Donald Glover aka Childish Gambino double headlined as a host and musical guest of “Saturday Night Live” last night (April 5, 2018) and reflecting his skill for multi-tasking, appeared in everyone of the show’s skits.
During SNL’s Kanye-themed skit, Glover dropped a video for “This Is America,” a single that includes vocal contributions by Young Thug, 21 Savage, Quavo, Rae Sremmurd’s Slim Jxmmi and BlocBoy JB.
Directed by frequent “Atlanta” director Hior Murai, the music opens with an upbeat spiritual chorus and acoustic guitar riff that’s upended not long after by the song’s ominous-sounding hook.
Tapping into the same theme of juxtaposition, relentlessly happy back-up dancers wearing school uniforms perform popular black-originated dance moves (BlocBoy JB’s Shoot, plus the Nene and Gwara Gwara are three) with scenes in which a shirtless and a seemingly crazed Glover picks up a gun and shockingly guns down defenseless individuals, shooting a hooded man with his back to Glover and using a semi-automatic to take down a church choir (no doubt a reference to the 2015 massacre at the Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in Charleston, South Carolina). In both instances, the guns are carefully cradled and removed from the scene while the victims are dragged off or left unattended.
The movie closes with Glover running for his life, chased by a mob of white people. It’s worth noting the video is filled with extras of all colors and includes police officers who don’t seem to accomplish much of anything other than adding to the chaos. Look for an extra with a red (Supreme?) money gun (01:30), a group on a elevated platform passively filming the whirling chaos below on their phones (02:27), and a white horse and hooded rider (02:34).
There are sure to be additional cameos (it appears
Trayvon’s father, Tracy Martin, artist/musician Calvin the Second is the guitar player who opens the video), but for sure there’s a SZA spotting at 03:20.
Glover has said to expect a new album sometime in 2018, his final effort making use of the Childish Gambino name.
Check out “This Is America” below.