Childish Gambino’s hit song “This Is America” still ranks first at the Billboard Hot 100 Chart. It is his first song to reach number one on the chart at its debut and is also his first top ten single. It dethroned Drake’s “Nice For What” which sat at first place for four weeks.
Because of the single, his album sales also rose by 419 percent in the US, and three of his albums re-entered the Billboard 200. As of press time, “This Is America” has already racked up 109 million views on YouTube. Last week, it garnered over 63 million streams.
With the success of the song came criticism. Many people have criticised the video, which shows many symbolisms like racism, gun violence among black people, and other issues. However, Childish Gambino said that since the debut, he distanced himself from the internet to protect his sensitivity.
“It’s never really a question of ‘who is it for?’ because you’re not really in control of that,” he explained. “But I think it is a question of who I am.”
In Texas, parents criticized a teacher for showing the music video to her classes. They said the video was too violent, and one parent thought that although it addresses timely issues, it still should not be shown in class. Despite this, some still believe that it is still appropriate for the classroom setting. However, James Miles, an educator, said that he would show the video for visual inquiry activities and ask students about what they think is the message of the music video.
Despite being subject to such comments, some came to Gambino’s defense. Author and pop critic Luvvie Ajayi said that “the themes are not new, but this brings it to fresh (but dark) light.” Meanwhile, singer Erykah Badu praised him, saying that he is a genius.
When he is not Childish Gambino, he makes a name for himself in the acting industry as Donald Glover. He shall appear in a live-action remake of The Lion King and will star as a young Lando Calrissian in “Solo: A Star Wars Story.”
Video from Childish Gambino’s YouTube Channel