Childish Gambino
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Region: Published: May 10, 2018  Updated: May 10, 2018 at 6:37 pm EST

Donald Glover aka Childish Gambino produced “This is America,” a song that attempts to define our country by gun violence. Donald Glover, star of the FX comedy “Atlanta” created the song in his hip-hop alter ego.

The trending music video has gathered over 63 million views in less than a week, and the symbolism present brought forth a cultural debate over what defines our country. Gun control advocates would have the world at large view our country as ignorant, out of control and careless, and that is precisely what Childish Gambino portrayed in his most recent viral song.

As the video begins, a man comes out to an empty parking lot with only a chair and a guitar. The chorus sounds colorful like a fun child’s song but picks up the intensity as the bridge kicks in. “We Just wanna party…we just want the money…girl, you got me dancin,'” he sings as he dances his way over to the man from the opening scene who is now bound and hooded in a chair. Gambino poses and shoots him without a thought proclaiming, “This is America.”

The reckless nature of Gambino’s actions in the video makes the statement that in America, life isn’t valued, that guns are taking lives, and the old way of music with guitars is out, and Gambino’s kool-aid is in. A man runs out with a red cloth in his hands that Gambino places the gun on before dancing away. Behind him people scurry out, dragging the body away, and cleaning up as if saying that people aren’t being held responsible for murder.

The attack on the second amendment along with the argument for gun control has been hotly debated since the Parkland shooting. Childish Gambino is only increasing the public perception that Americans, don’t deserve gun rights. The good and the bad of African American culture is shown, with the central character Childish Gambino continuing the representation of black men as violent, as we so often see in the media.

Crimes like those shown happen every day at every level of society, but the answer to eliminating the socio-cultural problem of gang and gun violence is not to remove the weapons. Colion Noir of NRAtv interviewed inner-city Americans on their views regarding gun violence. Speaking on March for Our lives the interviewer makes the point that a tragic incident happened in a protected community and billionaires reacted by sending students from around the country to a march and concert.

A teacher explains that if the same thing had occurred in the inner city, it would have been a different situation. She’s concerned that her right to defend herself, her staff, and her students will be taken. “I take it personally that my rights should never be touched as far as what I can utilize to prevent a mass murder,” she says. A student explains the reality of rape and sex crimes that exist where she lives and that the right to carry prevents such attacks. She isn’t alone, according to Gary Kleck in Targeting Guns, the fastest growing group of gun owners is women.

Frequently, those whose lives are most impacted by gun violence are not the ones propagating gun control. Celebrities like those who attended March for Our Lives are producing music videos that make statements not only to their fans, but to the world that America is out of control, and why?… According to them because we still have gun rights.

This isn’t the case. Second Amendment rights are valued because they were fought for by soldiers since the founding of America. Disgracefully, now citizens are so willing to turn them over not realizing that by doing that, history will only repeat. It’s contradictory for the left to say we need gun control while at the same time they are concerned Trump will create a dictatorship. Do they not know that the first step in every communist dictatorship has been to remove the rights of the people? Responsible gun owners need to remind everyone that it isn’t the gun creating the violence.

Firearms are used defensively roughly 2.5 million times per year, more than four times as many as criminal uses. This amounts to 2,575 lives protected for every life lost to a gun (Targeting Guns).

As the music video continues, school kids do a mix of tribal and hip-hop dancing behind him. A church choir is shown clapping and singing, “Get your money.” Gambino comes in, sings “black man” and shoots the church choir. While the church is focused on getting money, the culture surrounding it is slipping into demoralization that will persist with or without weapons if it isn’t treated at the source of the issue, salvation.

Surrounded by chaos, the singing, and ritualistic dancing continues serving as a numbing distraction from the rioting, looting, and violence shown behind them. The kids dance around Gambino until he is so numbed out and desensitized that he pulls a gun on them too. That’s when Gambino gets high and starts dancing atop cars. The camera shifts upward down a dark hallway, and the viewer feels like they can see inside Gambino’s mind. He runs frantically, eyes widening, and appearing animalistic showing that beneath his careless exterior is fear.

Is that our America? Is our America ignorant, demoralized, and foolish? Is our America so senseless that the people are fighting for our rights to be taken? Is our America one where the church is so concerned with wealth that they neglect those in the community that need love the most? Is our America one in which we run from those labeled by the media as dangerous? Just as “This is America” comes down to in the final scenes, the question is really, is our America based on fear, or is it based on love?

Works Cited

This is America. “Childish Gambino.” YouTube. . (2018): . . http://bit.ly/2Itc3Ed

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