Childish Gambino’s ‘This Is America’ Video, Explained

Childish Gambino took the internet by tornado this weekend using the release of his new single  “ This really is America ” and its associated songs video   loaded with haunting images of black oppression plus gun violence.

Fans unpacked the particular subtle references on Twitter, numerous proclaiming the rapper, whose actual name is Donald Glover , probably the most important voices of this generation.

ICYMI, below are some of the most talked-about references within “ This Is America, ” to be able of appearance in the video.  

Calvin The Second

Childish Gambino/YouTube

Viewers at first confused actor and musician Calvin The Second, who plays the guitar player in the video’ s opening chance, for the father of Trayvon Matn, the unarmed black teenager photo to death in Florida this year by George Zimmerman.

Calvin The 2nd verified his appearance in the video   Sunday on Instagram: “ Got the call from one of our agents while up at Coachella that they wanted me for the capture on Sunday, drove down plus got to be a part of history. ”


Childish Gambino/YouTube

“ This Is America” is placed entirely in a drab warehouse, which usually some viewers interpreted as the country’ s foundation, built on systemic white supremacy and oppression.

“ Much of this seems to take place in the building/warehouse where the foundation and assistance systems (the beams) are mostly whitened, ” tweeted @JarridGreen .

Some experienced Childish Gambino fans  pointed out similarities to his 2011 “ Geek and Geeks” music video, which usually also takes place in a warehouse.

Fela Kuti

Getty Images/Vevo

The video features a shirtless Childish Gambino donning a precious metal chain necklace and trousers that provide off a ’ 70s feel. His look appears to be inspired with the late Fela Kuti, a Nigerian musician dubbed  “ Africa’ s answer to Wirtschaft ” by one artistry critic.

“ Fela Kuti reverberates in Childish Gambino’ s entire body, ” civil rights activist Michael Skolnik   wrote of the movie on Twitter. “ It is artwork at its highest form. Nevertheless in awe. ”

Some recommended Childish Gambino’ s look had been the nod to the late Richard Pryor , the legendary comedian plus social critic. Others noted the particular similarities between his pants as well as a Confederate soldier’ s standard.

African dance

Followers were obsessed with Childish Gambino’ ersus nod to African dances, which includes Shoki and Gwara Gwara , a method of dance popularized in S. africa (and featured in Rihanna’ s 2018 Grammys performance ).

“ Childish Gambino reeks of skill, ” tweeted @muchman16 . “ We loved the part where these kids danced shoki and gwara gwara. ”

Others pointed out exactly how dance trends can distract in the life-or-death situations affecting black neighborhoods.

“ Childish Gambino’ s #ThisIsAmerica spoke to me as a black Southern African women, ” tweeted @Cpaw2 . “ Women being hunted plus killed while society does the particular gwara gwara. ”

Jim Crow

Justin Simien, the filmmaker at the rear of “ Dear White People, ” messaged a “ appreciate letter” to the video on Weekend, breaking down its searing use of Jim Crow imagery.

“ Rick Crow began as one of the first matches of white American culture to deal with it’ s former African slaves (and their descendants) at all, ” Simien wrote. “ A minstrelsy mainstay played by white males in black face, and occasionally by black men in dark face. ”

“ Jim Crow began as mere pop tradition entertainment at the expense of America’ s freed slaves and grew to become the means of their oppression, ” he continued, noting that the character’ s name was eventually given to laws enforcing racial segregation in the U. S.

America’ ersus gun obsession

Childish Gambino/YouTube

Each time Idiotic Gambino fires a gun in “ This Is America, ” he fingers it off to someone who whisks it away in a red material. Viewers interpreted these scenes like a reference to Americans’ willingness to protect weapon rights over people, despite the country’ s alarmingly high rates associated with gun violence.

“ Because this will be America, ” tweeted @Shugah . “ We shoot up schools, churches, one another and then we place the guns tenderly in a cloth to protect them. And after that we dance. ”


A single viewer suggested the apparent committing suicide scene points to a pervasive psychological illness stigma plaguing the African-American community.

