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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    Produced by: Alana Yzola
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Comments • 20 180

  • Evan King
    Evan King 2 hours ago

    17 seconds of silence for the shooting victims

  • Val Kilmore
    Val Kilmore 2 hours ago

    this is an overestimation of this mans creativity

  • StaryNoon
    StaryNoon 2 hours ago

    this video is strangely scary... But in a good way to info reality but sadly scray because its soooooo real.

  • circe.cyanide
    circe.cyanide 2 hours ago

    One thing I've yet to see discussed (or I missed the discussion) is the symbolism toward the end of the video where he strikes a pose like he has a gun and everyone screams and runs off. He doesn't have a gun and he's only posturing like he does. But at that point even the school kids run away in fear. Whereas when he DOES have a gun he's the embodiment of white America and no one gives a shit. Is this a reference to the amount of unarmed POC killed because someone "feared for their life" or am I way off base? That's the way I interpreted it at least but I'm not sure if it was intended.

  • Crescent OW
    Crescent OW 2 hours ago

    The song pauses for 17 seconds for the 17 lives lost at the dougless high shooting

  • Arianna Sofia Schneider

    If we let children maintain the compassion they are born with, if we let them believe as they do since they start gaining conscious of themselves as person that ALL lives are valuable, humans and animals, then the world would be much different. Children are born and all lives are beautiful and valuable to them, humans and animals are their friends, until we start distorting that and teach them that some lives are ok to kill. Go VEGAN.

  • anna w
    anna w 2 hours ago

    the black community in this country isn't praised or recognized enough for the contributions it has made. even in such a divided shitty state that this country is in, i am so honored to be exposed to other cultures, opinions, and points of view. i hope that the messages in this video are taken to heart by all of those who watch it, no matter what skin color you have. it's such an important eye opening message and a huge wake up call to those blind to the injustices faced by minorities in america that have played a huge role in shaping this country

  • Vicious - io Games
    Vicious - io Games 2 hours ago

    0:00 i legit stopped watching the song to click on it, and this is exactly where i was. wtf

  • Jordan Montalvo
    Jordan Montalvo 2 hours ago


  • Rhino Power
    Rhino Power 2 hours ago

    Contrary to the video the car he is dancing on is a Toyota which is a Japanese car not American

    • Rhino Power
      Rhino Power 2 hours ago

      Also all ththe cars hazard lights are on

  • Victor Flores
    Victor Flores 2 hours ago

    The white people are either running for their lives or dying

  • Victor Flores
    Victor Flores 2 hours ago

    Notice that even the chickens the white and brown chickens are facing away from each other

  • YungNoisyy Boi
    YungNoisyy Boi 2 hours ago

    when did everyone started giving a shit. They started when trump became president. Not saying i like trump but cmon we are lazy and we dont even fight for our own rights. We look dumb as shit compared to other countries. Its good people started to realize what they need to do but it’s something that we shouldve done a long time ago

  • ysa love davis
    ysa love davis 2 hours ago

    Hmm..not sure if it was mentioned..but if Gambino reps America then the shooting victim groups who were singing in a peaceful way represent what happens when Black America tries to call attention peacefully to injustices done to them...they get gunned down and silenced.

  • richard keller
    richard keller 3 hours ago

    These are no hidden messages in this video ..if that's the case then maybe you just watch videos because there cool..because all music is a message wake up and free your mind..

  • Warren Forde
    Warren Forde 3 hours ago

    I haven't seen anyone comment about how he is apparently looking over his shoulder a number of times during the dances, like his violent past will catch up to him and then at the end he is frantically running away from it.

  • rosemary mays
    rosemary mays 3 hours ago

    Bout to watch the video over and over again

  • Gianna Marie
    Gianna Marie 3 hours ago

    That blackface shit is creepy asf and super rasict

  • rosemary mays
    rosemary mays 3 hours ago

    I love this. Explain what we watch

  • Rissy Taizia
    Rissy Taizia 3 hours ago

    Kinda off topic bas I cant believeee Judy Garland did that. And I felt bad for the way Hollywood controlled her life ....

