Childish Gambino and Making Progress


I can always count on her. When I am buried in my writing projects and tapping the depth of my creativity, she reminds me to return to reality. My wife always keeps me informed.

The other day I was sitting and writing at the kitchen table. My partner was upstairs and taking a few moments to herself after putting the children to bed. From the top of the stairs she whispered, “Vernon, I just sent you a Facebook message.” I was in that creative space again extracting what Elizabeth Gilbert calls genius; I didn’t reply and kept writing.

Moments later, I decided to go upstairs and brush my teeth. She asked me, “did you hear me?”

“Yes, but not really,” was my response followed by “what’s up?”

“Read the message, but first watch the video.”

She repeated the instructions to make sure I was hearing and listening to what she had to say. It sounded like she said these four words, “WATCH THE VIDEO FIRST,” in slow motion.

I returned downstairs to open Facebook and read the message. She forwarded me a blog post by Luvvie Ajayi that discussed Childish Gambino’s new video for a single called “This is America.” Remembering my wife’s words, I clicked the triangle in the center of the thumbnail to watch the video.

These physical and mental responses transpired as I absorbed the meaning beyond Gambino's words expressed through the bodies behind his bare chest

My back was tense. A tightness in my chest formed. My eyes squinted. I began to turn my eyebrows inward and think. These physical and mental responses transpired as I absorbed the meaning beyond Gambino's words expressed through the bodies behind his bare chest.

Luvvie's piece does a commendable job of drawing the correlations between white supremacy, materialism, violence, and politics in America. I followed similar suit to Luvvie and watched the video multiple times to catch the overt and covert messages thrown. Childish Gambino's video makes a powerful statement about the fallacies that can come with life in the United States.

Opening our favorite app is the first thing we do in the morning and the last thing we do before getting in the bed.

We are often so preoccupied with ourselves that we are unable and unwilling to recognize the chaos that surrounds our community. Social media has become our God. Opening our favorite app is the first thing we do in the morning and the last thing we do before getting in the bed. While we obsess over likes, followers, and comments, too many young people of color encounter homicide threats at the hands of police officers and members of their community.

If there is any chance for America to be great, it will happen when the people say enough. It will happen when you and I say enough of this senseless violence. It will happen when we say enough to discrimination due to differences in our racial, gender, and sexual orientations. If the goal is to make America great, we must say and do the things that great people do to create success in their lives.

Successful people are grateful for the opportunities in their lives and the resources to assist others to achieve a fulfilling life. This message that we must move beyond our individualistic mentalities to address the issues impacting other people in need is apparent in Gambino's video. Through Gambino’s decision to dance, while some people in the background riot and others take pictures is a plea for us to do better. While living in the United States often comes with some material resources, it is imperative that we remain humble, grateful, and in service to people in need.

Childish Gambino's video has offended many, because of the strong violent images, lyrics, and critical outlook on life in the United States. I am not discouraged or offended. After watching this video, I am encouraged to do more with the talents, skills, resources, and abilities The Creator has blessed me with in this life. I am grateful to Gambino for sharing this message and for my wife who nudged me to stop work for an activity that motivates me to make more meaningful contributions.

If you're curious about how I came to adopt this perspective, enroll in the course I created to teach you how to tap the shoulders of your unlimited potential!

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