hundreds of views to completely unpack. He does this all while presenting this video to us in a way that ensures that all, or at least some, of these aspects will go unnoticed by making his jovial dancing the focus of the frame throughout most of the piece. And herein lies his point. The distraction from the real issues that effect real people with the use of multiple fad dances and discussions of materialistic matters is a direct metaphor for this country and the way our society behaves. This is, sadly, America.
Peep the video below and let us know what you took away from Gambino's latest offering in the comments!