Childish Gambino’s ‘This is America’ video was initially deemed as another weird project, but those that follow the Atlanta native know to dig deeper than that. Everything in the video had a deeper meaning.
Growing up with older parents, I’ve been wide awake when it comes to America’s history and how it didn’t favor my African-American race and still doesn’t, even in 2018. Gambino, formerly known as Donald Glover spoke to the masses in the best way possible (at least for the 21st century we live in) and that’s with music, dancing, and video. His ability to intertwine a highly controversial topic into jovial audio and an abstract video was remarkable and exactly what America needed.
When I say Glover spoke to the masses, I’m being literal. It wasn’t solely a black and white topic. He was targeting his own race as well. Nothing was taboo.
The first thing I noticed was his outfit or the pants he wore since that’s all he wore. If you haven’t seen what kind of pants the typical slave wore, look at the britches he’s rocking in the video. Then, watch a few seconds later where he shoots the hooded man sitting in the chair while standing in quite the peculiar stance. No, he wasn’t trying to be feminine and it wasn’t intended to be the subject of memes on social media. Although the memes were quite comical, Glover was portraying the infamous “Original Jim Crow” pose.
Jim Crow laws were state and local laws that enforced racial segregation in the Southern United States. Enacted by white Democratic-dominated state legislatures in the late 19th century after the Reconstruction period, these laws continued to be enforced until 1965.
As mentioned, this isn’t exclusive to racial topics. I’ve noticed within the last five years we as a people have become so consumed with social media and current trends. The obsession with other’s lives, having to publicly broadcast every juncture throughout the day, every accomplishment, every outfit, every night out and more. Feeling entitled to know every dance move, every popular trend and letting everyone ‘know how we’re doing’ has become a mainstay in American culture, then using the excuse of self-affirmation to defend it all. Meanwhile, our country is turning into social ruins. Mass murders, severe mental illness, gun violence and lack of education are at the forefront of America’s problems but here we are, too busy trying to appease our peers with all the superficial things.
That’s where the clip of Gambino dancing with school kids comes into play.
As you see, Childish and a group of school kids are dancing around amidst chaos in the background. That perfectly depicts what I just mentioned and what has frustrated me for so long. My specific generation is who Childish is taking shots at. So blinded by the glitz, glam, and visual perception of things that all the chaos in the world is an afterthought. Even when we acknowledge the issues in our country, not to mention the world, it all circles back to social media and us trying to be a part of the current trend of everyone being outraged. Nothing seems genuine, which holds equal blame for America’s problems.
Gun violence in America. Yet another one of America’s grave issues, yet we’re so preoccupied with staying strapped to “defend ourselves.” It’s gotten to the point where we cherish our guns and our gun laws more than a black man’s life and that’s a fact. Yes, I’m back on the race topic.
In two instances during the video, Gambino portrayed the shooter. First, was the man sitting in the chair that I discussed earlier and the second time it was him shooting up a singing choir, which mimicked the Charleston, SC church shooting back in 2015. Following each of those shootings, Glover carefully hands the handgun over to a man holding a red cloth, like the gun that just killed multiple black people was a precious jewel. That resonated with me the most because it’s so accurate.
“This is a celly (ha), that’s a tool (yeah.”
A black man holding a simple cell phone can be shot and killed because an officer felt ‘threatened,’ thinking the phone was a gun, but a 21-year-old that willingly walked into a historically black church, killed eight people and injured two others was taken into custody unharmed and oh yeah, offered food after the kill. What makes this even worse is this isn’t the only example like this.
This is the America we live in and through all of African-American’s achievements, this is what it was truly designed to be like.