On Saturday Night Live, Childish Gambino—pseudonym for actor and musical artist Donald Glover—released “This Is America,” a much-needed social critique of pop culture, gun violence, and today’s experience of being a Black American.
The searing video, directed by Japanese filmmaker Hiro Murai, begins with a joyful, gospel-like tone, suddenly turning dark when Childish Gambino shoots a man in the, saying, “This is America.” The mesmerizing single-take video shows Gambino dancing and singing enthusiastically while violence of all kinds take place all around him.
The “This Is America” video alludes to police violence, racial stereotypes and social media obsession as components of today’s American experience. According to CNN, even the dancing plays a role. Gambino’s dancing in Jim Crow style throughout the video adds as a distraction to the violence occurring in the background. It criticizes how people today are so caught up in viral dance moves, while America’s current issues of violence are ignored.
Childish Gambino’s last album was 2016’s Awaken, My Love!, where he was nominated for three Grammys, and took one home for his single, “Redbone.” Glover has stated that his next musical project as Childish Gambino, his forthcoming album, will be his final.