Hidden Meanings Behind Childish Gambino's 'This Is America' Video Explained

  • Published on May 9, 2018
  • Childish Gambino's 'This Is America' has become an overnight cultural phenomenon. The internet was quick to point out tons of hidden messages throughout the piece. Here's some you've might have missed.
    Read more analysis on 'This Is America': www.thisisinsider.com/this-is-america-music-video-meaning-references-childish-gambino-donald-glover-2018-5
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Comments • 28 091

  • Cron Cunningham
    Cron Cunningham 7 hours ago

    Notice that the people dancing with Gambino are students. This could represent people like David Hogg who were victims of violence yet still distract us from the real issues at hand. I could be completely wrong but just a thought :-)

  • SoccerStarMar
    SoccerStarMar 15 hours ago

    at the end he is being chased by a white crowd because he is black

  • xvx. natalia
    xvx. natalia 21 hour ago

    Is it just me but doesn't the girl talking look like the girl from omb

  • Grace Goodwin
    Grace Goodwin 22 hours ago


  • The Mighty Umbreon
    The Mighty Umbreon 23 hours ago

    3:58 also notice how they are wearing masks to hide their identities.It represents how people can easily do and upload anything on the internet and no one will end up finding out who really did it

  • Avaya Hughes
    Avaya Hughes Day ago

    so is the song good or not 😂

  • Brayden Mollohan

    The lesson he shot at the beginning came back at the end

  • vlynn82
    vlynn82 Day ago

    Apologies if these thing have already been mentioned-- First off, just to build off what Matthew Burgos said about the 17 seconds of silence-- after the pause, CG just casually walks away as though nothing happened (which is what always happens after a mass shooting). Also, when he steps on the hood of the car it looks like the window might be broken, perhaps a reference to 'broken glass' policing. Also, the older vehicles in the prison-esque warehouse I think might have several meanings. Maybe the older cars represent prisoners whose lives are stuck in time and on hold. Or perhaps they represent people whose lives were snuffed out too soon. Also, the cars have their hazard lights on. CG stands on top of one of the cars and seems triumphant-- perhaps that represents our country's ambivalence . Also, I noticed that the way he dances throughout the video sort of looks like he's doing various poses and facial expressions (like one might do in selfies that they post to social media)-- a kind of falseness of how we represent ourselves to the world, and a symbol of our shallowness. I'm sure there are more hidden messages that I'm missing.

  • Mathias Juliussen

    The celly part can also mean that people are blinded by the attacks by the phones and just dont want to see what is happening

  • Bradley Ball
    Bradley Ball Day ago

    Why’d they censor out the shooting parts, when they aren’t even censored in the original video or restricted on TheXvid

  • mumma krazy
    mumma krazy Day ago

    I hated the sing and the video because I read the messages incorrectly. After watching it I realize it's an eye opener

  • Zai J.
    Zai J. 2 days ago

    The "this is a celly, this is a tool." I also feel like he is saying that because especially around the time the song came out all u would see on facebook or the news was racism caught on cell phone footage. Cell phones these days are a helpful tool for those that feel arent being treated fairly to prove to everyone else that there is still racism in this country.

  • ZuRriX
    ZuRriX 2 days ago +1


  • Christopher Mullins
    Christopher Mullins 2 days ago

    Um..no offense but Gambino already said that the song is meant for the individual to interpret. So let the listeners interpret the messages. Sorry :/

  • Dat Boom Guy
    Dat Boom Guy 2 days ago


  • Vıcente Grėy
    Vıcente Grėy 2 days ago

    This is kinda sad, I was born and raised in America, I always thought it was the place to be, so did everyone who lived outside of it and wanted to visit. It hurts to watch your home become satan's playground, I wonder what the people did to make God give up on America like this, cause before it topped other countries, now it's at the bottom and getting destroyed more with every day that passes. I have no idea what it's like to be away from home, but I bet if I ever did leave, no matter how bad America is, I'll still be homesick cause of all the beautiful memories I left behind to die with this once beautiful country. I hope one day America WILL be "made great again" and it'll get more tourists than ever.

  • Sonia Sexius
    Sonia Sexius 2 days ago

    Also, allll of the cars depicted in this video were cars outdated 70's, 80;s early 90's. Does that suggest times were not as bad back then, than now? Smdh. I cannot. Last days are comin.

  • Caden Hembree
    Caden Hembree 2 days ago


  • David barnes stuff 2

    I came here from the comments on the PBS documentary The Rise and Fall of Jim Crow. PBS pretty much said the same thing but it took them four hours to do so.😊

  • Mr. Q !
    Mr. Q ! 2 days ago

    How in the hell did I get to this snowflake video. I was looking for the movie gone with the wind.

