Childish Gambino Research paper “This is America”

I chose Childish Gambino’s “This is America” as the main topic of the essay. I summarized the essay as “With technology advancing year after year, there are more tools for the general public to use in the category for self-defense. This is true when it comes to recording footage to save yourself in court or possibly death when you find yourself in tough situations with corrupted law. In the music video for Childish Gambino’s song This is America, he goes to reference “This a celly (ha), That’s a tool (yeah)” (Gambino). In the music video, Gambino is depicted shedding light on the recent incidents of gun violence in America, mentioning that everyone has a cell phone that can be used as a tool for self dense as a tool against the court for corrupted cops. Gambino also depicts himself dancing with a group of school children violence erupts in the background. “It’s really a commentary on how much violence and contradictions there are in the consuming of pop culture, particularly in the violent elements of it,” (Gajanan). The essay will go over the different topics of subjects mentioned in the song, where we’ll go over gun violence in America and the hidden meaning of the lyrics, analyzing for different lyrics and visuals from the music videos using different methods of analyzing.”. This was a very rough idea and was only used for discussion, please feel free to add more to this idea and help make this a really good essay. Please use the 8 citations provided and add more if needed.


For this research paper, you will choose any music (or related subject) to take up as your object of study. It might be one song or several songs. It might be a single album. It might be one artist; it might be a pairing or group of related artists. It might be songs that address a related issue. No matter the quantity of songs, genre of music, or exact media form, your goal is this: to employ the ideas and methods of the above-mentioned authors in order to make a case for the importance of the music you choose.

The music you choose to study may or may not relate to the specific genres or topics taken up by Vernallis, Lipsitz, and Davis. Nevertheless, your research paper should attempt to draw parallels and establish continuities between these scholars’ projects and your own.

Most importantly, your research paper must resemble, in noticeable ways, these scholars’ methods of inquiry. Vernallis, Lipsitz, and Davis’s methods will be a central focus in our online discussions, and in the research paper, modeling these writers will be your single-most important key to success.



2,500+ words in MLA format, including a works cited page.
8+ sources must be cited. Include quotes, paraphrases, and references from Kellner and Share, Vernallis, Lipsitz, Davis, and your outside sources. It is required that you incorporate their perspectives in order to anchor your project as working scholarship. You must cite ALL sources used in your paper. Failure to do so will be considered plagiarism and will result in a grade of F on the assignment.

Keys to Success

Make a case for the importance of your selected music. What social, cultural, or political significance—historical and/or contemporary—can be discovered in the music? Has its significance been misinterpreted or underappreciated? Has the music been neglected by certain demographics? Who is it that might need to be convinced that this music matters?
Give only a brief biographical overview of the artist. This overview should serve to illuminate the music. Do not give an extended encyclopedic overview of the artist’s life.
Interpret and explain the lyrics (as opposed to summarizing them). Prioritize your own explanations, and feel free to do so in conversation with other interpretations of the lyrics.
Interpret the music itself along with any relevant album art, videos, concerts, etc., when applicable.
Utilize relevant research materials: articles, books, album reviews, recordings, video footage, and websites that illuminate or discuss your album and the artist.

Cornish, Audie, and Monika Evstatieva. “Donald Glover’s ‘This Is America’ Holds Ugly Truths to Be Self-Evident.” NPR, NPR, 7 May 2018,

Davis, Angela Y. Blues Legacies and Black Feminism: Gertrude Ma Rainey, Bessie Smith, and Billie Holiday. Vintage, 2011.

Gajanan, Mahita. “Childish Gambino’s ‘This Is America’: Breaking down Symbols.” Time, Time, 7 May 2018,

Gambino, Childish. “Childish Gambino – This Is America (Official Video).” YouTube, YouTube, 5 May 2018, (Links to an external site.).

Grieve, Lola. “’This Is America’: A Powerful Social Commentary.” The Oxford Student, 27 May 2018,

Lipsitz, George. “The Long Fetch of History; or, Why Music Matters.”.” Footsteps in the Dark: The Hidden Histories of Popular Music (2007): 1-26.

Lyubansky, Mikhail. “A Racial Analysis of Childish Gambino’s ‘This Is America.’” Psychology Today, Sussex Publishers,

Vernallis, Carol. “Beyoncé’s Overwhelming Opus; or, the Past and Future of Music Video.” Film Criticism 41.1 (2017).

CAROL VERNALLIS:–beyonce-s-overwhelming-opus-or-the-past-and-future-of-music?rgn=main;view=fulltext