'This Is America' And This Needs To Change
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'This Is America' And This Needs To Change

Because he caught you slippin' up.

'This Is America' And This Needs To Change

He suggests that he “don’t catch you slippin’ now,” but America has slipped, hopefully just not too far out of our grasp to catch it and help it to pick itself up.

Childish Gambino’s “This Is America,” released May 5, 2018, is currently the No. 1 song in the country, debuting at the top of the Billboard Hot 100. This latest hit marks Gambino’s first No. 1 song in his music career.

The music video, directed by Hiro Murai, attracted just as much attention, having 85.3 million views in its first week on YouTube and has collected more and more each day.

The thought-provoking, highly symbolic four-minute music video has hard-hitting themes like race, police brutality, and gun violence.

Though your gaze might be drawn to Gambino due to his facial expressions and skillful dancing, choreographed by Sherrie Silver, this, combined with the chaos that ensues in the background is what many have deemed as brilliant and deeply unsettling.

His dancing and movements seem to reference minstrel shows, popularized in the 1800s, that mocked black people and often times included blackface, beginning the underlying theme of oppression towards the black population in America.

The video portrays gun violence in the country, with a black man being shot in the back of the head by Gambino while assuming a stance similar to a Jim Crow caricature, as many on social media have pointed out. The violence continues as Gambino uses an automatic weapon to shoot down a black choir, potentially alluding to 2015 Charleston church massacre. Each time a gun is used, it is carefully placed on a red cloth; meanwhile, the first man’s body is dragged away and the church choir is left behind, completely out of mind, suggesting that in America guns matter more than black lives.

As the video continues, riots break out and cars are set on fire in the background, with Gambino and some teenagers continuing to dance in the foreground, perhaps suggesting that as Americans we either turn a blind eye to the problems occurring or try to find ways to cope. Regardless, these are real problems and ignoring them or failing to recognize that they exist has and will continue to worsen them.

The presence of police cars and rioting in the background likely alludes to police brutality and how black people are disproportionately killed by police in the U.S.

In the background of one scene shows a hooded figure riding a white horse, which many believe is an allusion to the Horseman of the Apocalypse in the Book of Revelation, which some believe suggests the end of the world, which is a real possibility if Americans don’t get off their high horses and work towards finding solutions to the problems plaguing our country.

The video ends with Gambino running away from a crowd, which viewers feel parallels a scene in Jordan Peele’s Get Out, with Gambino perhaps running from the Sunken Place. Though Gambino might be running away, we cannot and he used this video as a way for us to recognize that this is America, and it shouldn’t be this way.

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This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.
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