Childish Gambino’s “This is America” has become a overnight culture phenomenon and its a video you definitely have to watch more than once to see what the song really has to say. Throughout the hole music video Childish gambino or Donald Glover played the roll of america. The music video displayed violence to the use of entertainment as a distraction throughout the hole video. He played both the character and the ring leader. After its release the internet had torn apart the music video and find so many of the hidden messages behind the song that Donald Glover had made. Some of the hide message were pretty well thought out and hard to miss. There was the hide message behind the dancing and the apeeral of the characters, to the constantine recurring parts of gun violence throughout the music video, but also there isn’t just hidden messages through imagery there is hide messages through the music video that involved the lyrics f the song. Also how the internet had been quick to point out that the music video sates that america has had a lack of progression and how it is to live in america as african americans.
One of the major parts of Childish Gambino’s music video “This is America” would be one of the hidden messages is going to have to be the dancing, apparel and the references. At the start of the music video Childish Gambino is seen to be wearing pants and shoes that have be identified as old time confederate uniform as well as two gold chains that symbolizes physical bondage as well as obsession with consumerism. According to a tweet from Justin Simien he stated that “Someone being, as the net has deduced, is Jim Crow, who Gambino embodies with a combination of popular dance memes sporadically interrupted with bug eyes. Before Glover’s character shoots and kills a man in the beginning of the video, he strikes a pose, while holding his gun, reminiscent of Jim Crow. The movement and facial expressions is a reference to a man named Jim Crow who was a character in mistral shows in the 18 and 19 hundreds that in the shows white people would be in “black face” acting out black stereotypes. Throughout the music video there are dances being performed from today society but one had standed out more than all the others. That dance is called the “Gwara Gwara” which is a dance that had came from south africa. It has been thought out that the dance means a method of survival. One example of this is that in a scene there are kids dancing with Childish Gambino which is playing the roll of America doing the gwara gwara showing that the kids are doing the dance to survive in america to stay alive. The last major note about the dancing is that Childish Gambino’s movments are a distraction throughout the hole music video from the chaos that is happening behind him.
The next major messages behind Childish Gambino’s song is the recurrence of gun violence and shootings. On of the noticeable thing through the video was the care of the guns after they were used to commit murders. After there was a shooting in the video the gun would be taken with care and placed in a red cloth which represents how america values guns than peoples live in this society.According to Taylor Ferber’s article called “11 hidden Details in This is America” stated that “the video portrays that gun violence is happening everywhere, all the time, yet people are numb to it and distracted from it” .A notable thing to state is that when the guns are being carried away nice and safe the body or body in video were being dragged off without a care. The shooting that had happened in the video were aimed towards modern day shootings in america.There is also a reference to a shooting that had recently happened. During the video Childish Gambino comes in a room with a church choir sing to a up beat rhythm and then Childish Gambino shoots them dead. This was referencing to the charleston church shooting which was racially motivated.
Not only is there visual messages throughout the music video the lyrics being sang have meaning behind them as well. At the beginning of the video Childish Gambino’s lyrics had a up beat tone to it and then catches us be surprised by switching the tone of the lyrics to a much more darker tone. Throughout the darker tone lyrics Childish Gambino targets the racism problem a’s well as the gun problems we have in america. During the video Childish Gambino sings a lyric, “This a celly,(ha) thats a tool”. This lyric happens to have a meaning a’s well has a reference to a death. That death was of course Stephon Clark a 22 year old african american. During the shooting the officers stated that they shot Clark believing that he had pointed a gun at them. After the shooting, police reported that he was carrying only a cell phone. Now also the lyric was one of the main lyrics that was the most noticeable and had a lot of meaning behind it. After singing the lyric the camera pans up to a couple of kids recording the dancing on their phones. This show what we do in a society today by not doing anything when bad stuff occurs and people record it on their phones instead. The lyric say that a cellphone is a toll and that we use it to record event rather than helping them.
