Childish Gambino: This Is America

Written by Joshua Blue


In category: Song of the Day

Published October 5, 2018

British-American tenor Joshua Blue considers “What is America?” in this week’s songs.
Content Warning: All of the songs in this week’s collection contain strong language, and even stronger themes regarding the state of our nation. Content spans topics including, but not limited to: racism, immigration, police brutality, domestic terrorism, white supremacy, and intolerance.

Childish Gambino’s (Donald Glover) “This Is America” took the world by storm when it was released earlier this year. A look at years of American culture, packed tightly into an explosive 4 minute video, and portrayed through a series of overlapping scenes mostly relegated to the background of the music video. The video often shows you smiling faces, dancing, novelty, all while the background shows us burning cars, rioting, inactive bystanders, suicide, chaos. The possible meaning of every second, and every inch of the video has been scrutinized by everyone except for Gambino himself. It is possible that he wanted you to find the meaning in it yourself, and I wholeheartedly agree. Approach the music video with an open mind, and see what speaks loudest to you.


author: Joshua Blue

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British-American tenor and Toulmin Foundation Scholar Joshua Blue is a Domingo-Cafritz Young Artist with the Washington National Opera. Appearing previously in NYFOS’s Protest program in 2018 and 2018, as well as NYFOS Next, Mr. Blue returns to our Merkin Hall series on November 14 in W. C. Handy and the Birth of the Blues.


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