Donald Glover's This is America: A Reading List

May 10, 2018 | Viveca

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 Childish Gambino's "This is America" directed by Hiro Murai [heads up: includes graphic violence and disturbing scenes]

On May 5, Donald Glover (aka Childish Gambino) released "This is America," now trending with upwards of 65 million views. This hypnotic, multi-layered project alternates between enthralling and shocking its viewers. Shifts in lighting, tone, and tempo emphasize (and distract from) the stark tension between the foreground and background action and demand repeated viewings.  As an indictment of the ongoing legacy of slavery, the exploitation of Black culture and music, and the violence and fear that informs everyday Black experience, Glover's brilliant video includes subtle (and not-so-subtle) references to Jim Crow, the Charleston massacre and Jordon Peele's Get Out. The video features backing vocals by Blocboy JB, Slim Jxmmi, Young Thug, and 21 Savage and is directed by Hiro Murai. The multi-talented Glover is also the creator and star of the award-winning television series Atlanta.  This video has generated much commentary. Some of the best analyses:  The Guardian, Rolling Stone, The New York Times, The Toronto Star, and The Globe

Canadian viewers of "This is America" may find much in this discussion that relates to communities outside the USA. 

Here is a reading list available at the Toronto Public Library to get you started: 

Between the World And Me  I've Been Meaning to Tell You

Between the World and Me by Ta-Nehisi Coates

I've Been Meaning to Tell You: A Letter to My Daughter by David Chariandy

Policing Black LivesPolicing the Black Man

Policing Black Lives: State Violence in Canada From Slavery to the Present by Robyn Maynard.  Maynard was a recent panelist at the Toronto Public Library last February.

Policing the Black Man edited by Angela J. Davis

The Making Of Black Lives Matter Watermelons Nooses Straight Razors
The Making of Black Lives Matter: A Brief History of an Idea by Christopher J. LeBron

Watermelons, Nooses, and Straight Razors: Stories from the Jim Crow Museum by David Pilgrim

They Can't Kill Us All  We Were Eight Years in Power

 "They Can't Kill Us All" by Wesley Lowery

 We Were Eight Years in Power: An American Tragedy by Ta-Nehisi Coates

Charleston Syllabus Soul Thieves

Charleston Syllabus: Readings on Race, Racism, and Racial Violence edited by Chad Williams, Kidada Williams, and Keisha Blain

Soul Thieves edited by Tamara Lizette Brown and Baruti N. Kopano

When They Call You A Terrorist Rest in Power

When They Call You a Terrorist by Patrisse Khan-Cullors and Asha Bandele

Rest in Power: The Enduring Life of Trayvon Martin by Sybrina Fulton and Tracy Martin

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