Donald Glover aka Childish Gambino dropped ‘America’ a few days ago and the video already has over 40M views. The song’s visuals take the viewer on a macabre journey through the violent way of life that’s been normalised in America.
Before we get into what the video really represents, picture this: A grinning, shirtless Donald dances in a giant warehouse accompanied by school children in uniform and chaotic scenes of violence unfold behind them—people get assaulted, cars get stolen and Donald shoots an entire choir as kids dance in the foreground. Having a hard time picturing this? Watch the video before we get get down to the nitty-gritty.:
There are a lot of theories about the video and what it truly represents. Glover keeps dancing as he talks about the relationship between materialism, gun violence, police brutality, racism, neo-nationalism, white privilege and being black in America. The surreal imagery of him shooting people and then going back to smiling and dancing is a commentary on how the country has almost become desensitised and is easily distracted from things that matter.
Throughout the song, guns are handled with utmost care and are wrapped in velvet while black people are shot left, right and centre and their bodies disposed off without much ado. The dance steps are a commentary on how America loves black culture, but not black people.
Donald is trying to bring our attention to black violence and black entertainment and the way they’re used to cancel each other out in society. While we’re celebrating artists like Kendrick Lamar and Rihanna, the crimes against black people have only rose in the last decade.
In case you’re curious, here are some people and their interpretations of the symbolism in the video-
Twitter has a lot to say about the video too:
I love the idea of Donald Glover just at home taking a nap, while the whole world discusses "this is america"
— every life has an ending (@ELHAE) May 9, 2018
— Christopher Emdin (@chrisemdin) May 9, 2018
The bit at the end of this is america where he's running away, is that not cus he's been ignoring everything in the background of the video and its finally catching up with him?
— Chilly P (@IHaveABirthmark) May 9, 2018
So everyone says the dancing in ‘This is America’ is just a distraction and people need to focus on everything around them. But the dancing kids were actually intended to represent the innocence of children, bringing joy and light to the world of darkness that surrounds them. Wow
— Marcus Perez (@Markaaaay) May 9, 2018
Just noticed sza in the “This is America” video at the end sitting on the car. I see something new every time I watch this video, it’s crazy.
— theRunaway (@themind) May 9, 2018
I want to hearGambino explain his visuals on This Is America. I can’t rely on these lil thinkpiece threads on twitter. Y’all be pulling interpretations out y’all ass.
— FUPA VANDROSS (@FinesseGawddess) May 9, 2018