Donald Glover took full advantage of the spotlight he earned as host and musical guest of “Saturday Night Live” this weekend (May 5) by dropping the audio and music video for “This is America,” his first song as Childish Gambino since the 2016 album, “Awaken, My Love!

The music video, directed by Glover’s frequent “Atlanta” collaborator Hiro Murai, demands multiple viewings to unravel the symbolism and references. The video alternates between joy and stark violence; one scene shows him dancing in front of a Black church choir before casually grabbing an assault rifle and gunning them down. Other scenes feature him dancing with a group of Black girls and boys dressed in school uniforms, as car fires and police violence rage around him. These clips play under the song’s heavy beat and lyrics like “Grandma told me: get your money, Black man” and “Police be trippin’ now, yeah, this is America, guns in my area.” Oh, and SZA made a blink-and-you’ll-miss-it cameo

Your first watch will likely leave you with more questions than answers. Thankfully, a number of Black cultural critics and artists have offered their own takes on the layers within “This is America” on social media. Here are a few of them: 

Filmmaker Justin Simien (“Dear White People”):


Author and journalist Ijeoma Oluo (“So You Want to Talk about Race”):


Writer and showrunner Cheo Hodari Coker (“Luke Cage”): 


Twitter user Isaiah Persons


Journalist and TV writer Kara Brown (“Black-ish”):