'This is America': Childish Gambino’s confronting music video praised by fans, celebrities

Childish Gambino's 'This is America' music video is causing a stir for its message about the world's ability to tune out societal problems.

WARNING, GRAPHIC VIDEO: Actor, musician and comedian Donald Glover (Childish Gambino) has been praised for his latest music video which tackles America’s gun violence and the Black Lives Matter movement while commenting on how easily the world turns a blind eye to these issues. 

Directed by Hiro Murai, the song 'This is America' was released on Saturday Night Live.

It’s currently the number one trending video on YouTube and has racked up more than 40 million views since its release on May 5. 

In the first minute, Glover shoots a man and then continues to sing and dance as though nothing happened.

“This is America, police be trippin’ now, yeah, this is America, guns in my area,” he sings as chaos erupts in the background.

A still from This is America.

Glover later guns down a gospel choir with a semi-automatic rifle.

The video provides a visual commentary on Black Lives Matter, the 2017 Charlottesville protests, police brutality and Civil Rights.

As violence occurs in the background, Glover dances and sings upbeat and joyfully as though nothing is happening - his dancing acts as a distraction to the horror that is going on behind him.

The video’s choreographer Sherrie Silver told US media "We tried to show what's actually happening in the world. Not just in America, but in the world.

“We also wanted to bring joy to it, in the middle of the madness. That's what kids do and that's what dance does—especially African dance."

“You know how kids are innocent and kind of unaware of what's going on? We were there to smile and bring joy to everyone watching it because the background is bringing so much darkness and reality," he said.

'Moving, disturbing work of art'

Celebrities and fans have praised the clip as one that needs to be watched more than once – because there are far too many statements to be able to take them all in at first glance.

“People are so caught up in Gambino’s shoot that they don’t even realise what the hell is going on in the background. He’s literally talking about people who don’t care about what’s happening in society, but care about the latest dance fad. He’s talking about y’all,” Twitter user E-Money wrote.

The Office star Rainn Wilson said it was ‘genius’ “one of the most moving, disturbing and beautiful works of art I’ve seen in years”.

Singer-songwriter Adele praised Gambino's "greatness" at the end of an Instagram post following the release of the video.

Talking Heads singer-songwriter David Byrne shared the video with the Nina Simone quote "An artist's duty, as far as I am concerned, is to reflect the times.”

BBC music journalist Natty Kasambla said it was overwhelming to see the amount of death in the video.

“I think it’s also a commentary on gun violence and how we place more value on weapons than we do human lives,” she said.

“But I’m not entirely sure that watching more black deaths and seeing more black bodies is going to have any more of a revolutionary impact than the real-life ones we’ve already seen.”


Share
Published 9 May 2018 at 9:30am, updated 9 May 2018 at 2:12pm