  • robot
    robot 3 days ago

    why his nipples purple though

  • Frickin cool Edits
    Frickin cool Edits 3 days ago

    I don’t know if this was intentional or not-but when he was dancing with those kids, they were in school uniforms. Usually private schools have uniforms. I saw that as a representation of how people that are rich or that don’t have it bad are blind to what else is happening around them. There were a lot if bad things happening in the background but they didn’t see it...Idk though.

  • jayson murphy
    jayson murphy 3 days ago

    I actually think you're over thinking the video.

  • Frau Star
    Frau Star 3 days ago

    This is because of the KKK >:0 KILL THE KKK

  • Kermit
    Kermit 3 days ago +1


  • Drexden Blair
    Drexden Blair 3 days ago

    We need to snap out of the government's lie's

  • Gavyn Pyle
    Gavyn Pyle 3 days ago

    dude this is deep
    I just realized that Gambino is arrogant and so is INSIDER!

  • travis ressler
    travis ressler 4 days ago

    Must be hard to make millions.

  • Raquel Gutierrez
    Raquel Gutierrez 4 days ago

    When they call out ur hometown Charlestown I don’t know weather to feel proud a small town is recognized or feel terribly bad that it’s being recognized for the wrong reasons

  • GOC Horsemengamer350

    I feel that the running at the end is amarica running ahead of other countries

  • Alex Carr
    Alex Carr 4 days ago

    I think if these were true messages, Donald Glover would willingly tell us. He’s not the person to repress him beliefs and thoughts

  • Cali Ru
    Cali Ru 5 days ago

    We need to leave America violence racism this government shut down he warning us to stop being distracted

  • Music Lover
    Music Lover 5 days ago

    WE need more of this!!

  • Elijah Huggins
    Elijah Huggins 5 days ago

    You missed that he was smoking a blunt showing drug taking

    WITTS 5 days ago

    You missed him closing his left eye, keeping the right one open. This is a symbol of the occult, a symbol of Saturn, which you will find plastered across our country in the form of owls, cubes, six sided figures, everything... he told everyone right away, he is America and his dancing is that of a puppet. America is controlled by a greater power, and that greater power is Satan himself. The truth is out there, but your churches are just money makers. God of this world is Satan and he is an extra terrestrial. The book of Revelations is a script. Oh and Trump’s wall? That’s a Dam for when the pole shift happens. They’ll be laughing at you all while they are safe in Mexico

  • Kris Sacro
    Kris Sacro 6 days ago

    Ur ugly asf

  • Desolate Hound
    Desolate Hound 6 days ago

    This is the comment section.

  • knjc10
    knjc10 7 days ago

    How come no ones mentioned how gay he looks

  • mr. fun
    mr. fun 7 days ago

    I feel bad for the black folks that feel so butt hurt.Maybe since they can't figure out how to live like humans, they can become pets again

  • Beau Jackson
    Beau Jackson 7 days ago

    Celli not tool means the sooting in 2017 when police killed a African American male because of thinking its a 🔫 but just a cellphone

  • john box
    john box 8 days ago

    In the end he might be running in terror from the crowds of people who have been witness to his brutality and cant take it anymore. Therefore they will kill him.

  • _Kit Kat Kaitlyn_
    _Kit Kat Kaitlyn_ 8 days ago

    You ever heard it with the bakamonogatiri song .. IT'S LEGIT

    It's called this is circulation

  • mario rrv
    mario rrv 8 days ago

    Y lo de su conecte en Oaxaca ???

  • The Hølder
    The Hølder 9 days ago

    I didnt think this much thought was in this song but ok

  • Jim Cringe
    Jim Cringe 9 days ago

    No, this is Patrick

  • Grace Schamp
    Grace Schamp 9 days ago

    Wow Judy Garland shocked me. Welp I learn something new every day

  • Lamont Wilson
    Lamont Wilson 9 days ago

    i dont give a SHIT about those fuckin monkeys

  • Sueda The Undercover
    Sueda The Undercover 9 days ago +1

    This is America

  • Adam Fierro
    Adam Fierro 9 days ago

    Idc i still like guns

  • Mathias Voorhees
    Mathias Voorhees 9 days ago

    Well in my country it's the opposite, we French people are being chased from our country by African immigrants.

  • The Default Brothers
    The Default Brothers 10 days ago

    *No, this is Patrick.*

  • Mm Israelite
    Mm Israelite 10 days ago

    you missed the fact that he woke up and tried to get the hell out of there with all his might and realized there was no where to run nor hide as Amurderkkka was ganging in on him, eventually Amurderkkka caught up to him and sacrificed his soul, I mean after all that's all they ever wanted, think about it... go really deep inside your higher self above this earth regimen and look at the bigger picture as to what's really going on, then when you look down upon Satan's hell kingdom and see his off spring's ripping this earth to pieces you realize your in another dimension that only your natural born "will power" can break free from WAKE UP OUT OF YOUR COMA STATE OF MIND tic tick tic...

