Childish Gambino tackles gun violence, racism in music video

NEW YORK • A graphic music video that takes aim at gun violence and racism in America has triggered great interest on YouTube, amassing more than 35 million views in just two days.

Called This Is America, the four-minute video from Childish Gambino - the stage name used by Donald Glover, 34 - begins with the shirtless actor-musician dancing to soothing rhythms in a warehouse and singing "we just wanna party" and "we just want the money".

He suddenly pulls out a handgun from the back of his trousers and executes a hooded man sitting in a chair.

A heavier, more foreboding beat drops and he raps: "This is America - don't catch you slipping up. Yeah, this is America. Guns in my area."

Later in the video, he guns down an all-black church choir in a sequence some commentators have interpreted as a reference to the 2015 murders of nine black churchgoers by a white supremacist in Charleston, South Carolina.

At several points, children in school uniforms join him in his hypnotic dance as violence occurs in the background.

The video ends with a terror-stricken Glover fleeing from a lynch mob.

It follows an appearance by the actor over the weekend on hit comedy show Saturday Night Live.

He also stars in the hotly anticipated Solo: A Star Wars Story that is set to be released later this month.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on May 10, 2018, with the headline 'Childish Gambino tackles gun violence, racism in music video'. Print Edition | Subscribe