You Guys Are Easily Impressed
So…after waiting about a week for the dust to settle, I finally watched Childish Gambino’s “This is America” video. I was a little disappointed that the two 5-second clips I had seen of the video – the ones where people get shot – were the only “highlights” (if we’re gonna call it that). But before I say more about the video, let’s talk about the song.
“This is America” is one of those songs I’d describe as intentionally unique. It has disjointed sections that make it sound like two very different songs were made separately and then merged. I’ll confess that I hated the song after the first few listens, but by the tenth play, it started to grow on me a little bit. It’s not a terrible song, but I do think Childish Gambino (real name Donald Glover) seems to have prioritized being different over making a song that actually sounds good, which is what happens when an artist desperately needs to be seen as an innovator. There’s a lot to say about Donald Glover and his self-proclaimed genius status (and his god complex), but we’ll table that conversation for another day.
Now…the video. Its themes are definitely timely and the treatment was definitely well-thought-out (and chock-full of symbolism), but I’m not sure it is the masterpiece it’s being purported to be. I was hoping for something a little more mind-blowing than people literally getting their heads blown off, but unfortunately, those scenes were the centerpieces of the video. I refuse to call it a masterpiece because I just don’t think any of the scenes or ideas presented were that clever or particularly novel.
While we’re here, I’d also like to point out that Donald Glover has a long history of making questionable and sometimes anti-black statements (some of which were tweeted from a now-deleted Twitter account). He has undergone somewhat of an image revamp in recent years, and while I do think it is possible for people to change, I am a bit skeptical because this is a drastic change in a relatively short amount of time. I’m all for wokeness as long as you’re not just doing it for the look.