  • Søren Momsen
    Søren Momsen 10 days ago

    Please help:
    at 4:14 do they say Old Fatman Cars or Sadman Cars?

  • yamretsae91
    yamretsae91 10 days ago

    I think it is applicable to all non-american and immigrants who still call for help and attention for the poor treatment, and racism that are living in the US... I hope this would serve as a CALL for ATTENTION to all World Leaders that it is not the value of the currency your country have or how your country very well development but the people who live there for many years who still cry for HELP yet NONE of the people who got the power who vested in them take their steps to REACH and Be a VOICE for their cry now turned to be become NUMB... #servejusticeequally

  • santos john
    santos john 10 days ago

    the guy that holding a bottle at the final that is really dificult to see

  • Steve Bano
    Steve Bano 10 days ago


  • Boogey MANN
    Boogey MANN 10 days ago

    1:16 demonitized

  • Dan Bradshaw
    Dan Bradshaw 10 days ago

    Did anyone point out the reference to Moby's "Extreme Ways" from the Bourne movies at the end (3:40)? The octave squeal in the background?

  • MacyD's Wifi
    MacyD's Wifi 10 days ago

    So treat everyone equaly and lock up criminals and make guns harder to buy

  • Chaos: International
    Chaos: International 10 days ago

    why didnt he wear union wear? youre only thinking of the bad things
    you narcissist

  • Chaos: International
    Chaos: International 10 days ago

    and apparently america is all... black?

  • Ladywood2
    Ladywood2 10 days ago

    Ok. I used to love Judy Garland. No more biatch!!!

  • ‍1marcelfilms
    ‍1marcelfilms 11 days ago

    i like the tercel wagon in the video

  • lilcantrapman24
    lilcantrapman24 11 days ago

    Black culture? Lol. Yea ok. Next we're gonna hear they came up with wallet chains and tight pants. How long have black girls been trying style their hair like white chicks? Yet somehow only black culture is appropriated? This some B.S.

  • Quintin Ellison
    Quintin Ellison 11 days ago

    Hard to believe this was some kind of statement I thought dude was violent psycho path trying to compete with with Nine inch nails on who could have a the craziest music video

  • stinky wizzleteats
    stinky wizzleteats 11 days ago

    This is nazi Germany

  • Ratt Pack
    Ratt Pack 11 days ago

    A lot of this is far fetched. And frankly is bullshit.

  • בן האדם
    בן האדם 12 days ago

    O’ Symbolism
    For All Thou
    Doth Conceal

  • Nikyo
    Nikyo 12 days ago

    I'm too focus with the dancing and don't realize it's really messed up behind

    MAZIA FLIPS 12 days ago

    You people have no idea, America is a heaven, but of course you will never feel what I say cause you're not Arabian.

  • Martian Mellon
    Martian Mellon 12 days ago

    What is the hidden messages in flyingkittis this is amarica

  • Lily Cookie
    Lily Cookie 12 days ago

    Ok although I don't think anyone will respond, what do people mean by 'apocalypse'??? WHAT APOCALYPSE ARE YOU GUYS REFERING TO?

  • Micah Holster
    Micah Holster 12 days ago

    Unjust treatment? You make raps about sex and drugs and making millions off of it. Then are saying things are harder for you

  • Carson Philemon
    Carson Philemon 13 days ago

    Misunderstanding, the video!

  • davy med
    davy med 13 days ago

    I think the lyrics "this is cell, this is tool" refer to the fact that the cell phones akt as a prison cell separateing people.
    (just my thought)

  • BrunoGames300
    BrunoGames300 13 days ago

    In the end, Gambino is running without his pants and shoes. He did quit america.

  • Pani *
    Pani * 13 days ago +1

    I'm not Aemrican guys,but can one of you explain me that"what's wrong with it?"
    I'm Irainian and howerer I like my country🤷‍♀I used to think that America must be such a cool country🤷‍♀

    • M H
      M H 10 days ago +1

      It is cool, and it's not. Like every other country. Everyone has problems. Some more than others.

  • farouk razack
    farouk razack 13 days ago

    What about yellow bars?
    What could you make of that?

  • plonkaa notbeinglazy
    plonkaa notbeinglazy 13 days ago

    All the the dislikes are the people who voted for trump

  • The One and Only
    The One and Only 13 days ago

    Black people are so consumed by this shit. I'd love to see a Slavic music video depicting their own period of slavery at the hands of the North Africans. Oh wait, that shit won't happen because they don't give a shit.

