So, Childish Gambino dropped a wonderful video for his song, “This Is America” (that you can find a dope ass piece about the video on this very site) and Black America lost its collective mind. There have been plenty of comments, videos, and articles breaking down the myriad of messages in Donald Glover’s brilliant work. Some people don’t care much for the song (I don’t think it holds up very well without the accompanying video), but the adoration for the music video appears to be unanimous. Or at least it appeared to be unanimous.
SUMMON THE HOTEPS!!!
Of course the Hoteps came through like an aggressive, angry, cocoa butter flood, and brought up the fact that he has a white girlfriend and due to this he is not worthy of being “woke”. The narrative soon shifted to what it means to be black enough to deliver positive messages and subtext for your people. I’ll just put it out there now: F**k anybody who believes that bulls**t. It makes no sense to dismiss someone because of the skin color of who they love. That essentially turns you into the thing that you hate and that pattern of thought should not serve as a means to disqualify a person’s opinion or position in their community. Something interesting happened over the course of the 2,000th Great Social Media Ragnarok that dramatically shifted the argument. Some people adopted the theory that black women don’t want the black male geek.
I immediately called bulls**t.
As a dark-skinned big fella who loves himself some Spider-Man, I checked off all of the boxes that would prevent me from getting play according to a popular perception of the world during the 90’s and most of the 00’s. For a while I did hide the geek that lied beneath. Think of it in the way the Bruce Banner tries to hide The Hulk, but with WAY more success and WAY less rage. The biggest things I had going for me growing up was that I knew how to hold a conversation and I had black knowledge on my side.
Then “Iron Man” dropped. Then “The Incredible Hulk” dropped. Then “Thor” dropped.
All of a sudden, a lot of black women were interested in super heroes, but they didn’t know a lot about it.
BLACK MALE GEEKS WERE FINALLY A F*****G THING!!! Keep in mind that this was around the time Rick Ross, a dark skinned big man with a beard, had ebony queens seeking out dark skinned big men with beards. It was my opportunity to be my ENTIRE self when talking to women about the things I liked. I didn’t have to end my description of myself at “…and I like sports, of course.” Now I could end with “… and I’m a huge comic book, God of War, Dragon Ball Z, Samurai Jack, and wrestling fan.” The paradigm had shifted dramatically and we had inherited the Earth.
Because of my experience with this, I couldn’t grasp the notion that black women wouldn’t go for a black geek in 20-f*****ng-got damn-18. My wife wasn’t into all of this Marvel/DC s**t until my web-slinging, tombstone piledriver using, Kamehameha throwing ass introduced her to that universe. Dating is hard, especially for millennials, but not to the point where I had to hide my geek level. It’s something that just wasn’t my reality. I originally came into writing this piece thinking that I was just going to roast geeks who still couldn’t get with some Ebony Ecstasy and blamed their geekiness for their lack of game.
Hell I posted a meme on the NJL FB page kinda-sorda pointing to the fact that people who believed that ish couldn’t close the deal because they weren’t attractive enough to the target demographic.
Then you see testimonials like this and think there’s no way in hell black geeks aren’t getting it in:
“It was like 4am and I was with my cousin. We’d gone out to Nitelyfe of all places and some dude she was seeing at the time wanted to go to iHop, I just wanted to go home so my attitude was hella salty. He invited a friend to, I guess, keep me calm but I was pretty much ignoring the poor fool. I was drunk, tired, he wasn’t attractive to me at all and I’m not nice enough for small talk. Pretty much sat there on mute while we waited for our food. I can’t remember what happened but I remember chuckling and saying, “OK Quinn Blackwood.” Under my breath. He kinda leaned back and looked at me and said, “What you know about Anne Rice?” Now I’m pretty much looking at him the same way asking the same question. We start geeking out because she’s apparently our favorite author. Everybody at the table is giving us that look non-geeky people give when two of us unexpectedly find each other in public and start having a conversation they can’t follow. I think I decided I was going to screw this unicorn of a man the moment Anne’s name exited his mouth because how many dudes do you know that go to Nitelyfe AND read shit like Anne f*****g Rice?”- M
Dawg if Anne f*****g Rice out here getting people *insert long-ass inappropriate, graphic, COUNTRY descriptions of sex* then just imagine what Batman and Iron Man are getting ninjas out here! When being a black geek and dating, confidence is definitely a key trait. Without it, you ain’t s**t. There are black, strong, smart, THICK geeky women who want to talk to you about the end of the Dragon Ball Super Tournament of Power or why the Nintendo Switch is an abomination in the presence of Odin.
