In a mere seven days, Donald Glover’s video for “This is America” has racked up over 120 million views and added to the national conversation on race and violence. But the 34-year-old said its success won’t change how Black folks are received, and it won’t remove the unjust treatment that’s often doled out.
The “Solo” actor also predicted that his level of celebrity isn’t even enough to change things, because if Barack Obama wasn’t famous enough to put a dent in racism, he won’t be able to do it either.
“It’s like when Obama became president and people said racism was over,” said Glover. “I have a lyric I haven’t put out yet: ‘White kids like me, I rap about comics and stuff / White kids hate me I don’t scare their parents enough.’ I don’t use my Black card, so people don’t get hood tourism by listening to my music, but I do try to be honest with my situation and who I am.”
Glover has spoken candidly about race in the past, both before and after “This is America” dropped, and in one interview he talked about the challenges he faced while making “Atlanta,” his hit cable show.
According to the multi-talented artist, TV and movie executives gauge a project’s success based on how well it will do with white audiences to support a financial bottom line.
In fact, Glover said if the “Atlanta” writers didn’t have to keep white audiences in mind when creating scrips, they would be delivering completely different material.
“If ‘Atlanta’ was made just for Black people, it would be a very different show,” admitted Glover in a separate interview. “But I can’t even begin to tell you how, because Blackness is always seen through a lens of whiteness, the lens of what white people can profit from at that moment.”
“That hasn’t changed through slavery and Jim Crow and civil-rights marches and housing laws and ‘We’ll shoot you.’ Whiteness is equally liquid, but you get to decide your narrative,” he added.