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Childish Gambino’s “This Is America” Criticized As “House Slave” Trauma Porn

big ralph | February 12, 2019

Jase Harley dropped a track entitled "American Pharaoh" in 2016. Two years later, Childish Gambino released "This Is America," and Harley fans were quick to notice a resemblance between both songs. Jase remained humble when he first addressed the issue. The New Jersey rapper had said he was glad to have been a source of inspiration for Gambino's new track. Since the song made history last night as the first Hip Hop single to be named Song of The Year at the Grammy Awards, Harley's words are more nuanced.

From his perspective, "This Is America" is a disservice the Black community considering its sensationalization of the violence against Black people paired Donald's apparent refusal to further the discourse offstage through tangible action. In this context, Harley compares his win to a house slave taking the chants sung by those working the fields and being rewarded with a bigger room in the house for performing the beautiful songs to the master, while the field slaves' predicament remains unchanged. Harley is upset by the award winner's disconnect from the community and his refusal to acknowledge "American Pharaoh" but still celebrates Glover as a young Black man who is finding success.

Glover's absence may have been a protest, a way for him to distance himself from this rhetoric, though his reasons have yet to be confirmed. Since his brand was built on the embodiment of the outcasted geeky Black kid and the performance shock value music with lyrics that were often perceived as offensive by many marginalized communities, Gambino's intentions are arguably muddy. Even though Donald has the ability to evolve like any other individual, some of his critics view the song "This Is America" as an opportunist effort to capitalize on traumatic social issues rather than the prophetic anthem heralded by leftists or a call to action benefitting civil rights movements.

The "American Pharoah" artist added some context to the remarks he made on TMZ. "This is bigger than awards season. Bigger than symbolic wins and shock value. This is about Terry Murray, David Elcock, Nasim Byrd and other family I lost to gun violence in my community," he wrote via Facebook. "This is about providing opportunities and empowering the individual instead of the corporate. This is about empowering young creatives, enacting legislation and providing opportunities for the working class."

"It’s about encouraging and inspiring the culture so that we can have more innovators and business owners. It makes our work as activists and independent artists more difficult when our hard work gets hijacked and unrecognized, especially by those that we look up to to speak on our behalf. Our public icons should be helping us fight the culture vultures, not becoming them," he continued. "I hold everyone to higher standards especially if they’re gonna be making songs about race, struggle and civil rights. If your platform is truth then speak it."

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Written by big ralph

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