What You Might Have Missed In Childish Gambino’s ‘This Is America’ (ROTW)

That this particular jam was released a matter of days after Kanye’s now infamous quote on four hundred years of slavery being a ‘choice’, doesn’t seem like a coincidence but rather a perfectly timed release.

While speaking to TMZ, Kanye referenced slavery saying;

”When you hear about slavery for 400 years — for 400 years? That sounds like a choice. Like, you were there for 400 years and it’s all of you?”

Naturally, those comments have made Kanye the talk of the month, with everyone online (ordinary people and celebrities alike) talking about issues revolving around the existence of white supremacists and the oppression of people of color.

Since that has been the running conversation online, it would therefore seem appropriate that Childish Gambino, release ‘This Is America’, a jam that seems to encapsulate all of those issues in a thrilling, melodic and dance filled rap single.

Since Donald Glover has had quite the experience in writing and producing intelligent scripts for hit TV shows such as ‘Community’ and ‘Atlanta’, it’s really no surprise that he chooses clever imagery to pass on very important issues.

Directed by Hiro Murai, ‘This is America’ is a four minute long music video which I’ve so far learnt, has many hidden meanings. I’m now going to share the few that I managed to find out about in a short play by play.

Gun Violence;

Lyrics; ‘Guns in my area, I gotta carry ’em’

Throughout the video, Childish Gambino is seen shooting people but what you may have missed out on, is the fact that in each instance the gun he uses is taken away from him by someone who appears to be holding a cloth and treating the gun with the utmost care. For some, this is taken as a rhetoric on the ongoing battle on Gun Laws in America, where people have often felt that guns are treated a lot better than (in some cases) people.

 

 

Racism;

Lyrics: This is America, Don’t catch you slippin up.

If there’s one thing you definitely note right off the bat with this music video, it’s that while there is all this dancing happening, there is also a lot of chaos going on around the whole time. One YouTube reviewer cited that it may have been a reference to black America being acknowledged only in terms of its contribution to urban culture e.g. through dance, all while the main issues that affect them (i.e. police brutality, gun violence etc) take the back seat.

Also at the start of the video, Childish Gambino shoots his first victim while assuming a comical stance, that was quickly turned into this meme, which I happened upon on Snoop Dogg’s instagram.

The thing is though, this ‘comical stance’ was believe it or not, a historical reference to Jim Crow.

 

 

Wikipedia.

Jim Crow — definition — a theater character by Thomas D. Rice and an ethnic depiction in accordance with contemporary Caucasian ideas of African-Americans and their culture.

Jim Crow laws were state and local laws that enforced racial segregation in the Southern United States.

Seen in the video, this depiction is probably the strongest and loudest reference to racism. In the video, Childish Gambino makes erratic face movements that from research, were the same facial expressions that white actors (in black face) would make as a mockery of what they thought the then freed African-American slaves looked like and behaved.

 

Homage to music and dance made by Africans and African Americans;

The jam itself houses ad libs by some of raps iconic names from Young Thug, to 21 Savage, and in the video, it is being said that Childish Gambino’s choice to be shirtless wearing only two chains is an homage to Fela Kuti. 

Also, yes. Childish Gambino absolutely bodies the Shoki and the Gwara Gwara in ‘This Is America’, both of which are popular African dances.

Suicide;

Not too long ago, Logic and Alessia Cara graced our Record of the Week with the jam whose title was a suicide hotline number. Perhaps referencing mental health and how America is plagued by the sheer number of suicide victims, at 2:13, there is a man who is seen to be leaping to his death all while the singing and the dancing continues.

Bible reference;

The fact that this four minute long video even had time to feature a bible reference is to me, the actual testament to Childish Gambino’s epic story telling and producing skills.

In the book of Revelation, there is a verse that states; 

Then I looked and saw a pale horse. Its rider’s name was Death, and Hades followed close behind.

Hades was the Greek god of the underworld (hell). Like earlier mentioned, there are plenty of hidden messages in the video and the fact that at 2:36, there is a hooded figure riding a white horse while a police car follows behind, might be the imagery that reflects that particular bible verse.