  • Anthony Romero
    Anthony Romero 14 days ago

    He watches this and like wow I knew that had some sort of deeper meaning,I just did it

  • LegitBrisket
    LegitBrisket 14 days ago +1

    White people = pure evil

  • Susan Yvonne
    Susan Yvonne 14 days ago +2

    Homeboy need a shave

  • Anastasia in the garden
    Anastasia in the garden 15 days ago +21

    He is dancing on a car like michael jackson did in "black or white"

  • T. M
    T. M 15 days ago

    Democrats are the racists.

  • T. M
    T. M 15 days ago

    Or maybe the red cloth is a symbol CIA covering things up and it never gets investigated . Hillary clinton and corrupt politicians blaming gun rights after setting up false flags. Dont forget scott israel, FRIEND OF CLINTON, ordered cops not to go into douglas.

  • Philip Kassabian
    Philip Kassabian 15 days ago +3

    Funny how he's singing this in the US where he won't be arrested. Actually oppressed groups don't behave this way. You don't see videos of Jews in Old Russia pre Soviet Union complaining about actual oppression. 100 years when African Americans were genuinely America wasn't always pumping out propaganda talking about how oppressed they were.
    African Americans earn more than 10 x what an African in Ghana would earn. I'm serious. Yeah there was black face and mocking. Google Irish as monkeys in 1857 and Italians as gorillas in 1904, Jews were portrayed as rats in the early 20th century or the Japanese as aliens in the 1940's. This culture of victimhood needs to stop.
    I do agree that the Civil Rights Movement was very important. Gun violence is rampant in those communities due to irresponsible criminals. That's why the Incarceration rate is so high in those areas.

  • Amar Miljkovic
    Amar Miljkovic 16 days ago


  • Reversal Roblox
    Reversal Roblox 16 days ago +3

    tHiS iS A mEmE

  • DSkehan2004
    DSkehan2004 16 days ago

    This was showing how fucked up the Obama era was.

  • TayTay Swiftie
    TayTay Swiftie 16 days ago +1

    It’s actually a parking lot but mk

    The HILLBILLY 16 days ago

    Gus are not killers people are

  • BushyBrow 64
    BushyBrow 64 16 days ago

    They should make this is Russia

    • Philip Kassabian
      Philip Kassabian 13 days ago

      Russians were serfs for nearly 300 years. Serfs could be bought and sold. 20 million Russians died under Communism. If you look at pictures of the Soviet Union in the 1950's you will see that even segregated African American areas in Alabama looked better.

  • Feel like a sir
    Feel like a sir 16 days ago

    I watched this America before I watched this.

  • Nebiyu Esayas
    Nebiyu Esayas 16 days ago

    I got the idea after looking up the song on Wikipedia, but this helps a lot. Now the song is a lot less disturbing.

  • David
    David 17 days ago

    Hey, @INSIDER, do one about the hidden meaning behind El Chombo's Chacarron, please.

  • David
    David 17 days ago

    The dancing where Glover is hunched over with his shoulders hunched up, to the part where he has his hands held up, palms down and fingers wiggling, to the part where he has his hands in loose fists pumping to the beat seem to show the history of black people in the US as a form of commodity. First, as slaves shackled, and sometimes yoked, hence the hunched posture. Second, the minstrelsy in which black people were parodied by white people in make-up, and later by black people themselves in early movies (not as early as that Judy Garland movie), to more modern times where modern "black culture" is exploited by the entertainment industry for profit (a kind of modern minstrelsy, in a way).
    The kids dancing around Glover are all wearing school uniforms like the kinds worn by SA kids during apartheid, also.

  • Khiah Hardin
    Khiah Hardin 17 days ago

    I’m scared of those white actors

  • Mike McCarty
    Mike McCarty 17 days ago +15

    I love this work (the "This is America" video) - brilliant. Adding to what others have contributed, I notice that the video is 4:04 in length, which is the Atlanta area code and also an internet code for information not available. Overall, I think this video is about how black identity is smothered by capitalism as mediated through American culture. The predominant refrain, "Get your money" which comes from parents (the elderly guitarist symbolizing history through folk songs, spoken word, etc), organized religion (choir) etc. The dancers and others dressed in white shirts and gray slacks/skirts depict how black spirit is contained by convention, perverted by the need to conform in order to "get your money". My feeling is that the running scene at the end is about how everyone in America, black and white are running in terror from any glimpse of what America is really about. It is a country that began in genocide and slavery and those ghosts continue to haunt if the viewer is willing to look with open eyes.