Just days ago, artist Childish Gambino released “This Is America” and our timelines flooded with comments about the visual directed by Hiro Murai. Within the video, there was much to be seen and even more to take in. In the beginning of the visual, we see a black man who’s happy and joyful, playing his guitar, and then we witness Gambino dance his way up behind the guitar man who no longer holds a guitar but is now tied up by the neck, has his face covered, and Gambino shoots him. The gun is then covered and hidden and then he is dragged to the side. Following that, chaos breaks out in the background and we watch Gambino break out into viral dance moves while black people continue to die in the background, money continues to be thrown in the air, and the struggle of choosing “imma go get the bag” and “imma go get the pad” (as in prescribed meds) can either make or break your existence in America.
If you need to take away anything from Gambino’s visual, there’s a couple things that are more than worthy of your time of grasping: First and foremost, this is America… where mental health is overlooked for jokes and for the sake of entertainment and clout at the expense of people who are really suffering inside (black America specifically). Second, why are people of color only apart of America’s conversation when they are being killed in America or creating a new dance? Third, why do we continue to ignore the signs that America’s mental health needs saving ? Rather you’re being denial of what is really destroying the people around you (mentally and even physically) nor want to be apart of the solution or just want to purposely not acknowledge what is happening in the real world outside of viral entertainment on your social media TL’s. In all, you are not working toward the solution but heightening the problem.
Last but not least, just like the gun that was covered in the video and how the guitar man’s face is covered, that is exactly how Black America is treated. America covers up the very things that kill people of color and embrace the things that make a black man temporarily valuable (his ability to make fast money, his entertaining dance moves, etc ), and if you are a black man in America and can’t figure out a balance and get caught slipping, there goes their ability to appeal as valuable in America, and more importantly there goes their whole life.
In America, we sweep things away, give second chances to, and clean things up for the people that America was meant to cater to. There has been so much injustice and police brutality and overall unfairness that America expects people of color to adjust to and accept, no matter the amount of suffering they are at stake of enduring afterwards. This is America… where the sake of the mental state of people of color are ignored, racially motivated killings of us are swept underneath the American rug, justice still isn’t served with or without evidence of brutality, and any reason that’s provided for why people of color are treated poorly will make America hate us, but the latest new dance craze will make America love us. In the end, the lack of awareness to it all (which is what Gambino conveys within his visual) can only turn on us all, especially the people that the system was never meant to protect in the first place. This visual and the song is not only a valuable creation, but rather another wake up call to let us know that America’s mental health needs saving.