Four minutes and as many punch scenes that never cease to be talked about. The scourge of guns, racism against black Americans, police violence, the entertainment society and appearances in the age of social networks …
The latest music video by artist Childish Gambino, real name Donald Glover, « This is America », very dark portrait of America yesterday and today, has gathered more than 60 million views since it was posted on Saturday, May 5. It continues to fuel the debate on social networks and in the American media, which try to dissect the many messages and references, more or less explicit and open to interpretation.
The New York Times and the British magazine Dazed & Confused, in particular, have analyzed several of the messages that appear there. Like the fact that guns are treated better than men: after the violent scene where a black singer is shot in the head, we can see the body of the victim being dragged, while a man comes carefully recover the gun in a red cloth.
The scene of the shooting of a church choir made up of black American singers more explicitly refers to the racist slaughter of a black community episcopal church in Charleston in 2015. Its author Dylann Roof then declared want to trigger “A war between races”.
Festive scenes and chaos
The choreographies also have their meaning, mixing dances popular in the United States and movements of the South African dance Gwara Gwara. The contrast is striking between the festive scenes, around high school students dancing and, in the background, the unfolding chaos: riots, burning cars, screaming police sirens …
Another more discreet reference of the clip, that to the figure of Jim Crow: in 1832, Thomas Dartmouth Rice, a white actor, English emigrant, performer Jump Jim Crow, a popular song about the plight of a black slave, blackening his face and hands. From 1865, the measures taken in the various states institutionalizing segregation will be called the “Jim Crow” laws.
Shook by how fast I caught this reference. I haven’t seen a Jim Crow picture in years. Donald Glover did not come t… https://t.co/KwPeWBjX19
Other references appear and could be worth reviewing the clip several times.
Beyond the denunciation of racism and firearms, the clip is also an attack in order of our society of entertainment and appearance, exacerbated in the era of social networks, where the quest for success and money keeps you from opening your eyes to oppression and violence.
So, if you focus on the festive scenes in the foreground, you could easily forget the chaos behind them. A short scene also shows a group of young people filming the riots on their smartphones, reminiscent of the series. Black Mirror, relief Dazed.
The clip ends with Childish Gambino chased by the crowd, eyes bulging. An ending which, again, leaves the door open to many interpretations. The scene has, in any case, reminded many Internet users the film Get Out, which also deals with racism.
“Rap is the freest artistic form”
Aged 34, Childish Gambino confirms with this clip the multiplicity of his talents: the rapper and musician is also an actor, screenwriter, director, producer, comedian and DJ … Donald Glover grew up in the suburb of Atlanta, in Stone Mountain, where his father, postman, and his mother, maternal assistant, are also a foster family. Donald takes refuge in writing sketches, in reading plays. Her favorite? Behind closed doors, by Jean-Paul Sartre. No Exit (the English title) is also the title of one of his songs. ” In high school, he said in a portrait that The world dedicated him in 2014, my mother insisted that I enroll in the artistic section, but, in course, I kept writing stories. When I got to college in New York, I specialized in screenwriting. “
It was at Sophomore College that he began to rap, while the radio stations broadcast the rap of his South on a loop: Outkast, Les Neptunes and Nelly. At the same time as he recorded mixtapes, he created a collective of comedians, Derrick Community: “We were bored at college with friends and we started writing sketches that we posted on YouTube. We were the first. It was new, so it worked right away. “
He is spotted and mistaken for the series Community (aired on NBC), but doesn’t stop making music:
“I have never separated my acting career from that of a rapper or screenwriter. For me, rap is the freest artistic form, and perhaps the most complete: I play a character in it, I invent a script and I compose my soundtrack. “