 

Truth be told, there are many more messages one can find in the video to ‘This Is America’, a video that has currently garnered (as of today) over forty million views in under a week.

What can definitely be said and applauded though, is the stark difference between the amount of black history and current information that Childish Gambino seems to have, and the lack thereof when it comes to Kanye West’s recent comments about slavery.

As it’s now your record of the week (ROTW), here is the music video to ‘This is America’ (Which will be followed by the song’s lyrics.)

 

LYRICS TO ‘THIS IS AMERICA’ BY CHILDISH GAMBINO
 
 
Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah
Yeah, yeah, yeah, go, go away
Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah
Yeah, yeah, yeah, go, go away
Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah
Yeah, yeah, yeah, go, go away
Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah
Yeah, yeah, yeah, go, go away

We just wanna party
Party just for you
We just want the money
Money just for you
I know you wanna party
Party just for me
Girl, you got me dancin’ (yeah, girl, you got me dancin’)
Dance and shake the frame
We just wanna party (yeah)
Party just for you (yeah)
We just want the money (yeah)
Money just for you (you)
I know you wanna party (yeah)
Party just for me (yeah)
Girl, you got me dancin’ (yeah, girl, you got me dancin’)
Dance and shake the frame (you)

This is America
Don’t catch you slippin’ up
Don’t catch you slippin’ up
Look what I’m whippin’ up
This is America (woo)
Don’t catch you slippin’ up
Don’t catch you slippin’ up
Look what I’m whippin’ up

This is America (skrrt, skrrt, woo)
Don’t catch you slippin’ up (ayy)
Look at how I’m livin’ now
Police be trippin’ now (woo)
Yeah, this is America (woo, ayy)
Guns in my area (word, my area)
I got the strap (ayy, ayy)
I gotta carry ’em
Yeah, yeah, I’ma go into this (ugh)
Yeah, yeah, this is guerilla (woo)
Yeah, yeah, I’ma go get the bag
Yeah, yeah, or I’ma get the pad
Yeah, yeah, I’m so cold like yeah (yeah)
I’m so dope like yeah (woo)
We gon’ blow like yeah (straight up, uh)

Ooh-ooh-ooh-ooh-ooh, tell somebody
You go tell somebody
Grandma told me
Get your money, Black man (get your money)
Get your money, Black man (get your money)
Get your money, Black man (get your, Black man)
Get your money, Black man (get your, Black man)
Black man

This is America (woo, ayy)
Don’t catch you slippin’ up (woo, woo, don’t catch you slippin’, now)
Don’t catch you slippin’ up (ayy, woah)
Look what I’m whippin’ up (Slime!)
This is America (yeah, yeah)
Don’t catch you slippin’ up (woah, ayy)
Don’t catch you slippin’ up (ayy, woo)
Look what I’m whippin’ up (ayy)

Look how I’m geekin’ out (hey)
I’m so fitted (I’m so fitted, woo)
I’m on Gucci (I’m on Gucci)
I’m so pretty (yeah, yeah)
I’m gon’ get it (ayy, I’m gon’ get it)
Watch me move (blaow)
This a celly (ha)
That’s a tool (yeah)
On my Kodak (woo, Black)
Ooh, know that (yeah, know that, hold on)
Get it (get it, get it)
Ooh, work it (21)
Hunnid bands, hunnid bands, hunnid bands (hunnid bands)
Contraband, contraband, contraband (contraband)
I got the plug en Oaxaca (woah)
They gonna find you that blocka (blaow)

Ooh-ooh-ooh-ooh-ooh, tell somebody
America, I just checked my following list and
You go tell somebody
You mothafuckas owe me
Grandma told me
Get your money, Black man (Black man)
Get your money, Black man (Black man)
Get your money, Black man (get your, Black man)
Get your money, Black man (get your, Black man)
Black man
One, two, get down
Ooh-ooh-ooh-ooh-ooh, tell somebody
You go tell somebody
Grandma told me, “Get your money”
Get your money, Black man (Black man)
Get your money, Black man (Black man)
Get your money, Black man (Black man)
Get your money, Black man (Black man)
Black man

