Moments after appearing on Saturday Night Live as both host and musical guest, Donald Glover, who releases music as Childish Gambino, dropped a stunning music video for his new song, “This Is America.”
This is America is a four-minute clip layered with police brutality, gun violence and Black pop culture. Gambino raps, “This is America / Don’t catch you slippin’ up / Look how I’m livin’ now / Police be trippin’ now / Yeah, this is America / Guns in my area / I got the strap / I gotta carry ’em.”
As the refrain repeats, he quickly shifts between the latest hip-hop dance craze to murderous acts. The video is a representation of the climate in America, where people are asserting Black lives matter while combating police violence and where handguns are arguably treated with more respect than Black bodies. This occurs all while Black music (specifically hip-hop) and art are the mainstream voices of American culture. Gambino ties all of these ideas together with schoolchildren dancing, recording activity on their cellphones, a Black choir and police chaos.
Watch the Hiro Murai-directed visual above.