I think one of the biggest aspects of my “cool” project was the use of my audio and that included the newly released song “This is America” by Childish Gambino. Over the weekend when I created my piece this song was performed for the first time on SNL that same night. Now being a fan of Gambino (a.k.a. Donald Glover) for a few years now, it’s crazy to think that I’m actually going to write a post contradicting my praise of the song…because it really isn’t all that great.
Yes, the visuals to the song are played out perfectly; Glover dancing around in a maniac manner while providing the most metaphoric representation that this country has ultimately done its best to hide the rising of shootings and criminal activity in a black community. But this isn’t the first time these problems have really risen in art, and to me it doesn’t make sense to treat the newest piece of hip hop to be the first reveal of an actual reality. This actual reality has been a thing for years! Wake up because I’ll tell you right now, Donald Glover can’t necessarily be a speaker of a demographic, and he can’t be a leader. A celebrity can’t be one in general because this ideal to obtain surpasses hitting the studio and slurring your words to disguise them as philosophical; these are lives being taken away on streets. What are we really doing other than listening to this message in the same format that stereotype is begin attacked… to puff on a blunt all night and to abuse the fact your color lets you act ignorant. That’s what I feel like Glover’s song still represents. If it wasn’t for an attempting visual, it would keep the mass majority of listeners in the same head nod and in the same belief that everything is good. I don’t know if a negative and dark song is what we need to get into the motions, but it for sure isn’t one that mocks the misleading fads in the first place. I remember growing up it was strange for adults and peers alike to see me associated with kids of darker color, whether they were brown or black. But I don’t think it was a result of automatic alienation as much as this problem in music and media that has been separating others for such a long time. I remember even hearing The Game’s single “Hate it or Love It” back when I was 6 years old in 2003, thinking it was something I can nod to, as well, when my mom wasn’t watching out for cuss words. The reality is, in that song I heard the same social problem be exposed, in my opinion, even more verbally and fluently. The same way innovators and revolutionaries years and decades ago really expressed new grounds and things unheard of, is the same way we should approach the exposure of our need to gather and fix what’s being abused. Power is key and the aid is teamwork. That’s how I see it. But we shouldn’t mock our attempts, and we for sure should not act like this is our first exposure.