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Donald Glover "Childish Gambino" - This is America

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Warning: Music Video contains some violent imagery

Donald Glover released a new song called "This is America" which due to its themes and heavy use of symbolism has caused discussion.  Thought maybe other like to put their thoughts in here.

My own thoughts.

The music is a blend of various genres to me, from tribal and gospel to rap and hip hop.  It manages to be catchy and also jarring in its changes and use of silence.  The video reinforces with distinct actions in the foreground (dancing) and background (chaos/violence).  This speaks to the old saying of "bread and circus" and how deeper societal issues are ignored as long as we are entertained.  Of course, the moments of intense violence shock us when the two interact, but then slide back to the periphery of discussion.  There is also a lot in Glover's attire, style, movements, and posture.  His dance moves are forms of African dance tinted with song and dance that blacks in the US utilized or were projected onto them in caricatures.  The clothes are that of poverty and juxtaposed with his expressions show the forced joy, the anger, and the fear.

Little touches as well, like how the gun is cared for more than the corpse or how the kids with phones recording have mouths covered.  I'm sure there's more I missed.

May be a little controversial depending on what you read into it, but I do like music that causes interpretation and has people talking.



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It's a brilliant video. There's been a lot of great commentary in the arts lately from the black community in the US, add this to the list.

Nymeria said:

Warning: Music Video contains some violent imagery

Donald Glover released a new song called "This is America" which due to its themes and heavy use of symbolism has caused discussion.  Thought maybe other like to put their thoughts in here.

May be a little controversial depending on what you read into it, but I do like music that causes interpretation and has people talking.

My main takeaway from the video is that we all move on too quickly after atrocities. We quickly move on and entertain ourselves instead of trying to instigate real long term change. A blasé not my problem attitude, when it affects everyone!

 

The video also touches on how the US treats guns better than the people killed by them (as you pointed out).

 

If you are interested in thought provoking track, maybe some tracks by Joyner Lucas will be your thing.  This one is quite recent and went viral towards the end of last year. Track is called "I'm NotRacist" - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=43gm3CJePn0

His other tracks are quite insightful too.



I really like the music video. My thought behind it.

As a society, when a mass shooting occurs or someone is killed, we will pay attention during the time it occurs, but then get back to what we enjoy and find "safe." Hence he goes from dancing, killing a person(s), then back to dancing and singing.



I have watched this video several times, and I am really impressed by it. I think Donald Glover put a lot of thought into this and that it plays on a number of social issues. One of the things that I noticed was in the background "Death on a Pale Horse" I think the line continues on to say followed by evil or hell or something like that. Well if you freeze frame when death rides through, there is a police car parked directly behind him, so there is a lot of symbolism there.

I think the overall purpose of the video ( I have seen a lot of negative criticism saying that the track isn't that good) IS IN FACT THE VIDEO. I think you can turn the sounds off, and watch focused the first time through on the character Donald Glover is portraying, and get the message he is trying to convey. Then watch it again, with the sound off, and watch ALLLLLLL of the stuff going on in the background. It's chaos, which I believe is the point. But there is a lot going on to draw from as well. Regardless, you can put his character together with the background and get the overall picture without even listening to the lyrics.

I think the lyrics and the music are actually part of the overall distraction of the video. You are distracted by his dancing, by the music changing, by the silence at times. Distracted from all of the things going on around him. It's a complete euphemism of the US today. We are so distracted by our phones, having fun, our lives that we don't notice all of the chaos around us. We have more "important" things to do. The significance of any one moment is completely different from one person to the next, I think Glover does a great job conveying that fact in this video.

I love the part where he looks back several times dancing, trying to get the dance team to do the exact move that he is doing, repeating it until they do. That was another of the nuanced "look at me" moments in the video. I think it's awesome.

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The US is a first and third world country depending on where you are and how people like to behave.

The music video is pretty good. The song is just average. But I doubt he will ever top Redbone that song is brilliant.

I like the memes.

Chris Hu said:
The music video is pretty good. The song is just average. But I doubt he will ever top Redbone that song is brilliant.

That song is a classic.



I don't like his music nor his acting in anything he does, but I'll welcome people using music as an art and using symbolism to convey stuff,even if i dont agree with what they're conveying.

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I didn't really like the music but I think he's criticising black culture in america. I could be wrong. I watched the vid a few times and read the lyrics. I'm not gonna  waste anymore time dicking around with it.

Last edited by Aeolus451 - on 12 May 2018