On May 5, Donald Glover, also known as Childish Gambino, released a single called “This is America.” His video took the country by storm due to its graphic and honest depiction of gun violence and police brutality. Some aspects of the video show Gambino firing off a gun to highlight how America places guns above the lives of people. The background depicts police riots and a dystopia as Gambino raps and vehemently dances in the foreground. The video is simple in its execution, but the message about gun violence and racism and how we are all too involved with ourselves truly highlights the conflicts happening around us.
“This is America” is another example of how celebrities are speaking out about current issues. While art across all mediums has always spoken about politics, Gambino is one of several artists who have recently used their musical success to raise awareness for current sociopolitical issues. These artists include Beyoncé’s Lemonade, which touches upon elements of racism and feminism, or rapper Eminem with his BET Hip Hop Awards freestyle criticizing President Donald Trump.
It is a notable change when all three of these artists have shifted from the kind of music they released before, which was more lighthearted and in character with their respective genres, toward social themes, representing how people of status are finally realizing what the rest of America is seeing and demanding change.