America Ain’t Ready For Gambino

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After dropping his brand new video, Childish Gambino, aka Donald Glover, has made his way back to the charts with the song “This Is America.” With over 75 million views in less than a week, Childish Gambino has sparked controversy on social media discussing many of the issues we face today as a Black Community. If you are one of the few who hasn’t seen the video yet, you can watch it here. If you’re sensitive to gun violence, I don’t recommend watching the video. Just saying.

I must admit, the first time I saw the video, I was spooked and obviously missed the point. After the fourth consecutive time watching it, I, like many other Childish Gambino fans, finally understood some things. So, let me save you some time and break this video down, starting with the five hidden messages in the “This Is America” video.

Number One: Jim Crow Reference

In the first segment of the video, Childish Gambino dances and approaches a man sitting in a seat playing the guitar. Subtly, Childish Gambino pulls out the gun and shoots the man in the back of the head, while hitting a minstrel pose reminiscent of Jim Crow, aka Thomas Rice according to David Pilgrim, The Huffington Post reports. If you’re unclear about who Jim Crow is, he was an ignorant ethnic depiction of the Black man during the late 1800’s to the 1950’s. Jim Crow laws were also introduced to the South during that time- laws that promoted racial segregation.

Number Two: Charleston Church Shooting

It’s very clear that America has a gun control issue that has yet to be solved because there are those that favor safeguarding a constitutional right rather than lives. But that’s none of my business. Let’s continue to let people abuse their rights (note my sarcasm). There’s nothing that Childish Gambino is unaware of. He enters a church setting with his very distracting dancing, but pulls out a machine gun, murdering the gospel choir that is praising God. Doesn’t this remind you of the 2015 church massacre in Charleston where a white supremacist murdered nine African Americans praising the Lord without any regrets?

Number Three: A Suicide

I don’t know if you guys caught it, but exactly two minutes and thirteen seconds into the video, a man jumps to his death, but with Childish Gambino’s dancing, we are distracted from all the chaos in the background. This too is symbolic because this is America, where we are taught to not discuss issues like suicide because it is a triggering topic. I find it funny because we get all caught up in the latest and the entertainment industry, but why do we get so silent as soon as there is a suicide issue at hand? I’ll wait…

Number Four: A Hooded Person Riding A White Horse

Revelations 6:8

At 2:37, a person in black is seen riding a horse and being followed the police. Now, in church, I remember my pastor giving us a sermon of Death riding a pale horse, with Hell on its tail. The Bible says, “And I looked, and behold a pale horse: and his name that sat on him was Death, and Hell followed him.” Revelation 6:8.

Number Four: A Suicide

I don’t know if you guys caught it, but exactly two minutes and thirteen seconds into the video, a man jumps to his death, but with Childish Gambino’s dancing, we are distracted from all the chaos in the background. This too is symbolic because this is America, where we are taught to not discuss issues like suicide because it is a triggering topic. I find it funny because we get all caught up in the latest and the entertainment industry, but why do we get so silent as soon as there is a suicide issue at hand? I’ll wait…

Number Five: The Blunt

In the final parts of the video, Childish Gambino is found lighting a blunt, which is symbolic for the the black community self-medicating in efforts to mend their scars from perpetuated racism, modern day Jim Crow, police brutality, and disenfranchisement. Soon enough, he is hunted down because rather than hunting down mass murderers, a Black man holding a joint is much more of a clear and present danger.

Although America’s many aspects of culture and economy are attributed to the sweats of our labor, our blood, and tears, WE ARE EXPENDABLE, unless we are entertaining. America sits front row when we rap about foreign cars, when we come up with new dances, fashion trends, and rock our hairstyles, but where is America when our blood is constantly shed for the color of our skin and out of pure hatred? America is very quiet then! They (you know who I mean) steal our culture and then abuse us. It’s hard to pay attention to the things that happen when so many distractions are blocking our vision: A Cheeto who’s president and pop culture. In a world where guns are treated much better than a Black man or woman, please don’t be deceived. After all, all we are to them is just a “barcode” and Black people running for our lives just like our ancestors did 400 years ago.

Don’t let them catch you slipping.

Tell us what you thought of the video in the comment section.

 

By Jada Daniel, Gwendolyn Brooks College Prep

Twitter: tgijadaaa

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