Childish Gambino’s ‘This Is America’ may only be an hour old, releasing directly to Youtube during his SNL hosting performance, but that didn’t stop him from bringing at least part of the video’s shocking aesthetic to the stage. While the guns and violence were cut, the uniformed children from the video joined him on stage to perform the popular dances that permeate hip-hop’s most popular visuals. Their exuberance is contrasted by his deadpan delivery and vicious scowl, suggesting that while he may disapprove of the good-times attitude the genre embraces, he understands its necessity.
Gambino — aka Donald Glover — had himself a fantastic show, directing many of his sketches to Black American in-jokes and pop cultural references, from Migos to Oran “Juice” Jones’ “In The Rain” monologue. He even put in an appearance as his Solo character, Lando Calrissian. He also debuted another new song during his first set, continuing to showcase his funky aesthetic from Awaken, My Love! while demonstrating some impressive evolution.
From Atlanta to Solo to his new album coming soon to his tour with Rae Sremmurd this summer, Donald Glover is keeping himself and his Childish Gambino persona busy before he retires Gambino permanently. If this really is the end for Childish Gambino, it looks like he’ll be going out with a bang.