Review: Childish Gambino’s “This is America” is the voice our country needs to hear

By Kiley Hill, Social media managing editor

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Childish Gambino’s recent release of “This is America” is more than just the music itself. To understand the full meaning of the song, the music video is a must watch.

“This is America” gives a chilling look into the nation’s gun violence epidemic. The shootings evoke imagery of terrorism, specifically in the second shooting where it symbolizes the Charleston Church shooting.

In the first shooting of the music video, however, there is a noticeable amount of care towards the gun itself, not the victim. After Gambino shoots the victim, he hands the gun towards another dancer, wrapping it in a soft cloth, emphasizing the care.

Gambino and other members of the video continue to sing and dance after every act of violence. There have been many interpretations of these scenes.

The one I’ll be mentioning, and the one I find most evident, proves the scenes to be commentaries on how America avoids violence altogether, or simply moves on too quickly.

I find this one to be most accurate because it proves just what some forms of the media does. There have been countless acts of gun violence this past year and yet the media covers it the way it wants to, which is not the way it should be.

On Friday, May 18, 2018, there was a shooting at a Texas high school, killing at least 10. I’m writing this article on Saturday, May 19, and what was being covered today? The Royal Wedding. And how much of this shooting did I hear? Not one word. And this is just one of many examples.

It’s important to take note of what is happening behind the dancers. Chaos and rioting. Bystanders on their phones. This shows the distraction the world has on the violence going on around us.

At the end of the video, Gambino is shown running down a dark abandoned hallway. Many have compared this seen to the Sunken Place – a mental prison camp for black people – in “Get Out.” Is it a coincidence that the star of “Get Out,” Daniel Kaluuya introduced the song on SNL?

It’s safe to say this song is not one you can jam out to in your car with friends. The song begins with peaceful, upbeat music, then seconds later gunshots are sound with an innocent victim getting shot. After the shots, Gambino proceeds with lyrics, “This is America, Don’t catch me slippin’ now, Look how I’m living now, Police be trippin’ now, Yeah this is America.” The peaceful music starts up again, then the second shooting sounds.

The peaceful music represents the world’s distraction to gun violence and terrorism, while the gunshots try to bring us back to reality and the violence truly going on around us.

I believe Gambino’s recent release is a song every citizen of the United States should listen to. It proves more than just a rap song. The message behind the song is powerful and is one that needs to be heard.

When the world says we need a voice, this song has become the voice.

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