So there's this video on the next page. If you aren't one of the 60 million + views on YouTube, have a look. The rest of the card will discuss it without spoiler warnings. So maybe it helps to spend the ~5 minutes watching it (it's violent) I included a TL;DR on the last page, in case the commentary is too long winded.
Childish Gambino (Donald Glover) is an American rapper, actor, comedian, etc. He's 34. Born in California, educated at NYU (New York University).
He's known for his work on TV shows *Community and Atlanta He's released several rap albums to mixed reviews, but has gained steady popularity over the past decade.
Back to the video. (I'm going to provide source links* in the comments in case you're curious about something. I'll add more if I feel up to it.)
There are so many layers to this video.
And they are flying around because Gambino has yet to really comment on it. (Art by Geo Law)
Most of the interpretations from various sources overlap. Here are some examples of where they overlap most frequently:
(1) Gambino is attempting to comment on the place that black culture, particularly hip hop, has in America
The worldwide consumption of American black culture is an outstanding phenomenon. Dress, slang, music, and dance have extended to the far corners of the planet, often at a disconnect to its origin.
In any case, it is, at it's core, entertainment. And like all entertainment, it is a distraction from "reality".
But to bring it back home, one of the most recognized symbols of the Jim Crow* era is reflected throughout the video but in particular at Gambino's stance when he shoots the musician at the beginning of the video.
His exaggerated gestures and expressions are a throw back to minstrelsy*
As a sidenote, minstrelsy was one of the most popular forms of American theatre for around 80 years, just something to think about in terms of the unease often expressed by black Americans when it comes to representation and gaze.
(2) And of course, there is the commentary on gun culture and the victims it creates. The quick, remorseless violence displayed is an illustration of that.
The guns are treated even better than people who are killed: gently handed off and carried away in a cloth. The people are left on the ground as we follow Gambino to the next action in the video.
Remember the Charleston massacre*? Many think that Gambino was referencing that event when he shoots up the choir.
(3) The children dancing seems to have gotten the most diverse interpretations. Some say it's commentary on the innocence of children surrounded by a violent world.
Some say the dancing represents a staple of black culture. Some say it also speaks to society's distraction in consuming entertainment.
(4) And then we see a police presence.
We see him walking by cop cars and we see cop car lights in the background. He is incorporating an illustration of the strained relationship that black communities have with police and the perpetual problem of abuse and brutality*.
There are a lot of "did you see that?" moments in the video. Watching the background, you'll find at least one seemingly biblical symbol (The pale horse to behold. Are there more?), rioting, cellphone recordings, even a cameo at the end by American pop singer SZA (who might just be on another track on the album?)
It's actually a lot. And there are plenty of publications and channels that break down different parts of it.
I made this card because I was talking about this video with a certain French filmmaker who hates beautiful bridges and we agreed a card would be nice. Feel free to discuss civilly (we always ask for that, but what is our success rate, really? 🙄)
TL;DR: American rapper, Childish Gambino just released an intense and provacative video called "This is America" that appears to serve as commentary of black culture and experience in America. It has many interpretations of its content.
Sorry for any typos or missing words. It's past my bedtime. 😴