Childish Gambino – This Is America. Exploring America’s problems with his controversial video
Why People Beleive This Video to be Controversial
There is heavy violence during this video, at one point Childish Gambino (Donald Glover) gunning down a whole choir. Along with the violence portrayed in the video, it’s also controversial due to the message it is stating. That America doesn’t realise that their county is falling apart because of the distractions around them.
Why his Video is So Clever
Synopsis of the Music Video
Childish Gambino is seen dancing through a warehouse where he is occasionally joined by dancing school children. He kills a South African man along with a choir in the process. While he is dancing with them there are various events going on in the background, from people rioting to police brutality. The video ends as you see Donald Glover running away down a dark alleyway.
What does the beginning mean?
At the beginning of the song, you may dance along with the Childish Gambino seeing it as a new dance craze and as the song is very catchy. The way he moves is like a jim crow caricature which you would only realise on another viewing.
The introduction to violence
However, the dancing along then ceases completely, as you see him kill a man sitting down with a bag of his head on a chair. As you shocked Childish Gambino does not react and keeps on dancing. He also lays the gun as a cushion not giving any thought to his victim. The video causing joy and horror for the person watching.
Why Childish Gambino guns down a choir?
He later shoots an entire choir, only to keep on moving, supposedly in reference to the 2015 murder of nine churchgoers by Dylann Roof in Charleston, South Carolina. Thus, the dance moves are just distraction to what’s really going on in the world. The gun he uses, sort of AK-47 kind of weapon, could be a signal to the rise of terror threats and the norm they have become.
Why he is dancing with children?
He dances with children after the devastating killings again like nothing is the matter. The children look happy and do not seem to care, this can be interpreted as children being desensitised to the events around them as they have experienced them so much. This is why they just dance. The children also may represent 40’s and 50s Harlem dancers which people would deem appropriate image for blacks at the time.
Why is he running?
Many have related this to the film Get Out, comparing this to the sunken place, a mental prison for black people.
What is happening in the background?
At one a point, a white horse is ridden across the screen with a man covered from head to toe in all black. This seems to be a reference to the Bible and the white horse symbolising that death is coming. ‘A pale horse and the man that sat on him was death, and hell followed with him’. This alluding to the increasing media of police brutality.
At the end of the music video, he dances like Michael Jackson does on top of a car. The cars are inexpensive and all have there hazard lights indicating a warning. The fact all the doors open may even symbolize all the people have been pulled over by police for no real reason. Others have claimed the cars age point to the stalled socioeconomic and political mobility” of black Americans. There was also similar cars in the 1922 Los Angeles riot.
People on their phones
You briefly see people on their phones, this due to the number of times you see video’s of police brutality on youtube, facebook etc.
The video is controversial but for a good reason, asking if you would survive in America being black. Childish Gambino is a genius. His video asking us not to simply forget about #blacklifesmatter, the killing of black people by white people, police brutality and riots. He is providing a commentary on what is going on in the world, and what is going on in the world behind us that we are missing.
Let me know what you think of the video below.