That's Not Trayvon Martin's Dad In Childish Gambino's "This Is America" Video

Tonya Becker
May 8, 2018

The accompanying music video for the more serious "This Is America" dropped online shortly before the episode aired. But, above all, Gambino questions how easily we ignore the devastating consequences of such systemic issues for superficial distractions.

On '... America', the "Stay Woke" bumper sticker has given way to the driving force of Glover's legitimate cultural critique.

Its video amassed 10m views in only 24 hours and has been celebrated by Erykah Badu, Janelle Monáe, Trent Reznor and others as one of 2018's best: a brilliantly choreographed bit of theatre in a vast warehouse, as Glover dances around an escalating riot, ending up with a complex dissection of gun violence and American racism.


Then, it happens again as he opens fire on an entire choir of gospel singers. But as protests, police clashes and chaos ensue in the background, he continues to sing oblivious to his environment.

From sketches that tackled America's obsession with Kanye West's Twitter feed to a hilarious take on diversity in sci-fi films, Glover made his mark.

After Glover, who acts as an armed murderer in the video, shoots his first victim, he hands his gun off to a man wearing a white polo in dress trousers, who wraps the gun in a red cloth while the victim is pulled dragged away by the arms. Despite frequent gun-related tragedies and subsequent national debates over gun control, the NRA and gun owners only seem to hug their semi-automatic rifles tighter and spout the Second Amendment louder. This definitely won't be the last we hear from him. This is a jarring listen punctuated by sweeping structural and sonic dissonance: handsome, choral folk melodies are carefully gestated and then cut abruptly, substituted for surgical, sonicboom bass pulses and Gambino's harsh verse. Its jarring universe is redolent of "The Sunken Place" in Jordan Peele's 2017 social horror-thriller Get Out. "This Is America" references numerous country's recent mass shootings from the Charleston, SC church shootings to Florida's Stoneman Douglas High School.


While many were busy laughing it up at his broadcast sketches, the 34-year-old Atlanta creator and star unveiled a music video for This Is America, one of two tracks he premiered live on the late-night live television variety show.

This is not your ordinary, run-of-the-mill music video with flashy cars and flashing money.

This the first new music he released since 2016's Grammy-nominated album "Awaken, My Love!".


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