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Childish Gambino’s new music video addresses police brutality, gun violence

Amelia Zollner

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It’s always been the case that artists have used popularity as a platform to speak out about their perspective on current events, whether it’s through a tweet, an interview or a speech at a concert.

Donald Glover, more commonly known by his stage name Childish Gambino, is just one example out of the countless artists that have addressed the issue of police brutality publicly. However, unlike many artists, he chose to do it through what he does best: music.

On May 5, Glover released his new single “This Is America” and its corresponding music video during the Saturday Night Live episode in which he served as both the host and the musical guest, a rare accomplishment for any artist.

“This Is America” is definitely a digression from the 70s funk-inspired style of Glover’s most recent album, “Awaken, My Love!”, which gained Glover a significant amount of recognition.

“This Is America” doesn’t contain the most complex lyrics, however, it subtly tackles the issues of both police brutality toward black individuals as well as gun violence as a whole. This subject is further italicized by the music video, which has generated a variety of theories on Twitter and Instagram.

Initially, “This Is America” starts out as a gentle song with a cheerful guitar line accompanied by gospel singers but quickly jumps into a more aggressive rap verse.

In the music video, when the song transitions into this heavier style, however, so does Glover’s attitude, and he suddenly shoots the guitarist that’s accompanying him. He then delicately hands the gun he used to a man who tiptoes off the screen while the guitarist’s body is carelessly dragged the other way. Due to this scene, some viewers are speculating that the point Glover was trying to make in the music video was how citizens of America tend to value guns more than the lives of black individuals in the face of police brutality.

Throughout the rest of the video, Glover effervescently dances across the screen in the midst of death, incorporating dance moves that have been popularized on the internet, which effectively distracts the viewer from the violence and riots taking place in the background. This potentially symbolizes how Americans have a tendency get distracted from violence and focus on less meaningful things, like social media and, as demonstrated by Glover, the latest dance trend.

No matter what viewpoint listeners decide to take on the issue of gun violence, and whatever theories they may have while analyzing the video, “This Is America” is a music video that should be seen and heard by everybody.

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Amelia Zollner, Opinions Editor

Freshman Amelia Zollner is an opinions editor and has served on staff since 2018.

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Childish Gambino’s new music video addresses police brutality, gun violence