Over the weekend, Donald Glover, aka Childish Gambino, took the internet by storm with the release of his new single "This is America." First previewing the track on SNL, the rapper then premiered the Hiro Murai-directed music video which includes several references to significant events within past and recent history.

Shot in a fluid format, the music video balances well-choreographed moments amid scenes of brutal violence, including the use of guns, physical harm, and even suicide. Both the lyrics and visuals take a hard-hitting stance on violence and race relations within the U.S., while ultimately speaking to how they're downplayed, romanticized, or even ignored.

Notably, "This is America" marks the artist's first release since his  2016 album Awaken My Love, which featured the lead single "Redbone." In light of the new track and its accompanying four-minute visual, we've compiled a list of ideas and concepts you may have missed.

First, re-watch the video below.

Guns are valued more than people

"This Is America" graphically depicts gun violence, with some claiming the video, in certain scenes, is trying to convey how firearms are treated with more respect than human lives. In the opening scenes, Glover shoots an unnamed person, execution style. In the following frame, the gun is carried off in a special cloth by a well-dressed man while the lifeless body is dragged away. Each time someone is shot, this same process takes place.

Terrorism as a growing threat

Similarly, the video points out the consistent presence of firearms when it comes to acts of terror. In addition to the aforementioned execution scene, the above shot, where members of a choir are singing, could be pointing to the 2015 Charleston Church Massacre. Here, the video potentially stresses that death by gun violence is not a one-off occurrence, more so when it comes to black Americans.

Notably before their death, the choir repeatedly sings, "Grandma told me/Get your money black man," which has been attributed to religion's encouragement of material obsession.

The return of Jim Crow

During the Jim Crow era – which legally enforced racial segregation in the South – minstrel shows and blackface were not uncommon. Here, some have drawn parallels between Gambino's movements and that of an old Jim Crow poster.

The significance of dancing

Following suit, the video includes references to several popular dances both in the U.S. and across Africa. The South African Gwara Gwara and Blocboy JB's dance flag are included while people riot in the background. This could be read as how people happily adopt black culture but turn a blind eye to the violence that affects black people.

Biblical references

In the Bible, Revelations 6:8 (KJV) reads: "And I looked, and behold a pale horse: and the name that sat on him was Death, and Hell followed with him." According to the scripture, the appearance of four horsemen signifies the oncoming apocalypse – with death represented by the final, white one. Unbeknownst to Gambino and his dancers, a white horse and a cop car appear in the corner of the frame.

SZA cameo

On a lighter note, TDE's SZA also makes an appearance in the video. The singer can be seen sitting on a car on the right in one of the end scenes.

Ad libs and features

A select group of artists are credited on the song. According to genius, "This is America" features adlibs from 21 Savage, Young Thug, BlocBoy JB, Rae Sremmurd's Slim Jxmmi and Migos' Quavo.

The Sunken Place

Last but not least, Gambino also makes a reference to Jordan Peele's Get Out. The film – which also featured Gambino's song "Redbone" – notably introduced the theory of the "sunken place," in which marginalized people are aware of the violence that surrounds them, yet are powerless to stop it.

What are your thoughts on the video? Sound off in the comments below.

Elsewhere, Donald Glover is set to play Lando Calrissian in Solo: A Star Wars Story dropping in theaters May 25.

What To Read Next

  • Image on Highsnobiety

    Telfar Has a New It-Bag in the Works

    Style
  • Image on Highsnobiety

    RIP Gawker (2023 Edition)

    Culture
  • Image on Highsnobiety

    Balenciaga Will Show at Paris Fashion Week

    Style
  • Image on Highsnobiety

    MSCHF's WD-40 Cologne Is the Workwear of Fragrance

    Style
  • Image on Highsnobiety

    EXCLUSIVE: Engineered Garments FW23: The Great Outdoors Demand Great Clothes

    Style
  • Image on Highsnobiety

    Seth Rogen Is Included in His $42/Night Airbnb Rental

    Culture
*If you submitted your e-mail address and placed an order, we may use your e-mail address to inform you regularly about similar products without prior explicit consent. You can object to the use of your e-mail address for this purpose at any time without incurring any costs other than the transmission costs according to the basic tariffs. Each newsletter contains an unsubscribe link. Alternatively, you can object to receiving the newsletter at any time by sending an e-mail to info@highsnobiety.com

Web Accessibility Statement

Titelmedia (Highsnobiety), is committed to facilitating and improving the accessibility and usability of its Website, www.highsnobiety.com. Titelmedia strives to ensure that its Website services and content are accessible to persons with disabilities including users of screen reader technology. To accomplish this, Titelmedia has engaged UsableNet Inc, a leading web accessibility consultant to help test, remediate and maintain our Website in-line with the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG), which also bring the Website into conformance with the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990.

Disclaimer

Please be aware that our efforts to maintain accessibility and usability are ongoing. While we strive to make the Website as accessible as possible some issues can be encountered by different assistive technology as the range of assistive technology is wide and varied.

Contact Us

If, at any time, you have specific questions or concerns about the accessibility of any particular webpage on this Website, please contact us at accessibility@highsnobiety.com, +49 (0)30 235 908 500. If you do encounter an accessibility issue, please be sure to specify the web page and nature of the issue in your email and/or phone call, and we will make all reasonable efforts to make that page or the information contained therein accessible for you.