By: Flynn Lloyd | News Editor
On May 5th Donald Glover, otherwise known as Childish Gambino, released the music video for his new song “This Is America”, that heavily touches on race and the societal issues 21st century America faces.
In the rap community, Childish Gambino is a well-respected artist known to produce strange and unique tracks. His new music video ultimately takes the cake as its dark message has a large impact on its audience. Starting off with lively facial expressions, Gambino references the way black people were portrayed in old cartoons. These old comics and stories were meant to portray blacks as comedic and serve the purpose of entertaining white America, which can be seen today with the issue of cultural appropriation. After the opening scene, Gambino follows with shooting down significant symbols of black culture in America, including a choir. Not only is this representative of the Charleston Shooting, but also the controversial issue of gun control. In a few of Gambino’s clips the gun is shown to be cared for more than the victims. In his impactful music video, Gambino emphasizes the ways in which white America has taken from black culture, including taking their lives. With so many different symbols within one video, Gambino addresses many issues that are sad realities in American culture. Ty Paisley, a junior at SCHS, described Gambino’s new video, “The entire video is a masterful piece of satire on modern culture pertaining to Black violence, and it’s genius…despite the constant usage of these actions as popular song lyrics, it is very real.”
Gambino plays with the music moving back and forth between light summery beats and dark verses that influence the audiences reaction. He navigates through incorporating major mass shootings and the harsh truth that in America people value black culture and talent, but not black lives. He incorporates a group of happy go- lucky, dancing, school children to show that black students have become adapted to violence and that overall America moves on too fast after tragedies. Many communities have become numb to the violence that is embedded into everyday life. Childish Gambino’s new song provokes controversy and backlash as many people praise his outward animosity. Others argue the ultimate message, but those who argue it are mostly Americans who are unwilling to accept a painful truth. “This is America” has reached number 1 trending on Youtube in most modernized nations, except America which sadly is ironic.
Donald Glover’s piece incorporates many ideas and values that only black Americans can relate to and really understand, but as a white american I feel his message still opens discussion. Even if you aren’t a black American, Glover’s message is important and current today. Senior Josh Greene commented, “These are conversations we need to be having. But we aren’t having them.” While Donald Glover’s song includes entertaining dancing and a catchy beat, this is only the surface of what the song really resembles. Glover reopens conversation on American values with his thought provoking video, and if you haven’t seen it already, please go now.