This really is…America


Jazmin Morales, Staff Writer

Childish Gambino’s “This is America” uploaded on May 5, 2018 has become an overnight cultural phenomenon with over 100 million views so far. This music video is filled with metaphors about race and gun violence in America. It is definitely the kind of music video you have to watch closely and not just listen to a few times. Throughout the piece, Gambino plays the complex role of America, from violence to the use of entertainment as a distraction.

Gambino dances with exaggerated movements in the beginning of the video, Twitter users pointed out that he is dancing and posing like a Jim Crow caricature. After Gambino shoots the individual in the back of his head who is no longer playing the guitar as he was in the intro, notice how the guns used in the music video are treated with care, with well-dressed men appearing to whisk the guns away on red cloth. Meanwhile the victim who got shot was not provided as much care as the gun and is dragged on the ground out of the scene.

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Entertainment media is a distraction from bigger issues at hand and Gambino shows it throughout his music video. The dancers and Gambino are dancing the whole time trying to distract the viewers while there is chaos that plague America in the background. This may be presenting how America ignores violence, and move on from it quickly. Or just how our society found a different way to cope with this trauma. Either way, it is important to notice what is happening behind the dancers.

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Although there are many hints through this piece that are very eye catching and important to see. Gambino will not give any extra context to the meaning of “This is America” and only states that it is, “something that should just be out there for the people to see.”