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Idea of progress : how has the black community evolved in the last century in the United States according to Childish Gambino?

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Par   •  8 Mai 2019  •  Fiche  •  684 Mots (3 Pages)  •  142 Vues

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Idea of progress

I’m going to talk about the notion idea of progress.

First I will define the notion idea of progress with the music video of the American rap singer Childish Gambino who’s called “this is America”. The music video came out in May 2018 and it addresses the issue of gun violence in the United States, racism and discrimination against African Americans, as well as the influence of entertainment.

The question that can be asked is so we may wonder how has the black community evolved in the last century in the United States according to Childish Gambino?

First we will talk about Black people and music and after we will see the obstacles to progress


a) Black people and music

From the first few seconds of the video, the singer shows that notion of progress when he takes the Jim Crow stance to gun down a guitar player sitting on a chair with a bag over his head. This is quite a shocking scene which certainly brings back painful memories to may American people. The Jim Crow Laws were implemented in the Southern States at the end of the 19th century after the abolition of slavery in order to keep black people in the cotton fields. That was the beginning of segregation (1970s until 1965). We have the impression that the singer is asking the viewer: what has happened since? Do you think you have been the master of your destiny?

The first scene of the music video show a guitar on a chair. Witch could mean that music is very important for black people and it can be a serve and an entertainment.

the singer and young teens dance from start to end and they ignore what is happening around them and this mean that music and dance makes forgotten the reality and all the bad things in the world just a short time.

b) the obstacles to progress

We can see the man who was playing guitar get shot in the head and the choir in the church get killed. This two scene looks like the community is trying to suppressed music to black people.

The dancers in the foreground do not pay attention to the chaos in the background. They could act to improve their condition but they prefer to take refuge in the music to say what they think.

The blacks have on them the killings in the hood and the sale of drugs. In the words of the song the report of the black people to the money is evoked several times "money just for you" in the first stanzas and "get your money back, black man" in the chorus.

In the last scene we can see childish Gambino being chase by people who looks like the demons of the black people and childish Gambino show us that black people running away of their responsibilities.


The video clip shows striking and unexpected images that leave noone unaffected. Most people watching it are shocked, puzzled or amazed. It is not easy for some to face the truth, difficult for others to admit they might not be masters of their fate.

The song topped the charts in Canada, Australia and New Zealand and it was awarded Record of the Year, Song of the Year, Best Rap Performance and Best Music Video at the Annual Grammy Awards.

This song definitely echoes most of the issues in America today among the black community, so sadly we see that, according to Childish Gambino, no much progress has been made in 150 years. So Childish Gambino wants the song to serve as a wake-up call to black people.


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