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  • This is America

  • - Childish Gambino's This Is America has become

  • an overnight cultural phenomenon.

  • And, it's definitely the kind of video

  • you have to watch more than once.

  • Throughout the piece, Gambino plays the

  • complex role of America herself, from violence,

  • to the use of entertainment as a distraction.

  • He's playing both the caricature and the ring leader.

  • The internet was quick to pick up

  • tons of hidden messages that were

  • scattered throughout the video.

  • Here's some that you might've missed.

  • The first scene opens up on a black man

  • walking up to a guitar in an empty warehouse.

  • He looks a lot like Treyvon Martin's father,

  • but, contrary to popular belief,

  • it's actually L.A. artist Calvin the Second.

  • Gambino comes into view wearing pants and shoes

  • that Twitter users have linked to old confederate uniforms.

  • He's also wearing two small gold chains,

  • a double entendre for physical bondage

  • and obsession with consumerism.

  • He dances with exaggerated movements and facial expressions.

  • He moves closer to the seated man,

  • who no longer has his guitar,

  • and has a bag covering his head.

  • (gun shot)

  • This is America

  • - The song's first bridge talks about how

  • entertainment media is serving as a

  • distraction from bigger issues at hand.

  • The girl here represents America,

  • and the frame here, represents real life

  • injustices that are happening.

  • Shaking the frame distorts and blurs what's really going on.

  • Dear White People creator Justin Simien

  • was quick to point out on Twitter that

  • the movements and expressions Gambino does

  • seem to be modeled after Jim Crow.

  • This caricature was commonly used

  • as a reference in minstrel show in the 18 and 1900s,

  • where white actors would perform in blackface

  • and act out black stereotypes.

  • Listen here you won't let me speak

  • Don't you know the Suwannee River is a dried up creek

  • Come on and carry me home

  • - Many also noted that aside from dances from viral videos,

  • one specific dance they're doing is the Gwara Gwara,

  • which originated in South Africa.

  • This could be a possible nod to similarities

  • between racism in America and South Africa's apartheid.

  • On the flip side, some have interpreted

  • the dancing as a method of survival.

  • The dancers are dancing with Gambino,

  • who's playing America, and they're never injured.

  • Many on Twitter have cited that America

  • has a tendency to applaud for black culture,

  • while turning their backs to the issues we face.

  • Whether the dancing is used to numb the pain,

  • gain social media followers, or simply survive,

  • his movements are a literal and figurative

  • distraction from the chaos in the background.

  • The hooded man riding the white horse seen here,

  • is a biblical symbol for the apocalypse.

  • The only elements of the video that shock you

  • out of Gambino's trance like movements is the shootings.

  • At face value, the murders are nods

  • to modern day American gun violence.

  • The second verse is preluded with a happy choir,

  • who's gunned down by Gambino.

  • It's impossible not to draw parallels

  • with the Charleston church shooting,

  • which was found to be racially motivated.

  • But, a slightly less noticeable symbol

  • was the care in which the guns

  • were handled after each shooting.

  • The guns were wrapped in red cloth with care.

  • Many online have inferred that this represents

  • how Red America values guns over human lives.

  • While all this violence is taking place in the warehouse,

  • which looks eerily similar to a prison, Gambino says,

  • This could have a double meaning.

  • One, how cell phones are being used

  • as tools to document this brutality.

  • Or two, celly could mean cell block,

  • a commonly used tool to unjustly keep

  • blacks in a cycle of incarceration.

  • The final scenes of the video show Gambino

  • and SZA surrounded by old stagnant cars,

  • still inside the closed off warehouse.

  • Twitter was quick to point out that this scene

  • represents lack of progression and forward movement.

  • The video ends with Gambino running like hell,

  • doing everything in his power to escape.

  • It's as if he's snapped out of America's spell

  • and is doing everything he can to find a way out.

  • Are there any other hidden messages we might've missed?

  • Let us know in the comments below.

This is America

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Hidden Meanings Behind Childish Gambino's 'This Is America' Video Explained

  • 141 10
    Samuel posted on 2018/05/16
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