You just a Black man in this world
You just a barcode, ayy
You just a Black man in this world
Drivin’ expensive foreigns, ayy
You just a big dawg, yeah
I kenneled him in the backyard
No probably ain’t life to a dog
For a big dog

Racist attacks against Beyonce’s performance at the CMA awards

So we are at the 50th anniversary of the Country music association awards that went down on Wednesday night (of course I know we weren’t, but just pretend we were because Beyonce was performing, right?) so with a giant band and brass section, Lemonade star Beyonce is singing “Daddy Lessons,” the southern-fried track from her latest album, “Lemonade,” going the uncrowded extra mile to give it that country vibe to befit the event and even throwing in a section of the American country music band, Dixie Chicks’ own “Long Time Gone” in the middle and yes the Nashville crowd is excitedly on its feet (and I guess we would be too-heck I was dancing while I watched it) meanwhile,  some unhappy viewers took to social media and threw all kinds of shade at the performance to the point of even being racist! I know right?

“Why are you showing Beyoncé & Dixie Chicks? One doesn’t believe in America & our police force while the other didn’t support our President & veterans during war,” one commenter wrote on Facebook, alluding to each act’s past political moments.

Another added: “Neither are country, and Beyoncé could not be bothered to put some clothes on for the occasion.” Beyoncé, according to one common sentiment, “isn’t even what country represents.”

tweets-on-beys-perfomance

haters

(Last year’s pop-crossover at the C.M.A.s, with Justin Timberlake and Chris Stapleton, was far less polarizing.)

Beyonce has been the subject of red state hate ever since her #BlackLivesMatter-inspired Super Bowl performance in February, which some clueless viewers called “cop-hating” and “racist” against whites. 

The Beyhive (Beyonces avid fans) was of course not going to just let this slide; they took to the CMA awards social media platforms and sting they sure did!

the awards show now finds itself at the center of a racism row, accused of “whitewashing” the event, after seemingly folding to viewer criticism and removing all trace of the Beyonce/Dixie Chicks performance from their Facebook, Twitter and YouTube sites, as well as the ceremony’s official list of confirmed performers. 

The clips have since reappeared on the CMA’s Facebook page – but so have the nasty comments, decrying both Beyonce’s “pop trash” and her support of Black Lives Matter and, sheesh, “killing cops”. And yes CMA has issued a statement saying what they brought down was just a promo that had still not been approved of.

While Beyonce’s remained relatively quiet on the whole sorry fallout, the Dixie Chicks offered a pointed comment to detractors.

dixies-reply

 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=a_5xxA5zBSs

Regardless, that performance was yee-ha lit!

 

August Alsina Joins The Black Lives Matter Protest

We know August Alsina for some of music’s great hits like no love which featured Nicki Minaj but now we see him stepping out in a different positive light. A few hours ago, he joined the Black Lives Matter movement at the Baton Rouge protest in Louisiana. He posted pictures of his interaction with Alton Sterling’s aunt and many more while there.

AltonSterling's Aunt & The Store Owner who watched this tragedy play out. 2 People of God with Amazing strength.... but just because we're strong doesn't mean we don't hurt. 💔 Photo Cred: @bmike2c
AltonSterling’s Aunt & The Store Owner who watched this tragedy play out. 2 People of God with Amazing strength…. but just because we’re strong doesn’t mean we don’t hurt. 💔
Photo Cred: @bmike2c

For those of you who are still in the dark, Alton Sterling was a black man who was confronted by two police officers in Baton Rouge before being shot to death.  His death caused a spark of protests against police violence around the world and it’s now under investigation. It’s comforting to see that celebrities are using their influence to speak out on such issues and are coming out to support such causes.

 

august-alsina-at-baton-rouge-protest-01-christal_rock
Here in Baton Rouge ✊🏾 Every one of you stood so TALL!

@augustalsina