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Hidden Meanings Behind Childish Gambino's 'This Is America' Video Explained

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Childish Gambino's 'This Is America' has become an overnight cultural phenomenon. The internet was quick to point out tons of hidden messages throughout the piece. Here's some you've might have missed.

Read more analysis on 'This Is America': http://www.thisisinsider.com/this-is-america-music-video-meaning-references-childish-gambino-donald-glover-2018-5

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50 Comments

    Popular Comments:

John Ludtke . 2018-05-25
A black man killing black music. It's wwaayy more then a statement of how the government treats dark skinned people. The civil war was about way more than slavery. He should be wearing Union pants if this video is only what you think it is. There's a lot going on in this video. Look at the disgust on his face when the guns are wrapped in the red cloths. It's not just about how the government treats dark skinned people, it's also about how they treat themselves. He's saying alot more than you think. Plus, I just watch an interview with MLK Jr. To quote something he said in that interview, "I see that there has been more progress in the south than there is in the north." He was talking about racial equality.
121 2 . Reply
xXEchoes . 2018-05-25
Samething with the celly cops shoot without hesitation when pulling out a celly a tool helpful and can get you killed around cops
121 2 . Reply
Disrupted . 2018-05-25
Nice, frankly, I expect a lot of people to do a one-sided political reading of it, but I think there is a little for everyone. Good to see a more neutral reading of it. but yeah, its obvious critique to the flaws of the USA. I hope Donald Glover doesnt ever explain the meaning, that's the smart thing to do. I see what he's doing and I agree with it.
Its a multi-layered video, one of the best I've seen in a while. A thought-provoking conversation starter, a good one at that. Hope the people interested dont let the conversations degrade into heated arguments, I dont think that's the intention behind it.
121 2 . Reply
Harriet Stolp . 2018-05-25
Is that Minaj on that car?
121 2 . Reply
Sultan Ahmad . 2018-05-25
Cell means cell mate. America is his cell mate.
121 2 . Reply
Prajeet Bhatt . 2018-05-25
Fonsi challenged him "see my views n****". Gambino is clever enough he make video like no one can survive to see the video in just once. Its a compulsary condition to see this video 5 times at per viewer
121 2 . Reply
chris georgallis . 2018-05-25
Cell phones =Cells, prison.
121 2 . Reply
chris georgallis . 2018-05-25
Disturbing
121 2 . Reply
WHO AM I . 2018-05-25
Makes me feel sad for America's situation right now
121 2 . Reply
Empty Intentions . 2018-05-25
Pretty much everything mentioned is a big stretch. It's art if you need somebody to explain it to you than there's no point. He's saying how gun violence is staged and sensationalised to rile the masses while the media distracts them. Nobody explaining it even caught half of the stuff in the background like the suicide before the people with phones out are shown or how the same guy who was "shot" in the beginning was shown alive and well near the end
121 2 . Reply
Lukas Gadelha . 2018-05-25
Fiz uma versão em Português dessa música no meu canal!
121 2 . Reply
giffgiff . 2018-05-25
Black guy shoots other black people. this is Chicago
121 2 . Reply
Black Clarence . 2018-05-25
i told ya so..
121 2 . Reply
Feesh de Feesh a Feesh Feesh . 2018-05-25
The song is basically is saying the collapse of the american dream
121 2 . Reply
John Pliskin . 2018-05-25
dg is a g
121 2 . Reply
Dallas Hughes . 2018-05-25
Yea the back up dancers wearing school Outfits
121 2 . Reply
Mon Veloz . 2018-05-25
that warehouse is NOT full of American cars...
121 2 . Reply
mixflip . 2018-05-25
Incorrect information. He is surrounded by Japanese cars not American cars.
121 2 . Reply
Tahj Ward . 2018-05-25
do you think he represents one of the kings of the earth also?
121 2 . Reply
Fro7en . 2018-05-25
Why can’t we all get along and like each other?
121 2 . Reply
Cooper Hanson . 2018-05-25
if you hate America so much you can leave
121 2 . Reply
Trevor K . 2018-05-25
More garbage video's? They keep getting worse and worse as time goes on.
121 2 . Reply
Jahzeel Celis . 2018-05-25
I justo wonder why did it have to be a Christian choir that was shot... it could have been any group of people ... does that mean something ??
121 2 . Reply
Kate Seuffert . 2018-05-25
the part where it is quiet and he lights the cigarette is 17 seconds long. its representing the florida shooting and if you notice after that scene the kids were gone.
121 2 . Reply
7curucusis . 2018-05-25
I also think the empty cars at the end are the many cars stopped by police because they stopped black men and were killed.
121 2 . Reply
Joe Stephens . 2018-05-25
Did anyone else pick up on the contraband lyrics? Im stuck between 2 thoughts.

1. How the culture has turned to selling drugs and put a price on someone's life is someone slips up.

2. Maybe he is referring to how Africans were transported in the cargo hold of a ship because slave owners didn't want to be seen doing something that was inhumanly and morally wrong...

