"This Is America"

Donald Glover, also known as Childish Gambino, released the music video to his song “This Is America” this week and instantly it blew up. The lyrics combined with the video created a surreal story with many important messages which contain the ugly truth about America. Many fans have been quick to respond with the details in the video, all while calling Gambino an important voice. These are the most recognized messages and their meanings according to most fans.

 

The entire video takes place in a large warehouse and it is full of action. Many claim the empty warehouse is a representation of America and how it is built on the foundations of white supremacy and oppression. At first, the viewer is distracted by a shirtless Gambino dancing and singing in the center of the video at all times, but with a second watch and a closer look at the finer details, especially the ones in the background, a very deep message becomes even more meaningful with a close examination of America.

 

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The dancing Gambino performs during the majority of the video seems unique as it draws the viewer's attention away from what is happening in the background. Many fans claim the distractive dancing is to represent the distraction society has on the chaos in the world, which really needs to be paid attention to. Some of the dancing correlates to popular American dances through the recent years, however there is also a lot of African dance featured including the Shoki and Gwara Gwara. Many have also commented saying this represents society’s appropriation of black community dancing, yet they ignore the black people when it comes to anything important.

 

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There are also Jim Crow references in the video. Gambino at the beginning poses in an identical fashion as a JIm Crow poster. The wild dancing and bug eyes have also been attributed to recreating that character. Gambino is also wearing what many have connected to representing the original Confederate soldier uniforms.

 

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There is also a large focus on America’s habit on prioritizing guns over human lives and treating them as an idol. In the video the guns are clearly treated much better than people. Guns are also always held in red cloths and carried away gently white bodies are dragged away or left in piles.

 

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One heart-breaking scene at the beginning acts as a recreating of the Charleston Massacre. It starts with a black choir singing praise, when suddenly they are gunned down with an assault type rifle.

 

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There is a mention of how America ignores the mentally ill, especially with the black community, as well. In one scene, almost missable, a man jumps to his death, committing suicide. This demonstrates how we ignore the large amount of mentally ill people and dismiss suicide as not a big deal.

 

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Another important reference is when a group of black teenagers are seen recording violence and murders below as they record it on their phones. They are also covered on their mouths with white masks. Many have interpreted this to show the countless murders and violent acts upon black people that have been recorded, yet no justice has been served due to the white supremacist system that overwhelms America.

 

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There is a white horse rode by a man covered in black followed by a cop car. Many have pointed out the scripture in Revelations which reads “And I looked, and behold a pale horse: and his name that sat on him was Death, and Hell followed with him.”

 

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Towards the end Gambino is stood on the roof of an old car, surrounded by many others with their doors open and hazards on. (SZA is also on one). Some claim it represents the countless traffic stop killings and others claim it could represent the socio-economic situation of black people.

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SZA represents The Statue of Liberty in the video with her hair styled like the crown.

 

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The video ends with Gambino sprinting down a black hallway looking terrified. Many have made the connection to The Sunken Place in the movie Get Out. This represents how no matter how much the black community screams for help, they are silenced.

 

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Featured throughout the song are also a lot of features of famous artists including Kendrick Lamar, Young Thug, 21 Savage, Quavo, Aminé and more.

 

Overall, the video and song are beautiful and raw and depict the truth in what needs to be seen and heard in America. More hidden meanings are bound to become noticed as more people view the video over and over. No doubt that this will only get bigger and as more people view it, we hope more people actually see it.