    LILTHUNDER18 3 hours ago

    All the people running behind him are white

    DAT BOI 3 hours ago

    It says an important message tho

  • Marc Lauzon
    Marc Lauzon 4 hours ago

    "This is America" is repeated so often you could see various signification :
    1) They kept repeating the same mistakes. They aren't learning from it.
    2) How America is viewed (somewhat justifiably) as very egocentric.
    3) The line itself is very often used by racists and xenophobes.

  • madison barksdale
    madison barksdale 4 hours ago

    Very stereotypical. If we are going to be this ignorant then it’s time to make a video about what blacks do to whites.

  • Fibbonacci Retrace
    Fibbonacci Retrace 4 hours ago

    Or the "celly" is a tool used by the media. Cell phones making people concentrate on social media while bad things happen around us. More likely fits the theme here that entertainment is a distraction. Just a thought.

  • pretty inpurple msp
    pretty inpurple msp 4 hours ago

    "I see a marionette, a person who is a puppet being pulled by strings." - Rachel Watts
    "Everyone else in the background is running. When he finally stops dancing; stops being an entertainer. He has to start running too." - K A
    A response to Rachel: "Everyone else in the background is running. When he finally stops dancing; stops being an entertainer. He has to start running too". America is the marionette controlling Gambino. America doesn't want the others to find out the violence and horrors, so they control Gambino to entertain. When Gambino wants to rebel, America doesn't like that, so in the last scene, the people chasing Gambino are *America* and don't want him to escape the fictional *America* and go to the real *America.* Just a theory. *(DO NOT COPY AND PASTE AND CLAIM AS YOUR OWN TEXT WITHOUT MY PERMISSION)*

  • Brianna Schlosser
    Brianna Schlosser 4 hours ago

    He pauses for 17 seconds which can be linked to the 17 victims of the parkland shooting

  • Sean Wellman
    Sean Wellman 4 hours ago

    Gambino looks possed

  • Charles Anderson
    Charles Anderson 4 hours ago

    An article I read said that the old looking cars represented the oldsmobile Philando Castile was in when he died

  • M. B.
    M. B. 4 hours ago

    That's pretty smart of em, I was too focused on their dancing instead of noticing the violence going on in the background

  • Morisyn Whitworth
    Morisyn Whitworth 4 hours ago

    After he is dancing in a circle with the kids, at two minutes and 44 seconds the music stops and it is silent, and at three minutes and 1 second the music starts. That is seventeen seconds of silence my friends. 17 seconds of silence for lives taken in the Florida shooting. Yes, I’m a kid, and yes, that was logical.

  • Cody Walker
    Cody Walker 4 hours ago

    17 seconds of silence= 17 school students of Stoneman Douglas...

  • XaeeD
    XaeeD 4 hours ago

    Highlighting all kinds of problems. So what's the solution?

  • Samantha Keuer
    Samantha Keuer 4 hours ago

    You missed it!

  • Jon-Michael Mcgee
    Jon-Michael Mcgee 4 hours ago

    They had to throw in somewhere that the right cares more about guns rather than people. So ridiculous.

  • Brett Gio
    Brett Gio 5 hours ago

    The second amendment was giving permission for the citizens that wanted to keep their guns to do so because if government goes corrupt again, they can fight them, not to bring your assault rifle into 7/11 while getting a slurpie. I am not American and y’all putting off these shootings like nothing and even worse Trump will do nothing about it. It’s not the second amendment that’s the problem it’s how people have twisted it’s true meaning. I’m not American and I know that much.

  • Axenfeld Zach
    Axenfeld Zach 5 hours ago

    Everyone is missing an even deeper and unintentional meaning of the part where Jim Crow shoots the black man, it is a symbol for Black on Black violence that is claiming countless lives.

