By: Creative Indaba



Donald Glover AKA “Childish Gambino” is a well known artist. He rapps, acts directs and sings. His music has won grammys and many other awards. He won the grammy for the song “Red  bone”. He also won film awards such as emmys, and Writers Guild of America.


“This is America”  song and video

Black on Black violence? Naaaa!

Let me break it down


Childish Gambino in this video wear two chains around his neck. There could be more than one meaning to that: bondage with black consumerism, or representing Atlanta, as Atlanta hip hop artist embrace two chains as their mark.

The close up’s focuses on His movement and dance, facial expressions showing like he’s in aggonny or enjoying and passionate of his actions.

As the video starts, a black man  who looks exactly like Trayvon Martin’s father sits in a chair playing a guitar. Trevon the 17 years old African American boy from Miami who was gunned down by a white man in 2012. Dressed up in white could meal clean and innocent.

The next moment, his head is covered with a white cloths and Childish Gambino shoots him in the head. He blows off his brains from back of the head. Looking close at his pose as he shoots him, The pose he makes as he shoots the man is of a caricature that was created in the 18 hundreds, 1828 to be precise, and  play by some “white people” in America dressed up and playing black and making fun of slaves. Typical black stereotype. It was called “Dancing the Jim Crow” by comedian TD Daddy Rice.


The song is a two way narration or a juxtaposition of what’s really happening in the society. There is a celebration and entertainment that is covering the real issues of these world.


He starts by dancing, and Just before he shoots the man, he uses the lyrics: “GIRL YOU GOT ME DANCING, DANCE TO SHAKE THE FRAME

Shaking the frame distorts the picture and hide what is really happening. The reality and the truth.


The girl he refers to in his lyrics, is a personification and represents  America. Besides that, on the background is what is really happening in the “world” or America.

Still looking close to his lyrics, “THIS IS CELLY, (HA) THAT’S A TOOL (YEA)”, He probably is referring to a man who was shot by cops in 2018 who was holding a cell phone instead, and the police shot him thinking his phone was a gun. That action is demonstrated by the kids in uniform sitting above and playing with their cell phone, or they are posting on social media.

Also if you look clearly, their mouths are covered up by respiratory musk because they never speak out.


Kids are dressed up in school uniform. This shows us of a young generation that is growing up under violence and also will become part of it. A kid standing on a car blowing up cash.

We noticed the dance styles he uses. He borrows a dance move known as “Gwaragwara” that originates in South Africa. The reason behind that could be the fact that South Africa also suffered apartheid and violence. Blacks being the victims.

Talk of the white horse running at the background. The bible describe it as the beginning of the apocalypse, signifies death.

After all the shooting he make, the AK 47 and hand gun are carefully wrapped up in red cloth, this could be a demonstration that guns and gun laws in America are valued more than black lives. The shooting of the choir could be a demonstration of a white guy who went on and open fire at a black church recently. 

He runs for his life at the end. They will do all it takes to get away with it, and they do.


By: Duncan Tshikovhi

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