Rapper and actor Childish Gambino dropped his new track 'This Is America' over the weekend and boy, we were sure as hell not ready for it. Directed by 'Atlanta' director Hiro Murai, this film clip is confronting and making a serious point about racism as it stands in contemporary America. The clip is set to a pretty catchy beat and primarily focuses on Gambino as he dances his way through a warehouse. However, the dancing is a tool to distract the viewer from the intense violence and insanity going on behind him.
Early on in the video clip, Childish pulls a pose and shoots a man through the head signalling the beginning of the violence of the video. The actual pose he pulls is based off Jim Crow law posters which represented systematic racism and segregation law beginning in the 1870s and remained in place until the 1960s. The dancing throughout the video also echoes this pose.
It is also important to mention that Childish is wearing pants that resemble the Confederate Army uniform throughout the entire music video.
One of the most used tools in this video is whatever is happening in the background while Gambino dances in the foreground. One such moment is when a white horse is being chased by a police car, which echoes a bible passage; “And I looked, and behold a pale horse: and his name that sat on him was Death, and Hell followed with him.” -Revelation 6:8
There is also a scene that reenacts the Charleston shooting with Childish handling an automatic gun with more care than any human receives in the clip and mercilessly slaughtering a group of choir singers in cold blood.
At 2.13, a man jumps to his death behind Gambino to demonstrate how little regard America holds for suicide in this day and age when there are other more exciting things - dancing and trends - that are the focus.
In terms of the dance moves themselves, Childish and his dancers are recreating 10 super popular dances throughout the ages. His dancers themselves are a stereotype of classic teen dancers from the 50s, glorified by pop culture such as in the movie 'Hairspray'.
The end scene features Gambino running for his life and is shot for shot a copy of the Oscar-nominated film 'Get Out' which was praised for its exploration of racism.
The song itself is filled with politically heavy lyrics and contains ad-libs from a variety of artists. SZA is also featured at the end of the clip.
Check out the track for yourself and stay tuned for more news on Childish Gambino.