“ Does the man bouncing to his death that will go largely unnoticed because of Gambino’ t dancing serve as a reminder that will suicide & poor mental wellness in the African American community is being disregarded, ” asked  @JuelzKojoey   on Tweets.

Charleston massacre

Childish Gambino/YouTube

One of the most troubling scenes in “ This Is America” features an all-black church choir getting shot up with an assault-style gun. The massacre appears to be a mention of the the 2015 mass shooting in a church in Charleston, South Carolina, where a white gunman killed nine dark churchgoers.

“ Childish Gambino actually made a reference to the Charleston church shooting that happened within 2015, ” tweeted @EmanThatKid . “ He shows how mass shootings are normalized in America, even if you capturing up a place of worship. ”

Viral videos of police violence and racism

Childish Gambino/YouTube

In one picture, black teenagers use their cell phones to record the chaos unfolding below, as their mouths appear to be included in a white material.

Some audiences believed this to be a reference to the particular rise of viral videos associated with police brutality and racist activities to overcome the metaphorical muzzling of black people in a whitened supremacist system.

“ Kids are noticed recording everything on their phones, referencing the use of livestreams in police shootings as a means of documenting and discussing the truth, ” tweeted @thelocalemo . “ Gambino’ s lyrics state, ‘ this is a celly, that’ s an instrument. ’ ”

White horse

Childish Gambino/YouTube

It’ s easy to miss the particular white stallion galloping by within the background on the first viewing associated with “ This Is America. ” On closer look, viewers pointed in order to biblical references of a “ soft horse” heralding the apocalypse, which usually largely goes unnoticed by the figures dancing in the foreground of the movie.

Karen Civil, a social media plus marketing guru, pointed out the particular passage from the Bible’ s Guide of Revelation: “ And I appeared, and behold a pale equine: and his name that sat upon him was Death, and Heck followed with him. ”

Visitors stop killings

Childish Gambino/YouTube

Toward the finish of the video, Childish Gambino dances atop a red car encircled by other decades-old cars using their hazard lights flashing and doorways open.

Viewers drew connections towards the black men routinely killed simply by police during traffic stops, which includes Philando Castile in Mn in 2016.

“ Do a great deal of those cars…   have their motorists side doors open and risks on cause they’ re representational of the cars of all the people stopped and killed by the police? ” pondered Twitter user @giddy_pony .

Other people found economic symbolism within the ocean of beat-up cars.

“ I’ m having a 4 am titles procrastination epiphany that the mostly left, vacant cars in #ThisIsAmerica mention of the the stalled socioeconomic and politics mobility of Black people in America, ” messaged @izaynab .


Childish Gambino/YouTube

R& B singer SZA made an appearance within “ This Is America, ” delivering her fans into a frenzy. Audiences noted the similarities between the girl hairstyle and the Statue of Liberty’ s crown.

SZA appeared to verify the Lady Liberty theories Sunday on Instagram .


A posting shared by SZA (@sza) on

The particular Sunken Place

Those who have seen the film “ Obtain Out” likely picked up on the eerie vibes at the end of the video as Idiotic Gambino attempts to escape the stockroom. It reminded many of “ the particular Submerged Place ” seen in the particular 2017 film, the mental room where the main character Chris will go after he’ s been brainwashed, unable to control his body.

“ The Sunken Place means we’ re marginalized, ” Jordan Peele, the movie’ s director, described on Twitter in March 2017. “ No matter how hard we shout, the system silences us. ”

Daniel Kaluuya, who played Chris within “ Get Out, ” introduced Idiotic Gambino’ s performance of “ This Is America” on “ Sunday Night Live. ”  


Twitter user @_mikepearson suggested “ This Is America” features over a number of improvised lines from mostly dark artists, including Kendrick Lamar plus Offset.  

However ,   Complex pointed out that the streaming music assistance Tidal only lists Young Thug, 21 Savage, Quavo, Slim Jxmmi and BlocBoy JB as contributing factors on the song.