Donald Glover, in addition to delivering a hilarious round of sketches on Saturday Night Live, whipped out his Childish Gambino hat and performed on the storied show.
But while all eyes were on the Studio 8H stage, Gambino simultaneously dropped a new single and music video called “This Is America.” Since its release, the video has racked up over 2 million views as of publishing this, and it’s easy to understand why.
Gambino packs in a whole lot into in “This Is America.” It’s a major departure from the funk he’s given us previously but it works wonderfully in the context of conversations this track sparks. In addition to the musical references (there are adlibs from Billboard-charting artists like 21 Savage, Young Thug, Big Sean, Blocboy JB, and more), the visuals are a nuanced examination of life in America — particularly as a black person in this country.
It’s full of heartbreaking, but realistic, juxtapositions: the way life is carelessly taken vs. the care placed into putting the guns away; the group of young folks hitting popular dance moves vs. the police violence in the background; the reference to the 2015 Charleston mass shooting. All that, and we haven’t even broken down the lyrics Gambino is uttering throughout the track. “Don’t catch you slipping,” he raps, which takes on an even more sinister meaning if you are black in America.
The video, directed by Glover’s constant collaborator Hiro Murai, sparked a range of reactions —including a lot of emotional tweets from folks breaking down what “This Is America” means to them.
petition for Donald Glover’s “This is America” as the new American national anthem rt if you want this
— lil el (@b3arface) May 6, 2018
Glover’s “Childish Gambino This is America” just said so much about what’s wrong with America without saying barely a word.
Donald Glover is brilliant, even if some people are too thick to understand him.
— Brian Krassenstein (@krassenstein) May 6, 2018
Mass shootings, protests, riots, violence against protesters, white supremacists, and overall being more enamored with trivial things like dance fads / talking about drugs & money rather than making an effort to speak out about the realities of our world
— Taylor Berry (@tayruhberreh) May 6, 2018
Summed up: The American fabric is selling distractions and superficial livelihoods, while in reality avoiding gross systematic issues that we ignore because it’s easier to live a lie than to confront the truth. #ThisIsAmerica Childish Gambino Donald Glover #PoliticsNation pic.twitter.com/rPuu5Ycsc4
— Tony (@ImKnotTheOne) May 6, 2018
This is the first new music from Gambino since he released the widely celebrated album, Awaken, My Love! in 2016 — and according to him, it will be the last. Gambino kicks off a nation-wide “This Is America” Tour this fall, in what’s sure to be quite the experience.
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Copyright or Author: Martha Tesema
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