Anyone that knows me is aware of my love for music. However, that is a general statement that could apply to anyone. However, I also love controversial music. Sympathy For the Devil. Closer by Nine Inch Nails. God Save the Queen by the Clash. All songs that pushed boundaries or were taboo. I also love controversial music videos, ones that appeal to your senses via their eccentricity, their ability to provoke or to make you contemplate.
So far, no music video has been as provocative this year as much as "This Is America," the song performed and written by Childish Gambino.
For one, the imagery and the symbolism stands out as interesting. Guns being pampered to with the finest cloth, implying preferential treatment for guns, even over people. The contorting of the body by Donald Glover to echo back to the times of Jim Crow. The use of the iPhone, which has been used to capture instances of injustice very recently. Plus, the scene at the end which is reminiscent of the film "Get Out," which served as an allegory for black America and its treatment at the hands of white people. All in all, while not necessarily the most subtle, the point gets across. Whether you agree or disagree with what he says, it makes for a compelling watch.
Next, the violence, which is tied into various portions of the video. The song is prefaced by Childish Gambino killing a man who has his entire face covered by a cloth, unaware of the fate that awaits him. Then, the robbery which occurs in the background as he moves forward and the video progresses (pretty self-explanatory). Then, the infamous scene; he proceeds to walk into a room, where he then receives an AK-47. This is used to mow down a church choir, in a scene that has been compared to the Charleston church massacre (though they were not performing in real life).
Obviously, there are the lyrics too. The juxtaposition between Glover himself and the character he creates for himself (Oaxaca being infamous for drug dealers, yet he went to NYU and, obviously, is immensely famous/wealthy), the commentary he provides on America's obsession with the material and superficial, as well as the mockery of trap music (easily regurgitated portions of the song, a key facet of modern day rappers like Lil Pump).
Overall, an interesting song. Doesn't really matter what your opinion is on the subject matter itself; it is sure to provoke because of the perspective he offers willingly to us. The video contains good visuals, issues Glover sees as wrong with America, and references/allusions to American society and events in the past. A thought-provoking video at the end of the day, and one I could watch again and again to break down.