Childish Gambino's "This Is America" Is Both A Great Song And A Wake Up Call

Shortly after Donald Glover took the stage on SNL May 5, he released "This Is America" under his alias Childish Gambino.

The song was an instant hit, with over 10 million views on YouTube just within 24 hours. And many took to Twitter to celebrate it.

 

I can't remember the last time I watched a music video all the way to the end, let alone one five times in a row. Incredible work! #ThisIsAmerica

 

— Trent Reznor (@trent_reznor) May 6, 2018

 

This is America. The must watch four minutes of the year and maybe the decade. Thank you @donaldglover

— Jamie Lee Curtis (@jamieleecurtis) May 7, 2018

 

listening to “This Is America” on repeat but thinking about the meaning behind the lyrics pic.twitter.com/iWmZyNydIs

— Tom Holland Defense Squad (@realityunf0lds) May 8, 2018

 

Today my kids analyzed @donaldglover's This Is America video. When I asked why he was dancing in the midst of all the chaos, one student simple said "that's us... we know all the dances but we ignore what's happening in front of our eyes"

— sara. (@sarroor) May 8, 2018

 

Childish Gambino’s “This is America” video is really just pure genius.. And the sad reality of the U.S. 😢

— halle (@hallenhayes) May 7, 2018

 

The four-minute music video simply proves Glover's genius-ness. This is his first new song since 2016, but it was definitely worth the wait. He took multiple issues in today's world and put them in a song to illustrate it.

The video, which was directed by Hiro Murai, starts off with Gambino shooting a man (which Twitter has been blowing up saying it looks like Tracy Martin, Trayvon Martin's father. But it is in reality Calvin The Second). Gambino places the gun in a red cloth while the body is left there, later to be dragged away. This obviously shows the difference between how a human life and a gun are seemingly valued in this country. Gambino shoots down a church choir later on in the video too, possibly invoking memory of the 2015 Charleston church shooting which killed nine people or the 2017 Texas church shooting that killed 27.

Gambino also is seen dancing throughout the song as his surroundings turn to chaos. There are fires, a hooded figure on a white horse, riots, and a bunch of cars. There are distractions in our world, both in real life and in social media, that we have started to ignore. It almost seems like we, as a nation, are becoming numb to all of these shootings.

There are also multiple kids in the video. The kids he is dancing with are in school uniforms, which could be a symbol for the recent school shootings. Kids later on are shown with their faces covered, and it seems like they are just recording everything that happens, another message of our numbness to the seriousness of this situation.

The lyrics even have a deeper meaning behind them. Gambino raps "This is America/Don't catch you slippin' up" as well as "You just a Black man in this world/You just a barcode." Gambino is talking bigger issues here of race and minority.

The final moments of the video also are meaningful within itself. Gambino is running, terrified and sweaty, down a long hallway. He's running away from trouble. He's running away from pain. He's running away from history.

While Gambino's song is catchy, it must also be carefully analyzed. You'll absolutely need to (and want to) watch it on repeat. This is a song that will start a movement. It is meant to make us all talk. Share what you think below in the comment section!