Donald Glover (aka Childish Gambino) is using his platform to expose the disturbing reality of what it means to be black in America. Glover’s new song, This is America, uses distressing imagery mixed with happy and carefree choreography - unmasking the paradox of the black experience.
America has always been a country experiencing cyclical shifts. Black and brown people are shot, harassed, exposed in public, and the nation is “outraged”, but only for a second. Once the topic is no longer trending we are expected to live our lives unbothered, happy, and delusional-hence, Glover’s troubling facial expressions throughout the video. We scream at the top of our lungs demanding justice, but our cries fall on deaf ears.
For me, Glover and the video’s director, Hiro Murai, sparked an emotional examination of life in this country. Life in America is heartbreaking. Lives are methodically taken without repercussion and voices are silenced when they uncover the truth. Guns are handled with care (and covered with a red cloth) as murderers are set free because they heroically saved the world from another aggressive Black body, who made them feel “threatened” while carrying a pack of skittles.
With that being said, those who speak their truth and expose the lies breed ammunition for the fight. We must realize that the ears we are pressing so firmly against our lips, earging them to listen, may not be the ones who should hear our message.
Speaking your truth may not always be pretty, but living a lie only creates a false sense of reality.
“One ever feels his twoness, -- an American, a Negro; two souls, two thoughts, two unreconciled strivings; two warring ideals in one dark body, whose strength alone keeps it from being torn asunder.” ― W.E.B. Du Bois, The Souls of Black Folk