Since Donald "Childish Gambino" Glover debuted his single "This Is America" on last week's Saturday Night Live, the song and its accompanying video have raced around the internet, sparking analyses and arguments.
The video is extraordinary on many levels: filled with subtle and overt references to gun violence, racism and inequality; beautifully directed by Hiro Murai; expressively choreographed and superbly danced by Glover and his collaborators.
The lyrics are likewise extraordinary, as is Glover's delivery, with long pauses and melodic breaks counterpointed with flat, chanted refrains.
Some analysts attribute the success to the unique power of dance; others to Glover's reframing of masculinity in hiphop.
Clearly we're at a stretched-thin moment of tension about race, inequality and gender in America and elsewhere. It's much harder to explain why we like something than why we hate it, and to be honest, I'm at a loss for words. I've been watching this all week, hoping I'd find some way to express what I'm seeing there that keeps me coming back. I never found it. But I just watched it again.
The legendary Mavis Staples.
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