Childish Gambino has released a new song, “This Is America.” It features background vocals from Young Thug, 21 Savage, Quavo, Rae Sremmurd’s Slim Jxmmi, and BlocBoy JB. Watch the accompanying music video below. Directed by “Atlanta” director Hiro Murai, the political and violent visual shows Glover dancing while chaotic scenes unfold. (SZA makes a cameo toward the end.)
The music video for the song is intense and magical. In it, an atypically sober Gambino starts out performing his normal, carefree persona — but the pace picks up, here are some things that happen in the video, in no particular order:.
- A shirtless Glover dances on a car.
- He shoots a choir and a guitarist.
- He does a synchronized dance with school kids while making eye contact with the camera.
- He does a sideways moonwalk.
- He lights a joint.
- He runs away, terrified.
Confronting us with abrupt, horrifying gun violence only to return to singing and dancing might seem like a heavy-handed reminder that the nation’s gun violence is a uniquely American epidemic. But Glover makes it work thanks to frequent collaborator Hiro Murai’s tight direction, as well as his own world-weary awareness that this is just how things are. “Don’t catch you slippin’ up,” cautions the man who previously reminded Black Americans to stay woke. In the end, as the song reminds us over an image of Glover’s frantic face as he flees the scene, he’s “just a black man” — running for his life in America.