YOU JUST NEED TO BE BETTER!!!
Or do you? The more I researched this topic, the more I learned about the other side of this coin. Apparently some people are trash enough to still tease and roast others because of the things that they like.
I didn’t expect to write this much about this topic, but I guess I have to split it up. Come back for Part 2!!!
J2 remembers the first time he was disrespected. The event occurred when one of his friends tried to tell him that Barney was a better show the Batman: The Animated Series. Legend has it, they’re still in the Shadow Realm singing that damn Barney song.
In the Era of Yeezus, Donald Glover is showing himself to be the Many Faced God of Black Excellence.
Listen man, I honestly can’t tell you how many times I have watched “This is America” at this point since it came out. I can tell you it has been more times than it should be reasonably healthy to do, and I don’t see a forseeable future when I won’t watch it ooooohhh...at least 5x a day. As I sit down with writing this Book of Gambino Chapter 1 I am watching it on repeat as we speak. So if ya’ll see any spelling errors blame it on my eyes trying to do two things at once. Looking like I’m related to Forest Whitaker right now fam, it’s that serious. If this video is the sunken place, just lemme go, and tell my momma I loved her cause I don’t want to get out. I’ve been glued to it from the moment the camera pans on him from the back with that fro looking Kunta Kente Black Power righteous, that grown man beard with the Marvin Gay taco meat no shirt look. Yo, and when he all of sudden starts that sway we ALLLLL know, tell me you didn’t start the roll as soon as you saw him do it. I’ll wait...EXACTLY.
Donald bringing that positive dad body vibes. Know your worth kings.
Then, just when you think this is about to be the summer dance anthem video of 2018, BLAM! Ya boy pulled out the piece, hit the nastiest nuevo black pose ever (shout out to Black Twitter noticing that it is in reference to Jim Crow caricatures from the “Make America Great Again”-headass days.) and proceeded to implicitly, explicitly, show us what America is and has always been. Death, destruction, and distraction. In 4 minutes and 4 seconds which you will NEED ALL OF to get your life right , “This is America” shows us not just a history of America, but the unique history of Blacks in America and how we deal , how we self sabotage at times, and how we are used in this country most of us call home. Did you peep all the dance moves being the most popular viral video dances over the last few years? Of course. Or how every time blatant violence was done (against black people I might add) with a gun, the gun was treated with reverence by a school age child (MESSAGE)who takes it away, while the dead black body wasn’t even given a second thought? Most likely. And if you think I'm reaching you clearly ain’t watching this newest season of Atlanta were Donald Glover is doing a whole class on Twin Peaks like symbolism for the black culture. I could just go on and on about the symbolism in this video and the layers that have to be peeled back to reach that delicious black magic inside.
The sheer genius of the background action in the narrative of this video being more important than what is at the forefront makes the depth of the video so visceral. From the rioting going on, people dying all over the damn place, kids making it rain like that one time in KOD we won’t talk about right nah, a pale horse of death being followed by a police car, I mean... the juxtaposition between background and foreground is amazing. Even the fact every now and then Childish Gambino just drops the happy face and dancing and has this look of depression and sighs before getting back at it again is heavy with that symbolism sauce. Hell even the lyrics, while repetitive does not mean dumbed down. The lyrics combined with the dancing combined with the action in the background, creates a full on tapestry of coded language that needs to be seen as a whole to even decipher. This song is made with the video as a visual in mind. Gambino is all about his music having a visual feel to it, almost like theater. If you don’t believe me go look at any video of his Because of the Internet Tour, it is basically a musical, very much similar to this. Or even watch the SNL performances he did this weekend and see the same themes there as well.
This ain’t Kanye riding on a motorcycle and posing wax models of famous people naked faux deep. This is legit double consciousness, peek behind the veil, “This is (WHITE) America” deep. This is black man get your money, because your life ain’t worth it to them deep. Black folks keep smiling,dancing, and drugging so we don’t cry from our pain deep. Don’t get to serious of our plight, or we may be running figuratively and literally for our lives deep. I wish Donald dropped this specifically to counteract the foolishness that is Kanye West, cuz lordy lordy we needed some Django after Uncle Ruckus West showed his entire ass, but even without Kanye in the picture this video is needed. I need classes on it, I need news segments breaking it down. I need think pieces and movements created with the energy that this video has black twitter feeling. I need all the dance moves choreography passed to all the HBCU step teams, and marching bands (Really the Marching 100) to perform this during homecoming so all the voices and bodies moving and singing as one wakes up the ancestral spirits in jubilation. And most importantly...I need to run it back one more time.