For many years, I have been one individual whose adrenaline pumps when I come in contact with controversial hidden messages in any work of art. I always do not let go, but tend to take a bite at the information I gather, then get pretty excited; just like what I recently came across on Instagram. The moment I saw that fifty-nine seconds clip; I drove myself to find what I can gather on Youtube. I was in awe at first, then I began to decode a few hidden significant meanings from first view.
Today, I am here to yap a little bit about Donald McKinley Glover Jr. also known as Childish Gambino. He is an American actor (major Character in the TV series- Atlanta), comedian, writer, director, producer, singer, songwriter, rapper, and of course a DJ. He strikes me as an eccentric character, and that is what has drawn me to him. He is different, and filled with a lot of information like the ‘awakened ones’.
*** *** *** *** ***
So, I have finally watched Childish Gambino’s THIS IS AMERICA up to 4 times or so, and I am still gathering information from the hidden meanings:
First my attention goes to the font in rage italic style this is America, and black background which shows its rough textured edge, from his shirtless body, grey confederate uniform pants, the yellow shoes, the eye-pop and Jim Crow pose, the first close range shot fired the guy whose head is shrouded in white and playing a guitar (this could be Richie Haven who improvised the song ‘Freedom’. It could that the black community’s cry for freedom may have been shot while they aren’t looking), the scarlet piece of clothe and maroon chair, the dancing students in grey and white (young people following his every step), and the masked people with their mobile phones (celly: a form of mind or social incarceration) that’s considered a weapon or tool and typing away their time and recording the chaos, the warehouse-like environment which also might look like a cell, the white and brown chickens (lily livered individuals who are not able to do anything, but just eat and watch) , the grey horse its rider and the police car towing behind it (a symbol of the apocalypse according to Revelation 6:8), the chaos in the background, the gayish mannerisms in his solo exaggerated dance steps, the gwara gwara dance in connection with South Africa… The struggle continues – apartheid? (embedded within too is a one-time popular shaku shaku Nigerian dance style… lol), the sneaking in to a church and shooting at the entire choir or students (the Charleston church shooting), the repeated verse “black man, get your money…” (entertainment and distraction), his hair shaped like the map of Africa (black man/racism), the guy that was thrown down from the first floor (murder), the circle dance (occult), the female voice in shrieking screams (continuous tears and pain), the daze mode and marijuana smoking, the dance step on the old model car, the chase in the end (payback time or an overwhelming situation that causes one to run from the problem without confrontation…?)
*** *** ***
What could these statements mean…?
“This is America. Don’t catch you slippin’ up” – Staying awake to the happenings?
“Look at what I am whippin’ up…” – Gun violence?
“Police be trippin now. woo!” – Police brutality
“This is America; look how I am kinky now. I am so pretty” – the black nation, and focus on beauty
“on the Benz, on the Benz, on the Benz. contraband, contraband, contraband” – Stagnation
“Girl you got me shaking… shaking the frame” – America in an uncontrolled state of chaos
I think this entire video is portraying the black struggle stage in which America has come from, especially with the recent gun violence, which is very much prevalent at this level in its society. What happens when you have access to a gun and you are the bad guy? A lot of things will go wrong. There will be murder rates going on the rise at all times. This might also be the major reason for the ‘Gun control’ advocacy.
I believe Childish Gambino has succeeded in awakening the inner mind of America as a unifying, yet divided body. Like I always say, “America is a country that eats its own.” several thousands of miles back here, as other black Africans, we may not understand that there is gross porosity that has made this nation a ‘danger zone’ (not that I don’t like America, I do) for many who are in dwellers. The black community suffers this the most because there is the ability to be distracted by everything that that has been happening, especially the crave for fame in the entertainment industry, the crave for money, the excitement of gun carrying signature, etc.
In line with what popular Nigerian Afrobeats King- Fela Anikolapo Kuti said in his song “zombie o, zombie”, “suffering and smiling”, and one of Nigeria’s foremost lyricists- Modenine, stating this kind of distraction as the “happy feet syndrome”. I know these examples might sound a bit bland, but these quickly come to mind for me. On the other hand, I also think popular culture has played a major role at damaging the core of the society (mainstream media), and those who are most adaptive to this kind of culture are the young people who for some absolute naive reason are ultimately clueless of what’s going on, and the detrimental effect of being ‘zombie-like’ to ‘OBEYing’ everything damaging that comes to them. For example, there is a fight somewhere, and phones are whipped out of their pockets to take pictures or record without doing the right thing… Well, you might say “that isn’t supposed to be my problem. What if I get injured in the process?” I’d leave that to your conscience to answer.
I am not here to criticize any society or anyone, but it is just the obvious that has caused an awakening. You might say “well… that’s America.”, but trust me, we need a lot of Childish Gambinos in the world to awaken us from our slumber. Nigeria is also in a place where we need to remain AWAKE 24 hours round the clock. How much information do you know about your environment, community or nation? The world is sleeping, and so is the entire black nation. Some are awake, but not all are WIDE AWAKE! Man know thyself.
There are lots of ‘adlib’ distraction techniques in this song and in the world today. STAY AWAKE!!!
(c) Edwina Amakievi Aleme
Watch the original video here: https://youtu.be/VYOjWnS4cMY
Watch the SNL stage performance here: https://youtu.be/m1xkLqd1wdU