This is America
Childish Gambino is the mastermind behind one of the most controversy song This is America. This song was released last year and become one of the most discussed music videos of all of 2018. This song debut at number one on the Billboard charts soon after being released. This made a personal achievement for Gambino because he has never had a song reach to that classification of latitude. Childish Gambinos This is America combines lyricism and visual elements to interrogate what was being displayed in this country.
With all the police brutality, gun violence, and the social construction built around a single race, this song gave such a deep and powerful message with thought-provoking reactions towards his audience.
Childish Gambino put the greatest amount of effort towards the making of this song and video. In perspective, Gambino is taking the face of America and its citizens and showing the standpoint of how people are desensitized from countless matters that should be truly concerning.
This video has a numerous number of racial undertones and Easter eggs that require the audience to watch it more than once to understand what is going. A first-time viewer might just focus on Gambino dancing, and the rhythm of the song, but not realize the message behind the context of what he is wearing, or even small gestures that can be missed in a blink of an eye. The significant symbolism throughout the video gives the audience that captivating perception which keeps their interest in the music video. This is America touched on how Americans show carefulness and concern towards guns versus the life of another American citizen after being killed for an unknown reason then dragged off and dumped. As any viewer can hopefully tell, gun violence was a major element in the making of this video. Horrific situations from past years have been displayed in sequence to express a perspective that the audience may have not experienced. From the death of Trayvon Martin to the Dylan Roof Charleston church shooting where he killed nine black individuals because of his White Supremacist motive.
Throughout the whole video Gambino puts out a great number of subliminal messages. In the start of the video, Gambino is seen dancing with the rhythm of the song. As a first-time viewer, many would focus on the lyrics and movements but not know the true significance behind it. The outfit that Gambino was wearing is an old Confederate uniform with two gold chains wrapped around his neck. This could have double implications of either representation of slavery with being bondage with chains or present day where people are very materialistic. Gambino goes on to continue dancing while making mysterious facial expressions. He, at this point, is characterizing Jim Crow which was a spoof during the nineteenth century of white actors that played the stereotypes of black individuals while having their faces painted black. The video carries on with a wider variety of dancing which plays as a distraction to the audience. As viewers watch each popular mainstream dance, in the background there is violence and chaos going on. People can notice and see riots and police officers chasing others all around which causes anarchy and craziness. This moment in the video shows how the media tries to block Americans from seeing what really is happening in the country. And how Americans are so quick to go for distractions and showing the blindness that they possess.
The lyricism that Gambino portrays is extraordinary because is not only he is portraying every scene to perfection but explaining the aspect of being black in America. In the lyrics This a Celly (Ha) Thats a tool (Yeah), it can be perceived in a couple different ways (Gambino, Childish). One origination could be returning to the Stephon Clark circumstance where cops slaughtered this individual since they were exploring a burglary. The officials saw Clark with a phone in his grasp and they accepted it was a weapon and they executed him. This line referencing how cops rush to accept that whatever’s in somebody’s grasp is a firearm. That they don’t appear to pursue any sort of protocol. Another origination could be that the cell phones themselves are a tool. Presently there is something that we utilize that nobody in history has ever had the option to do previously. Now the power of a cell phone to have the option to record whatever occurs, individuals can catch the snapshots of police mercilessness, or any dishonest circumstance that happen that would have never been caught. Thus, when a cop slaughters somebody for no evident explanation, it will be recorded and archived.
Gambino also approaches another situation in his lyrics where he talks about other artists and the attention they receive. The lyrics start out as Hunnid bands, hunnid bands, hunnid bands (hunnid bands) Contraband, contraband, contraband (contraband) I got the plug on Oaxaca (woah) They gonna find you like blocka (blaow) (Gambino, Childish). Gambino is deriding different artists and how they will in general flex their riches and put out influence upon people around them. When he expresses these verses, he has kids hovering around him as though he were a blessed prophet or something to that affect. Gambino proposes that the country is excessively centered around different things, for example, popular culture and that it is neglecting to direct serious issues.
As the video progressed, the audience can gradually realize how intense this music video really is. Most of the realization comes from the scene where a church choir is singing to the music while Childish Gambino enters in the shot. He sings along with the choir, shows interaction and playfulness, then after a moment pulls out an automatic weapon and massacres the people in the choir. This characterizes Dylan Roof and the Charleston church shooting back in 2015. Gambino then, after killing off the choir, hands the gun off and walks away unscathed, as if nothing happened at all. Throughout this scene by itself, Gambino is showing how crazy gun violence is in America and the fact that people just disregard it, going from mass shootings to mass shootings, and being desensitized of the matter.