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This is America

After hosting Saturday Night Live, Donald Glover released the music video for "This is America" The song flickers between gospel chorus singing and dead-pan, choppy, cold verses perfectly pairing with the juxtaposition of the video.

 

Since the release just over a day ago, the video, directed my Hiro Murai, has accumulated over 17 million views. And it isn't hard to understand why. Intermittently breaking up Glover's carefree dancing and singing, he pulls out a gun and mows down the surrounding pedestrians. The video references a number of recent flashpoints including police brutality, white supremecy, and racialized violence: the lynching of black men, "black lives matter" protests, and the Charleston shooting. "This is guerilla" he sings, fed up with the violence, the racism, and the policing in the country.

 

While the discussion of the state of America isn't a new topic in hip-hop by any means, Glover and Murai call for change in a new way. The music video speaks for itself and has us rewatching again and again, stunned and teary-eyed, reminding us that the nation's problem with gun violence is a uniquely American epidemic.