Music Tip: Childish Gambino's "This is America"

The first time I watched Childish Gambino's (aka Donald Glover's) newest music video, "This is America," which launched on YouTube May 5 and has already garnered over 100 million views, I was in complete awe. It induced chills and continues to do so, even after I've watched the music video at least 20 times since. In just four minutes, Glover has managed to explore the dark undercurrents riding through the country, looking at widespread racism, mass shootings, riots and media distractions, among other themes. Juxtaposing all that, there is also an elated feeling throughout as Glover seems to be celebrating black culture by featuring hip hop dances that went viral in years past such as the Gwara Gwara. On the other hand, he may also be "satirizing" dances that are typically perceived to be joyous. Much is up for interpretation. What I found most fascinating was how the video pulled me through feelings of both joy and horror — its buzzing bassline and twitching choreography manipulates emotions in ways you wouldn't expect, and the results are unsettling yet powerful — an iconic video that I think will be referenced for years to come. Note: Don't go on Spotify to listen to the song. You must first experience "This is America" over YouTube. — Mary Biekert

 

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