Last night, in the midst of hosting and musical guesting on Saturday Night Live, Donald Glover quietly released “This is America”, the first Childish Gambino single since 2016. The accompanying music video, directed by longtime collaborator Hiro Murai, is a feverish display of virtuosity, intellect and talent. And if that weren’t enough, it’s also a stone cold banger.
Here’s the video for This Is America. I had to watch it twice. Then again. And then a few more times after that. I may never be done watching it.
Leave it to Donald Glover to effectively stick French mime techniques, The Wop, gun violence, cooning, Paris Is Burning, gangster rap, Mr. Bojangles, Pieter Bruegel the Elder, Michael Jackson, Ferguson, Fela, Hieronymus Bosch, Marvin Gaye and respectability politics, into a blender and pour everybody an ice-cold glass of America. It’s searing and soothing, funny and terrifying, playful and deadly serious. This is the result of free thinking backed by deep contextual knowledge and unbridled creativity. “This Is America” is an artistic (and I predict, financial) triumph and Donald Glover is an national fucking treasure.