This Is America (Childish Gambino) - What I Saw
By now, you most likely have seen the 'This is America' by Childish Gambino (aka Donald Glover) video. When I first saw one snippet of the video on my IG timeline, I really didn't know what to make of it. I was aware I was watching something profound but wasn't really sure exactly what it was. I had to watch the video in its entirety and then, ignore him and focus on the background when I watched it again. There is so much to digest. So many historical and present-day racial references. In short, I thought this was masterfully done and quite an intricate 5-minute in-depth commentary on a sensitive topic. Here is what I noticed:
- The attitude of some Black people - We just want to party, I just want the money - and Glover doing various popular dance moves speaks to a divide in Black culture for those who are not "woke" or choose to remain ignorant to how Black people are consistently disregarded, disresepected and essentially dealing with a war on them as a people in their own country
- Gun control vs. the Black life: When he shot the man in the chair, the body was left there with no regard while his gun was previously taken away with a cloth. It was the juxtaposition of the disregard for a Black human life confronting how we handle guns with such care and discretion. For me, this was reminiscent of how Michael Brown's body was callously left in the street for hours after he had been shot.
- CORRECTION: I thought that was Trayvon Martin's father playing the guitar!!
- There is a reason I had to watch it a second and third time to catch what was going on - Initially, I was so focused on the dancing that I missed all the chaos happening in the background. A comment on how we as a society are so focused on what's happening in entertainment and pop culture that we are not paying enough attention to the police brutality, the blatant disregard for Black lives, the gross disparity in the justice system, and the institutionalized oppression that has ailed Black people for generations.
- We set an example for the youth - Who emulate everything we do. When we place the priority on entertaining and material pursuit, so do they. If we shifted the focus to activism and the pursuit of mental enlightenment and demand for justice, so will they.
- The church was a double enteindre for me - On the one hand, it spoke to the mass shooting that occurred in Charleston, but on the other hand, I also viewed it as a brief comment about the blind faith and focus that the Black community has on Christianity (generally speaking of course). Religion can be just as distracting as pop culture and absolves people from accepting responsibility for their status quo.
- Entertainment is not only about ignoring, but coping - When I viewed this for the third time, I realized that the singing and dancing isn't completely about ignoring what negatively affects us, but also serves as a coping mechanism for dealing with the daily gravity of all this negativity. If you aren't directly involved in a police altercation, you are witness to the message that Black life isn't worth much when the case does not get tried in court, or the offending parties get acquitted, despite cases where police are actually caught on video in the wrong. Music is where we go to heal our aching souls...
- Desensitization - But even more, we deal with this gross indifference to our life, every time something violent happens and Glover goes right back to dancing and singing, it speaks to how desensitized we have become to all these incidents.
- The fear that many Black people face on a daily basis is real - That last scene was gut-wrenching. His fear running from the cops was palpable and hard to watch. The reality of the matter is that many innocent Black people deal with a police interaction when they did absolutely nothing wrong. Imagine seeing your life flash before your very eyes when you haven't even done anything? Or just the daily grind of what it means to be Black in America?
Was this creative genius for you? Or could you not get into it? Drop me a comment here, IG or FB and let me know where you stand on the video.
Love x Light,