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|"This Is America"|
|Single by Childish Gambino|
|Released||May 5, 2018|
|Childish Gambino singles chronology|
"This Is America" is a song by American rapper Childish Gambino (Donald Glover). Written and produced by Glover and Ludwig Göransson, it was released on May 5, 2018, at the same time that Glover was hosting that day's episode of Saturday Night Live. The song features background vocals by American rappers Young Thug, Slim Jxmmi, BlocBoy JB, 21 Savage, and Quavo.
The song's music video was directed by Japanese filmmaker Hiro Murai, a frequent Glover collaborator. According to RCA Records, the song is not the first single from Childish Gambino's upcoming studio album. "This Is America" debuted at number one on the US Billboard Hot 100, becoming both Childish Gambino's first number one and top ten single in the country.
The song features a gospel-style choir and background contributions from various American rappers. Young Thug, Slim Jxmmi, BlocBoy JB, 21 Savage and Quavo each deliver an ad-lib. Young Thug returns to supply the song's outro. The lyrics primarily address being black in the United States and gun violence in the country. It also touches on police brutality. Pitchfork's Stephen Kearse described the song as a representation of the "tightrope of being black", with the song "built on the sharp contrast between jolly, syncretic melodies and menacing trap cadences".
Directed by Hiro Murai, the music video for the song was released on YouTube simultaneously with Gambino's performance of the song on Saturday Night Live. The video follows Gambino dancing through a warehouse, interacting with a series of chaotic scenes. According to Murai, the video was inspired by the films Mother! and City of God. Choreographed by Sherrie Silver, Gambino and his entourage of young dancers perform several viral dance moves including the South African Gwara Gwara and "Shoot" popularized by BlocBoy JB, who is one of the ad-lib contributors on the song. Gambino's dancing is contrasted against moments of violence. Only 53 seconds into the video, Gambino shoots a man in the back of the head with a handgun, while assuming a comical stance similar to a Jim Crow caricature. At a later point, he uses an automatic weapon (specifically an AK-47) to gun down a church choir, which viewers have interpreted as a reference to the 2015 Charleston church shooting. In both instances, a child appears from offscreen holding a red cloth, on which Gambino gently lays the weapon used, which viewers have interpreted "as a reference to Americans' willingness to protect gun rights over people". The first shooting also marks a transition in the music, from an African "folk-inspired melody" to a "dark, pulsing trap." American singer SZA makes a cameo appearance towards the end of the video. The video ends with Gambino in a darkened portion of the warehouse, fearfully running towards the camera while being chased. Viewers have said this resembles scenes from the film Get Out.
The video received 12.9 million views in 24 hours and has over 150 million views. The first person depicted as being shot in the video, a guitarist who had been accompanying Gambino's singing up to that point, was musician Calvin the Second, but was initially mistaken by many viewers to be the father of teenager Trayvon Martin.
Spencer Kornhaber of The Atlantic described the initial reaction on Twitter as "a gushing river of well-deserved praise" and the video as "the most talked-about music video of recent memory." Daniel Kreps of Rolling Stone commented that the video "is a surreal, visceral statement about gun violence in America". Pitchfork awarded the song the distinction of "Best New Track".
"This Is America" debuted at number one on the US Billboard Hot 100, becoming the 31st song to do so in the chart's history. It debuted with 78,000 downloads sold and 65.3 million US streams in the first week. Its music video accounted for 68% of the song's streaming total. "This Is America" is also Gambino's first top 10; he previously reached number 12 in August 2017 with "Redbone". "This Is America" displaced Drake's "Nice for What" from the top position. Gambino is also the first Emmy Award-winning actor to reach number one on the Hot 100 since Justin Timberlake, who topped the chart with "Can't Stop the Feeling!" in 2016.
|Austria (Ö3 Austria Top 40)||57|
|Belgium (Ultratop 50 Flanders)||38|
|Belgium (Ultratip Wallonia)||18|
|Canada (Canadian Hot 100)||1|
|Czech Republic (Singles Digitál Top 100)||8|
|Germany (Official German Charts)||39|
|Hungary (Single Top 40)||9|
|Hungary (Stream Top 40)||25|
|Netherlands (Dutch Top 40)||32|
|Netherlands (Single Top 100)||19|
|New Zealand (Recorded Music NZ)||1|
|Scotland (Official Charts Company)||11|
|Slovakia (Singles Digitál Top 100)||3|
|Switzerland (Schweizer Hitparade)||16|
|UK Singles (Official Charts Company)||6|
|US Billboard Hot 100||1|
|US Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs (Billboard)||1|
|Various||May 5, 2018||Digital download||
|United States||May 15, 2018||Rhythmic contemporary radio|||
The same night he dropped off the video for “This Is America,” a combination trap and afrobeat banger with a beguiling message about race and gun violence.