Donald Glover interprets his version of pain in “This Is America” Video

Glover dropped the music video to the single overnight. In it, an atypically sober Gambino starts out performing his normal, carefree persona — but punctuates the show by intermittently taking out guns and mowing down the other carefree artists around him.

Throughout the video, Gambino seems to be referencing a number of recent flashpoints involving police brutality, white supremacy, and racialized violence: the lynching of black men; the Charleston shooting; the Black Lives Matter protests. “Imma go into this,” he sings, even as he clearly seems fed up with the entire conversation around gun violence, race, and policing in America.Glover dropped the music video to the single overnight.

In it, an atypically sober Gambino starts out performing his normal, carefree persona — but punctuates the show by intermittently taking out guns and mowing down the other carefree artists around him. Throughout the video, Gambino seems to be referencing a number of recent flashpoints involving police brutality, white supremacy, and racialized violence: the lynching of black men; the Charleston shooting; the Black Lives Matter protests. “Imma go into this,” he sings, even as he clearly seems fed up with the entire conversation around gun violence, race, and policing in America.

As Glover moves between sections, the mood shifts from benign and melodic to ominous and violent, with the stark chorus, “This is America!” heightening the contrast. There are blink-and-you’ll-miss-them references to Black Lives Matter, the Charlottesville protests, police shootings, terrorism, the Civil Rights Era, and on and on. It is difficult to even enumerate all of the references, especially the swirl of dance moves that move through the frame, a kaleidoscopic mix ranging from the Hustle to the African Gwara Gwara.

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