On May 5, 2018, immediately after pulling double duty as the host and musical guest of Saturday Night Live, Donald Glover dropped a Childish Gambino music video for his single “This Is America,” a disorienting trap assault that encapsulates modern life in the home of the free. Directed by long-time collaborator and Atlanta director Hiro Murai, the video is surreal, beautiful, and crammed with hidden messages.
The video transforms an empty warehouse into a metaphor for 2018's state of the union – a country unwilling to reckon with its unhealthy relationship with guns and racism. The hidden messages in "This Is America" make the video a dreamlike Easter egg hunt and a fascinating trip through Glover’s vision of America. Inside, there’s violence, a desire to escape the fear of death through art, and a public that seems content to move from one tragedy to another as soon as things become stale.
The Video Is A Critique Of Gun Violence In America
The Dancing Is A Distraction From The Chaos
One Particular Dance, The Gwara Gwara, May Be A Reference To The Apartheid
The Murdered Choir Is A Reference To The Charleston Church Shooting
Death Rides A White Horse In The Background
Glover Evokes Jim Crow To Underscore His Point