  • Cameron Scott
    Cameron Scott 5 hours ago

    I thought the celly and tool thing was a reference to black people being gunned down because their phones supposedly were misidentified as guns, or a “tool” as some people call it. Kinda like “that’s not a knife, this is a knife” equates to “that’s not celly, that’s a tool”

  • J
    J 5 hours ago

    Yeah another hidden message most missed was... that this video and song was terrible. Let’s see how many people pick up on that

  • Random Guy01
    Random Guy01 5 hours ago +2

    "Red America values guns over lives" what BS. Conservatives acknowledge the "right to bear arms", written into the constitution by James Madison. The Liberals are the ones who don't value human lives, supporting Abortion and potentially murderous illegal aliens. Don't let the liberals fool you. Thank you for reading

  • Cherrita Rich
    Cherrita Rich 5 hours ago

    What about the scene;
    Where you see Black folks running with items in there ✋ while the police car is parked.
    Was that Representing The St. Louis, Ferguson Riot?
    Him dancing as if he was saying how the men are stepping out of pants into Femininity? Look at me know I'm so beautiful...

  • evan bowling
    evan bowling 6 hours ago

    3:30 wow thats real. I love my guns too!

  • Lord Piesaac
    Lord Piesaac 6 hours ago

    It kind of takes away the severity of the video's message when they black out the gun violence scenes

  • Jennifer Ballard
    Jennifer Ballard 6 hours ago

    Have a grate day

  • Jennifer Ballard
    Jennifer Ballard 6 hours ago

    Thanks for letting me that but I now

  • Aliah al-shabib
    Aliah al-shabib 6 hours ago

    Maybe him running at the end, is him tryig to run to the exit of the building? i have no idea Gambino's video was pure art

  • HectorNATION
    HectorNATION 6 hours ago

    The two chicken are facing othe way they are not looking at each other

  • Natosha Monroe
    Natosha Monroe 6 hours ago

    I've not seen any analysis of the reference to Oaxaca, perhaps influence and injection of drugs and/or violence, but what about the timing in the video, the immediate and noticeable silence, and his actions after the reference?

  • Triplej
    Triplej 6 hours ago

    You forgot about the 17 seconds of silence

  • DropDeadDork
    DropDeadDork 7 hours ago

    I think the one thing that bothers me the most is that at the end, the one time that he doesn't have a gun, is when all the kids seem to snap out of their trance and run away in fear. The one time he is unarmed is when the world finds him dangerous.

  • emanuelhborges
    emanuelhborges 7 hours ago

    Stephon Clark: "This a celly"
    Sacramento Policeman: "That's a tool"
    You guys missed this one for miles...

    ZODIAK BBX 7 hours ago

    Old American cars? I see like 4 jap cars aswell

  • Luke Waggoner
    Luke Waggoner 7 hours ago +1

    Wow this dude is so dumb

    • lil keosha
      lil keosha 2 hours ago

      Luke Waggoner how your the dumb one

  • Micah Buckley
    Micah Buckley 7 hours ago

    at the end, he throws the weed he just lit, lyrics say, "Grandma told me/Get your money/Black man," and he does the James Brown, "Get Down", right after he tosses it and dances on top of the cars, it's a message to the Black community, "Don't get caught up in drugs or the game, use your God-given talent, rise above, get your money, and get free." Genius.

  • Coral W
    Coral W 7 hours ago +1

    In his video from I believe 2:45-3:01 it’s silent for 17 seconds for the seventeen kids who lost there lives during the shooting

  • Xx_FaZe_ Bread_xX
    Xx_FaZe_ Bread_xX 7 hours ago

    The people that were not hurt in the video dancing with him are supposed to be the countries that helped America in war

  • Maja Eskelinen
    Maja Eskelinen 7 hours ago

    Thank you for making this video and explains the meanings!

  • Justen Taylor
    Justen Taylor 7 hours ago

    Childish gambino plays America and everything else between the video n song are about being black in America. Very well thought out

  • kevinhart Memes
    kevinhart Memes 7 hours ago

    I think you should’ve explained the white horse more. That it more symbolizes “death by the sword” or murder and just death. Like war.

  • SanQuiSau
    SanQuiSau 7 hours ago

    *m e m e s*

  • Truth Observatory
    Truth Observatory 8 hours ago

    Can’t gambino tell us himself. Why do we have to go by what “others online” have ‘inferred’

  • Void
    Void 8 hours ago

    And, this is why I praise this man..

