From ‘Redbone’ to ‘This Is America’: Listen To Donald Glover

I have watched *This Is America four times. And I’m still chewing on it. Donald Glover is a genius. Change my mind. The video is stylish, chaotic and dope AF.

From debuting the Childish Gambino song on SNL on Saturday May 5, 2018, the very episode he hosted, to the video that dropped 24 hours later, the weekend belongs to him.

I’ll be honest, I had to watch the video twice to really get it: there was SO MUCH to dissect.

This Is America is layered and if you don’t pay attention you won’t get anything. But here are the themes which I thought were most poignant:

  • The casual American relationship to/with violence
  • The indifference to the deaths of POC
  • The pervasive nature of gun violence
  • The treatment of black children in the midst of all this violence-soaked culture
  • The expectation of POC just mind their business nothing will happen to them
  • Social apathy: if we as a nation ignore what’s happening, it’ll all go away.
  • The expectation that black people/POC will always kill themselves
  • Commercialization of the Prison Industrial Complex
  • American Voyuerism culture
  • If people of color concentrate on just “shucking and jiving” we aren’t seen as a threat and neither will our children be
  • This nation focuses on the wrong thing on a constant basis
  • Even when POC do as the establishment dictates, they are still seen as a threat–we are always a threat.
  • Death (dark figure on the pale horse) is always close to POC

If you haven’t seen the video yet, I urge you to. I urge you to talk about it, to weigh in on it and watch it more than once. You will need to I promise.

Donald Glover said in his monologue on Saturday that some people call him a triple threat. He said it, “I’m just a threat.” I would agree. James Baldwin said, “The goal of the artist is to disturb the peace.” Indeed. In the time we are in, peace is to great a price to not be exposed for the social control it is at the expense of people of color.

Get ’em Donald Glover, get em.

*-The views and reviews of this video are my own and not meant to be exclusive to the thoughts of others. Thank you. JBH.

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