“This Is America” is a song by Childish Gambino, the musical stage name of actor Donald Glover. Written and produced by Glover and Ludwig Göransson, it was released at the same time that Glover was hosting Saturday Night Live. Its music video was directed by frequent Glover collaborator Hiro Murai. According to RCA Records, it is not the first single from his upcoming studio album.
The song features a gospel-style choir and background contributions from various American rappers. Young Thug, Slim Jxmmi, Blocboy JB, 21 Savage and Quavo each deliver an ad-lib. Young Thug returns to supply the song’s outro. The lyrics primarily address being black in the United States and gun violence in the country. It also touches on police brutality and slavery as well.
Directed by Hiro Murai, the music video for the song was released at the same time Gambino performed the song on Saturday Night Live.The video, released on YouTube, follows Gambino dancing through a warehouse, interacting with chaotic scenes going on in the background. Choreographed by Sherrie Silver, Gambino and his entourage of young dancers perform several viral dance moves including the South African Gwara Gwara and “Shoot” popularized by BlocBoy JB, who is one of the ad-lib contributors on the song.
Gambino’s dancing is contrasted against moments of violence. At one point in the video, Gambino shoots a man in the back of the head with a handgun, while assuming a comical stance similar to a Jim Crow caricature. At another point, he uses an automatic weapon to gun down a church choir, in an apparent reference to the 2015 Charleston church shooting. American singer SZA makes a cameo appearance towards the end of the video. The video ends with Gambino in a darkened portion of the warehouse, fearfully running towards the camera while being chased by a mob.
The video received over 10 million views in 24 hours and currently has over 49 million views.
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