  • Logan Thomas
    Logan Thomas 8 hours ago

    before Gambino shoots the carolers they say to Gambino (maybe)to get your money "black man"

  • RealMetalGaming
    RealMetalGaming 8 hours ago +1

    This song is garbage and pretentious.

  • Swag Muffin
    Swag Muffin 8 hours ago +2

    Everyone suddenly an expert on black culture

  • Matthew Maxwell
    Matthew Maxwell 8 hours ago

    My friend Luke was killed in the Florida shootings, not from gunfire but from a cocaine overdose. I prayed for him for weeks and then was contacted by a black guy claiming to be him. I don't know whether to believe him but I've never seen them in the same room RIP

  • littlepinkskeleton
    littlepinkskeleton 8 hours ago

    Someone said that the ending scene where he runs is a reference to Get Out.

  • Conrick Reynolds
    Conrick Reynolds 8 hours ago

    The 17 second of silence (I forgot what my teacher said it mean but I think he said it’s for 17 people that died but I forgot how and where

  • wiingsHD
    wiingsHD 9 hours ago

    First ever smart comment section

  • Jennifer Carbonel
    Jennifer Carbonel 9 hours ago

    The 17 Second pause for Parkland

  • Lucas z
    Lucas z 9 hours ago

    (this is not a message for the hard working majority, just for the whiny minority)For the few black americans complaining about America: You have no idea how lucky you are to be born in such country, for the rest of the world you are as much white as the white people you accuse of being privileged, instead of complaining about how hard life is in a global superpower go to a normal country (like brazil, mexico, china, india 99% of the world) to see what poverty and violence really looks like.

    • Lucas z
      Lucas z 4 hours ago

      Yeah, you're right, there're tons of issues that need to be adressed, but you have to understand that America is a fertile place for you to do anything you want, any carreer or goal you want to pursue America is probably the best market to do it, wanna build rockets and go to space ? america. Wanna be a great professor and teach at the best universities in the world ? america. Acting? America. see ? I know America has it's issues but it's most fertile place to be sucessful, it doesn't matter who you are or where you came from the only thing that matters is what you can do, capitalism at it's best.

    • Fajr Williams
      Fajr Williams 5 hours ago

      Oooooooor we could just go to the many lower income neighborhoods in America and see what poverty and violence looks like. Americans maybe lucky but there are problems that need to be fixed and white Americans won't even admit they exist. They just keep trying to live in their perfect little worlds, even though everything is burning around them. Yeah we may be lucky to some degree but teenagers are being butchered, actually on 22 occasions since the year has started. And black Americans still are disrespected and continue to be murdered by the same ones who are supposed to protect and serve us. This isn't about how "lucky" we are. It's about brining awareness to the disfunction going on in America then nobody wants to address.

  • godwin ameh
    godwin ameh 9 hours ago

    that was what happen to my innocent cousin in America he was shoot in his school.I cried my eye off.

  • Rigo Martinez
    Rigo Martinez 10 hours ago

    The red cloth in not Red America. Otherwise the person handling it would be wearing red. Red almost always mean passion, anger, intensity anger. Most of the the gun crime was glorified and magnified to control you. While his message is clear it doesn’t mean that it’s 100% pure and correct. They can either control through anger or cause you to turn a blind eye out of fear and apathy.

  • Trinidad Flores
    Trinidad Flores 10 hours ago

    The plug on Oaxaca....

  • Rigo Martinez
    Rigo Martinez 10 hours ago

    Celly means cell phone

  • Austin Keyes
    Austin Keyes 10 hours ago

    Goddamn everyone in this thread is woke af

  • Michael Frazier Jr.
    Michael Frazier Jr. 10 hours ago

    Who is this girl in the video 😘

  • kaizenzx
    kaizenzx 10 hours ago

    What's the meaning of blurring out the shootings most or all of us here have already seen This Is America, anyways if a kid was searching it up they would watch the first video that comes up.
    Edit: First one being Gambino's "This is America" Music Video.