Next symbolic message is going to have to be the police brutality towards african americans. When watching the the video a couple time there has been recurring policemen and police cars in the background of the video. If you paid close attention to the video you would have notice the swarm of policemen are ignoring the dead black bodies in the background and go on with the chaos. At a point in the video there is a scene where Childish Gambino is surrounded by a lot of empty old cars and it references to those who have been pulled over and then shot by police. Another notice of police brutality is some lyrics that Childish Gambino sings. He says in the video “Police be trippin’ now, This is America, Guns in my area, I got the strap, I gotta carry em”. This first part of the virus is stating that police are becoming crazy against african americans when it come to the shooting and the racism towards them. The second part of it actually has to meaning towards it. First part is that once he says guns in my area Childish Gambino performs the popular dance called the “Shoot” which infers to the guns being shot were he is at. The second meaning is were he says “I got the strap, I gotta carry em” is referring to that he has to carry a gun to protect himself. The last thing that is most significant with all the deaths is that in the video there can be seen that there was the pale horse with a dark hooded man riding it. This symbolize one of the four horsemen of the apocalypse. This is actually being reference from the bible. It said that the man on the pale horse is actually “Death” with hell following right behind him.
Over all Childish Gambino definitely had some long hard thoughts before he had created one of the most meaningful music video of all time. There is so much meaning behind the the music video that how the world we live in today. Childish Gambino had cover the major issues of America in a music video. He made America see how America was acting in year of age. There was so much meaning behind every little thing in the video from the dance to distract us from the chaos that is going on in america to the hidden messages behind the lyrics that say s much more than just being lyrics in a song they are messages tell how our society is now a days and also the racism on african americans to the police brutality that is still a recurring thing in this country. The music video is a wake up call to the people of america on how we have been acting in the country and how wrong it is and that it needs to change.
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Source #1: Gajanan, Mahita. “Childish Gambino’s ‘This Is America’: Breaking Down Symbols.” Time, Time, 7 May 2018, time.com/5267890/childish-gambino-this-is-america-meaning/.
This article explains the inside depth of childish gambino’s newest single this is america. It goes into explain each major lyrics in the song and breaks it down and explain the meaning behind it. This is relevant to the essay because of how it will explain in depth on the music video and the song to help support my claim on the song that it has a lot of meaning in the song that some people think.
Source #2 : Sheffer, Anna. “The Lyrics to Childish Gambino’s ‘This Is America’ Have so Many Layers of Meaning.” HelloGiggles, hellogiggles.com/news/this-is-america-lyrics-childish-gambino/.
This article explains that the song This is America/Don’t catch you slippin’ up,” the chorus instructs, a potential allusion to the strict expectations society places on black men in America. The second verse seems like lighthearted mockery of consumer culture, with Glover proclaiming, “I’m on Gucci/I’m so pretty,” but the song again takes a darker turn when, in the outro, Glover raps, “You just a Black man in this world/You just a barcode. THis would help my essay because of how it explains the purpose behind the lyrics meaning.
Source #3: Gajanan, Mahita. “Childish Gambino’s ‘This Is America’: Breaking Down Symbols.” Time, Time, 7 May 2018, time.com/5267890/childish-gambino-this-is-america-meaning/.
This article explains how Donald glover had confronted us with abrupt, horrifying gun violence only to return to singing and dancing might seem like a heavy-handed reminder that the nation’s gun violence is a uniquely American epidemic. This would help with my essay because it explains the gun violence parts of the music video and how guns are treated compared to people.
Source #4: Simien, Justin. “That Someone Being, as the Net Has Deduced, Is Jim Crow, Who Gambino Embodies with a Combination of Popular Dance Memes Sporadically Interrupted with Bug Eyes. Jim Crow Returns to Trayvon’s Father with a Gun. Our Father’s Guitar Is Gone. His Head Shrouded in White. Spoiler Alert. Pic.twitter.com/QvEdUgVZyH.” Twitter, Twitter, 7 May 2018, twitter.com/JSim07/status/993302602287792128?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw%7Ctwcamp%5etweet Embed%7Ctwterm%5E993302602287792128&ref_url=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.bustle.com%2Fp%2F11-hidden-details-in-this-is-america-that-fans-on-twitter-can’t-stop-talking-about-9010002.
The tweet explains why childish gambino is acting the way he does in the beginning of the music video.This tweet will help my essay by showing the relevance to the actions of childish gambino performs. Throughout the video he is referencing to Jim Crow which is a symbolic meaning to the music video.