Got no patience, cause I’m not a doctor.
After watching the Sweatpants video on a recommended page off of YouTube, I fell in love with Childish Gambino. After being introduced to his lyrical genius, I got hooked on Because of the Internet and Camp. It’s gotten to the point that I am now known as the girl at parties, who no matter where or what she is doing, will go OFF when she hears the words “Ok it’s Childish Gambino” mixed with the heavy base that sounds like a police siren*.
*if you are not aware I am talking about the song Bonfire. Please listen to it and educate yourself
I am always floored by his talent whether it is on screen as Troy from Community, behind the scenes as the director of Atlanta, or swaying on-stage to Redbone. Yet, believe it or not, there is more to him than a lyrical-actor-director genius; Donald Glover is woke. According to Urban Dictionary, “woke” is:
“like being in the Matrix and taking the red pill. You get a sudden understanding of what’s really going on and find out you were wrong about much of what you understood to be a truth”.
This is spot on for Childish Gambino’s latest song This is America. The song that is the new anthem of gun laws, black lives matter, and the horrible state that the United States of America is in.
Last year, Glover announced that he would be retiring the Childish Gambino act, and taking his last tour. This is America came as a surprise to his fans worldwide for contradicting this, yet most importantly for the music video (which is more of a statement piece) that accompanied the song. There are many hidden meanings in the video that, if you have seen it, you may miss. As someone who has studied this video out of amazement, I am here to help you understand all that is going on in This is America. You will be shocked by how much has gone into this four-minute video.
#1: Donald’s Apparel
In This is America, Childish Gambino plays the role of America. Many people have been quick to note that Glover’s pants and shoes that he sports in the music video are very similar to an old confederate uniform. This is poking at the fact that America is slowly going back into it’s old ways. He is also wearing two gold chains to represent bondage and America’s obsession with consumerism.
#2: The Dancing
Many are distracted throughout the video by the group of school kids, and Gambino, performing viral dances such as the Roy Purdy and the shoop. This could be either commenting on how we focus on the viral sensations and move on too quickly from the real problems at hand. It could also me commenting on how many use dancing as a method of protection, since they are never touched by the evil in the music video, such as fires, guns, and bodies being dragged.
In the beginning of the video, Gambino makes some awkward movemetns and facial expressions before shooting a man with a bag over his head. The movements are modelled after Jim Crow; a characature commonly used in Minstrel Shows. Minstrel Shows where white actors would dress up in black face and act out black stereotypes.
#3: Gun Violence
Right from the first thirty seconds of the video, there are symbols of gun violence. The first shot, where he shoots a man hooded, is a nod to modern day gun violence. The second, where Gambino after dancing, shoots a church choir is without a doubt referencing the brutality of the Charleston shooting which was racially motivated. It is important to notice the care that the guns have after each shooting. They are wrapped with care in a red cloth while the bodies are left to rot, representing the fact that we value guns over lives.
#4: The Ending
Many are confused by the ending of This is America. The camera flips from the same bright white warehouse, to the same one in darkness with Glover running like HELL from a crowd of white men behind him. Some have interpreted this by his wake up call by how horrid society treats eachother by him running away from the influence of America.