Childish Gambino’s “This is America”: An Eloquent Satirical Masterpiece

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It all happened on a weekend. I was on Youtube, surfing, smoking a cigarette and just chilling out, until Childish Gambino’s new video plays entitled “This is America.” The eloquent, ultra-violent, grotesque and chaotic video concocted by Glover and the director Hiro Murai was a real shocker.

 

The Video

It all started out with an afro-drum beat rhythm, along with some guitar and beats of harmonizing black choir with Gambino dancing smoothly—quickly turned left-field when shirtless Gambino shoots the black guitarist point blank. Soon after Gambino brandishes the gun, he gently places them on a red cloth that one of the schoolboys holds. Some say he is re-enacting Jim Crow with his racial caricature and his exaggerated face expressions as he smiles like nothing happened.

 

 

After that, the music abruptly shifts to a more bass-driven hue into an aggressive one. With Gambino,still all-smiles while he continuously dancing as he is joined then by a group of afro-american dancers that joyfully moves as they distract us from the chaos and violence that is happening in the background as the riots starts.

After duping us with some nearly perfect choreography, we cut to a shot of a choir who’s harmonizing the chorus of the song, until the music abruptly shifts again then we see Gambino shoots them dead with an automatic rifle. Reminiscent of the  Charleston Church shooting of 2015.

 

 

And it all happened again, Gambino dancing as carefree as he can along with his backup dancers which truly distracts us frpm the ensuing riot and chaos in the background.

Then the music stops. Gambino assumes a firing position before calmly lighting a spliff, going on top of a car and dancing as merrily as he had been.

 

 

A rough analyzation of “This Is America”

I think the video was a parody of the Black Culture in America itself. In the music video, Gambino shoots someone in the same circumstance as those highly politicized instances, to highlight the gun epidemic in America—especially in the Afro-American culture itself, as he is seen shooting both of the guitarist and the choir with his own hand.This primarily showcases the prevalence of gang-culture, which is still prominent inside their community.

Soon after,  Childish Gambino brandishes each gun, he then gently places them on a red cloth that one of the schoolboys (who serves as a backup dancer at different points in the video) dutifully carries away, representing the idea that guns are treated with more respect than human lives.

 

Look at how I’m livin’ now
Police be trippin’ now (woo)

 

This lyrics could be an explicit reference to police brutality in contemporary America.

 

Guns in my area (word, my area)
I got the strap (ayy, ayy)
I gotta carry ’em

This can be a direct nod and reference to 21 Savage tragically violent past with gun violence and his subsequent music.

 

“This is America” is Childish Gambino’s new masterpiece, that really drifted away from his hit album “Awaken, My Love!”

It is a testament of Gambino’s courage to portray black lives through their own eyes. The upbeat choir, cheerful dancing along with the glorified gun-violence as perpetrated by their gang-culture.

If black culture affirms itself, and as accurately, as a testament to its makers’ capacity for grace, invention, and vigor in the face of an inhuman social reality, then Gambino’s own affirmation contains a shadowy admission that such makers cultivate their own agony in the act of representation.

 

Watch the video here:

 

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Paul Vincent Evangelista, is a filmmaker, storyteller, and a poet. He finished his Bachelor's Degree in Arts, Major in Film and Communications. One-fourth of the group called "Retrobandido Productions". When not making films, he spends most of his time sitting on a wooden chair, with a book in his hand and a cigarette tucked on his lips; contemplating about his purpose and meaning in this absurd world. He also accepts laundries during weekends.

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