I did not watch the video as soon as it was released. After seeing the massive ripple of reactions to the message and quality of the video, I took a moment to watch it.
I tell you that since I watched it the first time, I have seen it at least 15 times after. It’s the kind of video that needs to be seen multiple time, not only because it’s fantastic, but there are many things involved that add to the powerful messages that are in enveloped in it.
The first time, you are distracted by Childish Gambino, or Donald Glover, dancing. You’re entertained by the dancing that surrounds Gambino, the happiness of the children. You are only surprised the two times that Gambino takes the gun and shoots the man, or shoots the black choir. After, we were quick to be distracted by the dancing.
You are left with questions about what the video could allude to but are also thoroughly satisfied that there is some kind of narrative.
The second time you watch the video, you’re looking for the meaning behind the different scenes. You look behind Gambino.
It’s here that you really discover the underlining meaning of this video. The sheer power of art.
The guns are treated with care, cleaned after they are used to take black lives. The bodies are left there or disposed of carelessly and without respect. Possibly an insight of what actually occurs in the country. Guns are valued more than lives. Protecting the right to have a gun is worth fighting for, more than black lives, than the lives of children.
Chaos ensues behind Gambino and the kids who are dancing. The kids are distracted by art, by music, and by media. This is the way people live. We consume all of the trends but fail to truly pay attention to the issues that plague our world. It could possibly allude to us trying to ignore what happens although, we are aware of the truth.
Childish Gambino does add a number of symbols that reference Jim Crow and other aspects of the black experience.
Personally, the part that gave me the most chills was at the end when we see him running from a crowd of people.
A black man running from society, afraid and aware of the consequences that come with being a black person in our country.
It pained me greatly to watch this video because it really put the bigger issues of our country right in front of me. It made me sad because this is really what people live through every day. Black children, black men, and black women are scared to exist because of prejudice.
There are plenty of our symbols and motifs embedded in the video and many people have done analyses on it. I recommend you watch the videos, watch out for what you see and then look into what others caught onto.
We need videos that bring light to the greater issues. To make a change in our world, we need to be aware of all the problems that we have in it. We should not avoid the truth, we have to take steps to make it a better place for everyone who lives on it. I think that making this kind of art places it at the center of attention and brings about change. We cannot live in ignorance because one day, we may look up and see a world that is completely unrecognizable.
I commend Childish Gambino and his efforts to make something so valuable and beautifully put together.