Does this make since? Or did I miss something?
121 2 . Reply
Edgar Rivas . 2018-05-25
This shows how much he cares about the shootings and how technology keeps us away from what's really happening and what is going on in America.
121 2 . Reply
Nicholas Vanheulen . 2018-05-25
That’s actually Donald Glover in the video
121 2 . Reply
Jda C . 2018-05-25
He probably shot the choir in a symbol that America wants to silence the church cause they want a common belief system ( shutting up all religions)
121 2 . Reply
xN2o . 2018-05-25
The world is fucked we need to find the reset button
121 2 . Reply
Dani Martin . 2018-05-25
Notice that the dancers dancing with Gambino are wearing school uniforms. I wanna know what the message for that is. Maybe it is for how schools across the country have been victimized by gun violence? Or how children are also caught up in the distractions of snapping every moment including the moments that don't need to be on the internet such as fights, and more.
121 2 . Reply
Emely Aquino . 2018-05-25
I don’t like when people say black man or girl it’s is supposed to be dark skinned
121 2 . Reply
Jitterbug . 2018-05-25
Him running away in the end is America trying to run from the truth of America's very existence and their nature of tolerance for good and affirmation of the bad in situ with the bad decisions they've already made..they feel guilty and terrified of their own actions.. the enemy has always been themselves.. thus they try to run from themselves like Gambino does..
121 2 . Reply
Kelly Lincoln . 2018-05-24
While you can't see the people runnng after/pursuing Gambino at the end, it gave me the impression of being hunted.
121 2 . Reply
Troy Pagan . 2018-05-24
Still a shit song
121 2 . Reply
Stefani Camacho . 2018-05-24
According to the news, I guess, there was a man just playing the guitar during a fight with the Gaddafi troops. I do not know if the scene where Gambino shoots the man playing the guitar has any reference to this instance though.
121 2 . Reply
jose gamez . 2018-05-24
cellie does not mean cell block. it means the person you share a cell with.
121 2 . Reply
MC Tilo . 2018-05-24
When he does the gwara gwara a guy jumps off the second floor and dies. Signifying America has tons of suicide
121 2 . Reply
Isabel Bicknell . 2018-05-24
17 seconds of silence for the 17 victims in Florida
121 2 . Reply
adryan . 2018-05-24
Crazy crazy how we get distracted by big things like entertainment while bigger things are going on and we ignore them. Who’s gonna pay attention finally? 🤔🤨
121 2 . Reply
adryan . 2018-05-24
UNDER THE SEA DEEP THANKS FOR THE ANSWERS CAUSE THAT DID ANSWER QUITE A BIT OF MY QUESTIONS 😄🙏🏽 And people’s comments answered my questions as well. So thank you guys in the comment section. 💙✌🏽
121 2 . Reply
vol Rogue . 2018-05-24
Yeah, But...




It's a good song!
121 2 . Reply
Symbiotic . 2018-05-24
A tool to keep blacks in a cycle on incarceration? Nah that's blacks committing crimes. I'm perfectly willing to admit blacks in America are often not dealt the best hand, that doesn't justify crime. It's very easy to not commit a crime, and if you literally do nothing against the law you're extremely unlikely to go to jail.
121 2 . Reply
Theresa Steward . 2018-05-24
He's running from white people at the end
121 2 . Reply
GingerNinja . 2018-05-24
i feel like the zombie like walk has some message behind it, i feel like i recognize is but i don't know where.
121 2 . Reply
Blither box . 2018-05-24
The classes and races too weak to master the new conditions of life must give way. They must perish in a revolutionary holocaust.---  Karl Marx.
121 2 . Reply
Victoria McCarty . 2018-05-24
I feel like the final scene uses light to twist the image into what it would have been like for a slave running for his life through the woods while being chased by a white mob. I think it is the epitome of fear and symbolic of how that fear evolves but it's still very real. Black people in America were under attack then and they are under attack now. Guerrilla warfare is uniquely American. It can be the cops, your neighbors, gangs, the KKK, a lynch mob, bushwhackers, slave owners. It has always been here and we have a reputation for using it against black people. The American Revolution, Civil War, what is going on right now in Chicago... it's all a civil war. Black people are being murdered in their own country in their own streets by their fellow Americans. Sounds a lot like 1863 to me.
121 2 . Reply
Dewonderlo Antunes . 2018-05-24
the ending looks like a timeline for black history in america, he looks like hes in the woods running from slave catchers and as time goes on and the trees turn into cell blocks and the slave catchers turn into police
121 2 . Reply
Isa Meme . 2018-05-24
OKay but sometimes I am ashamed of being a white person and shat white people have done bc they think they are elite. AAAAAAAAAAAAAAHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH Bro I feel guilty even tho it was not meeeeeeeeee
121 2 . Reply
Isa Meme . 2018-05-24
AMerica ssucccccccccccccccssssssss
121 2 . Reply