The freethinking of Childish Gambino

“I felt like I needed to be heard. Everybody’s so scared on the internet, even though it’s supposed to be the most freeing thing. They’re actually afraid to say and do whatever. The internet isn’t a place where freethinking is rewarded.”

-Donald Glover in a 2013 interview with NME

As i get older, (and maybe because we’re immersed, even drowning, in this age of judgment) i think my thoughts are intensely personal. Always, my first instinct is to protect them from violence.  i know; i’m not alone. Recently, my guy showed me Donald Glover aka Childish Gambino’s music video, “This is America,” released a couple days ago.


Donald Glover in Toronto at TIFF 2015

Of course, media have already gone hoarse deconstructing and discussing the meaning embedded in the song’s lyrics and in the video. Don’t get me wrong; i’m one to talk as well.  But my guy had also directed me to a series of intensely personal revelations Glover wrote on hotel napkins back in 2013. Remember that? Described as a seven-page letter, it presented the artist’s mental meandering of fears and anxieties emancipated into the public sphere (i.e., Instagram). At the time, it left some people wondering aloud if the man was having a breakdown. The cynics in the Coliseum could only wish. Now considering this sagacious song and its music video, looks like Glover was on the brink of a breakthrough.

He has turned the mirror and is holding it to America’s face; and he’s doing this in a time when the nation’s lost could benefit from questioning, contemplating, listening, and admitting their vulnerabilities. Because living as a racialized individual in America breeds insecurity. All around. This cat embraces his. If that isn’t the definition of fortitude, … well.


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