Deep Sense Of The Song "This Is America" By Donald Glover

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America in recent years has been faced with an epidemic of police shooting young, innocent, black males for no apparent reason. In 2015 police in the united states killed 258 black people, of those 39 of them were unarmed.(Craven 1) This line can be a clear reference to the stereotype that police are “trippin” because they don’t like the idea of young, successful black men in their country, so they will find almost any reason to hurt them and their success. Near the end of the verse he says, “Yeah, yeah, I’ma go For a lot of successful music artists, they are able to cover up the negative parts of society with positive vibes in their beats making it catchy. Music artist Donald Glover better known as his stage name, Childish Gambino released the song “This is America”, May 5th 2018 that did just that.

The song “This is America” is about the oppression black people face living in America today, with Gambino playing America and all the dancing around him as a distraction to all of the violence black people have to deal with.The chorus of the song starts out with a choir singing, “Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah; Yeah, yeah, yeah, go, go away.” A choir singing in tune together can symbolize unity amongst a group of people coming together. In the bridge from the chorus to the first verse the song says, “Money just for you, I know you wanna party, Party just for free, Girl, you got me dancin’, Dance and shake the frame.” This has been ties to the thought of as social media being a blur to reality, where you see black people dancing with joy, distracting you from the black on black gang violence or countless police shootings.

“This is America” song has so much meaning to the dark side of America’s politics and broken system in just the choruses and it is continued into the verses as well. The first verse into this, Yeah, yeah, this is guerilla.” Guerilla is a term most recognizable to the Peninsula War in the early 19th century, when the smaller Spanish and Portuguese Army had to take on the larger Napoleonic Army, which symbolizes the less powerful black culture trying to rise above America’s police force as one.(Wikipedia 2) Furthermore, around the middle of the second verse says, “This a celly, That’s a tool, On my Kodak,” could be seen in a couple ways. The term “celly” can be used for a cell phone, which is alluding to the many times recently when cell phones have been used to record police brutality. When Gambino said this last line it also showed 3 teen boys, sitting in what looked like a prison on their phones. He then goes on to say, “Hunnid bands, hunnid bands, hunnid bands, Contraband, contraband, contraband, I got the plug in Oaxaca, They gonna find you like ‘blocka’.”

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The term “bands” is a reference to money, one band is usually a thousand dollars. While contraband can be anything illegal from drugs to guns that may or may not have been smuggled into the country. Then he says he has a plug in Oaxaca, a city in mexico, so he is saying he has a dealer in Mexico who smuggles him things from Mexico and he has bands to pay for it. When just looking at the lyrics of the song it is obvious this song has a deep meaning, but Gambino’s expressions shown in his dancing and face during the video are unique as well. It has been noted that a lot of Gambino’s movements have been intended to imitate those of Jim Crow. Simply Jim Crow laws can be described as, a number of laws requiring racial segregation in the United States. These laws were enforced in different states between 1876 and 1965.

One example Gambino showed Pedretti was when he shot the guy at the beginning of the video he was posed just like the famous photo of Jim Crow. The choreographer of music video is Sherrie Silver. “Silver is a creative director, dancer and actress originally from Rwanda, East Africa, on a mission to educate the world about African cultures through the art of dance.”(Jane 3) Sherrie did a fantastic job choreographing the dance, distracting viewers from most of the havoc happening around the dancing just like in the real world. The song “This is America” ends with Gambino being chased by a group of white men as he is running down a dark hallway which people related to the scene from the movie, “Get Out”, but that is for another day.


In conclusion, music has a deeper meaning than people really think. We discovered that today with the many different examples Donald Glover laid out for us in his hit song, “This is America.” For most people this is a catchy song that is patriotic and fun to listen to on the fourth of July. As we now know this song starts out very violent with Gambino killing a black man playing a guitar, then later killing a mass of young black people in a choir which we related to the horrible Charleston Church Shooting. A realization that the people killing black people in the streets are the ones promoting them on social media, shaking the frame of reality. Overall there is much more to music, whether it is in the video itself and or the lyrics, than they realize.

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