As of today, Childish Gambino’s “This Is America” has officially been certified platinum by the RIAA. Since its release on May 7 during Donald Glover’s SNL hosting gig, the track debuted at No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart, where it remained for two straight weeks, and has held the No. 1 position on the Overall Streaming Chart for three weeks in a row.
The song had been eligible for platinum status since last week on May 24.
The song is great, but its powerful Hiro Murai directed music video likely helped propel it to platinum status, as its layered meanings about American pop culture as it relates to social injustice in general and the black experience in particular in this country helped the video go viral. Since its release, the video has racked up 216 million views and it’s been No. 1 on YouTube’s U.S. Top Music Videos and U.S. Top Songs chart for three weeks.
Gambino has been relatively quiet on the meaning behind the song and its accompanying video, instead casually mentioning it’s a great pick for a Fourth of July song, which actually says more than enough about what the song is meant to represent. Still, the video’s creative director Ibra Ake said the idea was to “normalize” the black experience.
“As creators who are kind of marginalized with our voice, we try to make stuff in a vacuum in a way where we’re not influenced by what was made before us, which usually—in the media specifically— comes from a white world and a white infrastructure or a system that is controlled by white people,” Ake said in an interview earlier this month. “So even with this video, we kind of reduced it to a feeling—a very black feeling, a very violent feeling, but also a very fun feeling.”
Plus, Alex Tumay has said it was his idea to include the various ad-libs heard throughout the song by Young Thug, 21 Savage, Quavo, Slim Jxmmi, and BlocBoy JB. “The song has this all encompassing energy and I felt like that was the best way to capture it. Just feels good that someone took one of my ideas seriously and it worked,” he wrote on Twitter.