Since the glory days of Dylan, musicians have used their platforms to protest turbulent times. They have shed light on controversial topics such as racism, economics, war, politics, gay pride, and PTSD.
They have been leaders of our times with songs like Bob Dylan’s “Master of War” , Sam Cooke “A Change is Gonna Come”, and James brown “Say it Loud- I’m Black and I’m proud”, Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young “Ohio” defined as anthems of their generation.
The latest artist to speak for the current state of America and all that has gone wrong with our society, values and principles of conduct is the Rap Artist Childish Gambino (Donald Glover).
The video is difficult to watch with strikes of senseless violence reenacted yet has already amassed 50 Million views on Youtube definitely qualifying as Youtube gold.
The theme is the impossible escape of violence interwoven with playful yet soul moving moments that he terminates with cold assassination. The four minutes of gripping tales offers each viewer a filtered lense into the current and tragic state of our time. If you’ve caught the news in the past 6 months, you’ll know why I use the word “filtered” because as violent as this video is, it’s still only a glimpse into the senseless tragedy and violence occurring each day.
The director of the video, Hiro Murai who Gambino has worked with on previous projects such as Atlanta’s wooziest, most disorienting ” Teddy Perkins” and “The Woods” has attacked each sequence with an animated yet surprising soft gloved approach. Yet with the latest statement, “This is America”, the artistic duo skillfully take us on a ride through chaos in sequence with cartoonish expression, unadorned raw lyrics and a haunting honesty that we all perhaps will sadly have to face now that there is crafted iconography to illuminate what many are trying to forget.
These are not the times to hide our heads in the sand and pretend the world isn’t violent, confused and destructive to itself.
Time recently reviewed the video pointing out some very interesting things you may have missed.
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I hope that this is just one of the many videos to come that will protest this decade, but even more I have to hope that perhaps the day will come when this kind of naked violence and tale of soul baring destruction doesn’t have to be a part of our history.
Be well, stay safe and try to help those in need.