Childish Gambino’s new song “This is America” and the associated video include drop-in features by several well-known artists. Among these were 21 Savage, Slim Jxmmi, Young Thug, BlocBoy JB, and Quavo. Many wonder why the decision was made to include so many features on a single song.
Gambino states the decision was mostly inspired by the well-known 1985 hit song “We Are The World.” Done as part of a charity event for the United Support of Artists (USA) for Africa, the song was written by superstars Michael Jackson and Lionel Richie and featured numerous all-star contributions – over 35 in fact. Among the most notable were Michael Jackson, Ray Charles, Lionel Richie, Stevie Wonder, Bob Dylan, Tina Turner, Billy Joel, Dan Aykroyd, Willie Nelson, Bruce Springsteen, Cyndi Lauper, and Harry Belafonte.
Ibra Ake, one of the producers of Childish Gambino’s new song, is who brought this realization to the public eye. During an interview he stated that “the idea was just a ‘We Are the World’ song, I guess.” He also said that Gambino wanted to remake something like the 1985 song, but with rappers dropping in their ad-libs instead of musicians and vocalists.
The idea was the same as the original hit – to show a consolidation of agreeable parties all rooting for the same thing. In fact, the messaging of the song goes much deeper than most listeners understand.
Deeper Messaging involved
The message and meaning behind the song go much deeper than that, however. According to interviews with Gambino and his production crew, the goal of “This Is America” is to normalize blackness. But what does this mean?
While some antagonists might state that ‘normalizing blackness’ sounds like taking a predatory stance against all other races, this doesn’t even come close. Instead, the video and song together form a very black feeling which will speak to the target audience. It deals with the history of treatment of blacks, their perseverance, and to put it simply: how it is okay to be a black person in America. They no longer want to explain themselves to others, but rather exist without censoring that existence. It’s a very deep statement symbolizing a very deep feeling that black people everywhere can appreciate, understand, and (hopefully) accept.
What Comes Next?
For Childish Gambino and the rest of the crew, they’re keeping their next big moves under wraps, stating they don’t have a solid direction in which to go next. They have stated that more is coming, and it probably involves another music video. This one, they said, will not be quite as racy as the current, but (as always) it will have a solid message attached to the lyrics. Otherwise, fans will just have to play a game of wait and see to discover what comes next for the influential rap artist and his associates.
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