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Available Expert - Childish Gambino's This Is America video addresses race and gun violence in U.S.

Tuesday, May 8, 2018

Queen’s University historian Barrington Walker is available to comment on the new music video “This Is America” by artist Childish Gambino (aka: Donald Glover) that has gone viral on social media for its layered commentary on gun violence and racial inequality in the United States.

“Donald Glover's new track, and in particular it's accompanying video, "This is America" has sparked much controversy in both social and conventional media outlets across North America,” says Dr. Walker. “The video is rife with images that gesture to and draw upon a rich archive of Black American vernacular culture while it speaks to present and past moments of anti-Black racist terror.”

“However, some powerful critiques have already been raised in the early days after the video's release. For whom are these images intended and what work-- cultural, political, or social — is this barrage of images intended to do?” he asks. “Are they meant to shock or are they a sad commentary on the utter banality and quotidian nature of anti-Black violence in these times?”

“Lastly, what does it say about our particular moment that virtually all political conversations are being initiated by popular recording artists and what does this suggest about the material and political status of the masses of Black (North) Americans?”

NOTE: Dr. Walker is available for print and radio today before 12:30 pm or after 2 pm EST, and tomorrow for TV interviews.

To arrange an interview, please contact communications officer Dave Rideout (613.533.6000 ext. 79648, 613.453.5676, or dave.rideout@queensu.ca) or Anne Craig (613.533.2877 or anne.craig@queensu.ca) at Queen’s University News and Media Services Department in Kingston, ON, Canada.

Follow Queen’s News and Media Services on Twitter: http://twitter.com/QueensuMedia.

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