After its release on May 6, Childish Gambino’s new top charting hit “This is America” has caused many to reevaluate how stable the U.S. is. It gives raw detail of the United States’ dark past, the worth Americans place on a gun, and millennials’ role in documenting gun violence.
The introduction of the song depicts Donald Glover (Childish Gambino) imitating movements from KKK pictures insulting African Americans. It is noticed that Donald Glover is wearing confederate state pants. As the scene moves forward, Donald draws a gun and shoots a hooded man. He then places the gun conscientiously in the hands of a man holding red-clothed fabric.
It is assumed that this scene shows the care many right-wing politicians have on a gun. As the video progresses, Donald Glover shoots a church of gospel singers, giving reference to the shooting in Charleston, S.C. What follows are riots and fire, with children videotaping everything on their iPhones.
The camera zooms out to Donald and a cameo of SZA in a lot of abandoned cars. The final scene portrays Donald Glover running in darkness, resembling “the sunken place” in 2017’s Academy Award winning “Get Out.”
This is America has received #1 on Billboard’s top 100 making it Donald Glover’s first top-charting hit. Along with critical acclaim, the song resonated with many Americans in wake of recent school shootings and America’s history of racism.
Not only was this song suggestive of America’s current climate on gun control, it paints a vivid portrayal of America’s violent history towards African Americans. It is both a wake up call for many and a message open for interpretation.