There is one song video that has taken world’s social media by storm.
If you’re not alien to YouTube, you’ve probably watched it twice by now. Amassing a huge 106+ million views in 8 days – leading to hundreds of vlogs and videos that attempt to decode the song. Childish Gambino (Donald Glovers singing alias) has created a visual masterpiece that has a deep meaning behind his erratic dancing and homicidal behavior as he parades through the video shirtless. This Is America has been trending #1 on YouTube.
Social media has been in uproar since the release. The celebrities have applauded the effort, Glover has been to the biggest of shows and the Twitterati are still decrypting the hidden message.
Donald Glover is no stranger to acclaim.
He is a Grammy winning musician, a FIRST Emmy award winning director and actor, who also manages to be an acclaimed comedian. He also DJs when he pleases. Next year, he’ll play Simba in the live-action reboot of The Lion King.
He has won 2 Writer Guild Awards and bashed Donald Trump for making ‘blacks number 1 on the most oppressed list.’ So you see, when Glover makes a video that seems abrupt at first, you know it has layers upon layers of meanings to it.
This Is America is a portrait of life in America, particularly for the African Americans. Glover defines it as a ‘career defining moment.’ It has homicide, signs of apocalypse, prison cells, police violence, church shooting (!) and marijuana – all packed in such an engaging way that you really need to watch it twice and head over to an explanation video to absorb all the intensity.
Rolling Stone contributor Tre Johnson has called the video “a nightmare we can’t afford to look away from.”
Gambino shows children in school uniform doing dances of African and American origin. There are people running across a space that looks increasingly like a prison as the video progresses. There are chickens, girls on bicycles, money in the air, mobs running in riot-like pandemonium. There are kids lost in their cellphones, car fires, SZA sitting on the hood of what appears to be a 1986 Camry.
Its symbolism has been linked to Jim Crow, Michael Jackson and the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse. YouTube videos investigating these Easter eggs have more views than many actual music videos.
The video highlights America in all her negativity. Gambino’s cheery dance moves are juxtaposed against scenes of shocking gun violence – a statement that victims that need justice are hidden by the media under heaps of glamour, music and typical Hollywood extravaganza.
It may not be easy to watch, but fans can’t apparently stop flocking to the video. The true meaning of the video might be subject to opinion but one fact has been established – It is a shining star in the works of Childish Gambino and will continue to make waves along the way.
Watch it for yourself.
Views are my own.