"At the weekend, Childish Gambino (aka musician/actor Donald Glover) released a video for new track 'This is America". It has been viewed more than 36 million times on YouTube. Glover set out to take a powerful stance on America's current issue of gun violence, and definitely hit the mark in this video with lyrics like "This is America, guns in my area" accompanying the shocking visuals. At other points in the song he addresses a Black man's place in the world. How else to read Glover's gunning down of an entire choir or his execution of a hooded figure at the beginning of the video than as a pointed rebuke of this country's fascination with weapons of war and its various abuses of the "right" to bear arms?
Glover has said that the next Childish Gambino album he releases will be his last, explaining, "I think endings are good because they force things to get better". It is a bold, biting commentary on modern American discourse and the racial disparity, gun violence and vanity that come with it.
But fans of the work such as Ricky Jones, head of the Pan-African Studies Department at the University of Louisville in Kentucky, disagreed.
This is America is a video that needs to be watched not once, but again and again, to slowly peel away the symbolism and, very plainly, to notice everything going on in the background.
"The fact that Childish Gambino's "This is America" tackles police brutality, gun violence, media misdirection, and the use of African Americans as a brand shield, all while dancing in Jim Crow-style caricature, shows a transcendence of mere performance and demands attention", one person tweeted.