Childish Gambino’s “This is America” Final Scene Seems to Reference Anime

Earlier this week, Donald Glover (aka Childish Gambino) dropped a music video for his provocative new single “This is America.”


The song features Gambino’s signature use of comedy, satire, surrealism, and pop culture references to deliver a multi-layered experienced. Gambino says he won’t explicitly explain the song’s message, but many viewers see it as a takedown of corporate media, America’s gun culture, and the lack of empathy for black shooting victims.

Gambino teamed up with his Atlanta collaborator Hiro Murai for the music video. The Tokyo-born director has won a handful of awards for his music videos, which are often times packed with social commentary and surreal visuals.

Murai also likes to sneak in anime references, and “This is America” seems to feature a brief shout-out to Paprika. Director Murai tweeted out a Paprika gif that matches the final scene in the music video a few days before “This is America” was published. Murai himself is an anime fan and grabbed headlines when he was in in the running to direct the live-action Akira and spoke out against whitewashing Asian roles.


What do you think of Childish Gambino’s new music video?

Majored in Music @Duke, but realized that being a Jazz singer wasn't a real job. Now I spend my days watching anime and writing about the music industry. Glad to be in the new round of GB hires. Look forward to my coverage.
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