  • dali Turki
    dali Turki 10 hours ago

    The song it's about the real life for black in America

  • Rodolfo Bevilacqua
    Rodolfo Bevilacqua 10 hours ago

    This guy is a little lelé da cuca and this video is bad.

  • Serj
    Serj 11 hours ago

    I dont think really anyone cares about the song its just a song

  • Titaly Cindy
    Titaly Cindy 11 hours ago

    It shows the demons around America..they will kill the Christians but the the word.and those cellphones will be the door to find us.
    Satan is showing us his plan.
    But stil we are blind.
    His moves are scary. ..
    Is like danger is on the move..

  • itslifeontop willimas
    itslifeontop willimas 11 hours ago

    He also took shots at several rappers who keep y’all entertained with a lot of bull but y’all still listen to them n praise them young thug drake migos 2 chainz Kodak maybe CB with the dancing

  • Makeupdivaamber
    Makeupdivaamber 11 hours ago +2

    Wow....this is deep!!!

  • Mangetsu / Der Deutsch Gamer

    I noticed most of these, but some were pretty interesting

  • PixieStyxie
    PixieStyxie 11 hours ago

    Also the white horse could represent drugs and addictions.

  • PixieStyxie
    PixieStyxie 11 hours ago

    What are the two lines in the roof at the end?
    It could refer to organised racism & the killing of blacks by those involved within they originations. (Police, prisons, life)

  • Angela Alvino
    Angela Alvino 11 hours ago

    Your completely wrong

  • Jefrejtor
    Jefrejtor 11 hours ago

    My only doubt about this is that this track couldn't work so well without the music video. Isn't that kinda important?

  • Bee Trippin
    Bee Trippin 12 hours ago


  • No Comment
    No Comment 12 hours ago

    I like this gamino guy

  • hidden assassin32
    hidden assassin32 12 hours ago +2

    Or maybe. Its just a song sung by a black guy?

    • Fajr Williams
      Fajr Williams 5 hours ago

      ....yes, it is a song sung by a black guy. Very good!!! It also has multiple accounts of symbolism intelligently imbedded into the video and song. Maybe swallow your pride and listen to the breakdown...?

  • Sabrina Hornef
    Sabrina Hornef 12 hours ago

    Still can’t decide if this is just another dumb video with desensitizing material or Gambino’s attempt at getting people’s attention for good.

  • Sabrina Hornef
    Sabrina Hornef 12 hours ago

    A minor detail amidst all the racial and spiritual symbolism- but does anyone else notice when he lights a joint the other guy’s head is shown covered still? Legal pot is gaining traction but not for any good reason, just to keep us dumbed down and blind folded.

  • A Bane Among Tyrants
    A Bane Among Tyrants 12 hours ago

    www.Twitter.com/EdmEternal !!!!!!!!!

  • TheRealBorisHD
    TheRealBorisHD 12 hours ago

    The 17 seconds of silence in the video are meant for the 17 kids that died in the shooting

  • Nereid of Doom
    Nereid of Doom 13 hours ago

    Thank you for this analysis. I've not gotten around to catching on analyses of this video, but gods, I see it all now. And this just solidifies my opinion that Donald Glover/Childish Gambino is Just Plain Freaking Talented AF, which I was saying when I first caught him on "Community." I like and admire him more each day.

  • Sesame Modise
    Sesame Modise 13 hours ago

    I thought I was hallucinating when I saw Donald dancing with nods to Southern Africa. It's not often we are credited. It doesn't bother me that much because I don't have it in me to be angry about something so miniscule while people are getting killed. I'm glad this vid came out. The whole world should realize what's happening. We can't all pretend American problems are only for America.
    It pains me that I'm only 14 and have to think about such instead of if the girls sitting next to me in class like me.
    So "Gory" or not , I appreciate this. Praying for everyone in and outside of America.

    VINCENT MAZE 13 hours ago

    you missed the man jumping down on a car

  • Peter Wright
    Peter Wright 13 hours ago

    The memes are funny.