“This Is America” Sparks Important Black Conversations
Donald Glover (stage name Childish Gambino), broke the internet when he premiered his new single This Is America. In less than the 24 hours, the viral video amassed over 10 million views.
Shot in a warehouse, Glover is shirtless and is dancing to lively music with forced facial expressions like a minstrel show until he pulls out a pistol and shoots an innocent man. The music suddenly changes. As scenes of violence play out, the shooter’s gun is carefully taken signalling that people are more concerned about guns than lives.
Another scene shows him dancing before he suddenly stops to shoot the black choristers who have been singing. The black choir is a representation of the nine black worshippers who were killed by a white supremacist, Dylann Roof, at a church in Charleston in 2015.
The universality of music is displayed with different moves including the South African gwara gwara. The scene also shows the problem of phone addiction and people’s loss of their reality. As he dances, the background shows the biblical death riding a white pale horse and is followed by Hell (which is represented by the American police).
In the end, Glover running for his life while people chase after him for unknown reasons.
He reminds popular Black Americans that no one is free from the injustice meted out. This is America is his first single since 2016. His forthcoming album will be his last.
This video is a wake-up call to Nigerian musicians who are encouraging ‘science students’ and spending foolishly rather sparking important conversations.