The song “This is America’” by the singer Childish Gambino, a musical stage name of Actor Donald Grover has gone Viral for all the right reasons. With over 85.3 million views on YouTube within just 11 days of its release, the song has now become the first political song to become the undoubted top grosser on the billboard hot 100 list. It is a song which everyone is talking about and watching over and over again just to find the various hidden details that directly point towards the ongoing socio-political condition of the United States. Just two days ago, Santa Fe High school was subject to mass shooting with 10 dead and 13 people injured. The song highlights just this- the brutal gun violence and the current threat to African American lives in contemporary times in the US.
After viewing the video, I was taken aback by the beautiful way in which it was shot with subtle and yet increasingly important messages being given away and the fact that it was so raw and unfiltered.
And I guess this is exactly the role of art in the form of music, dance or any form of expression -saving the society from mediocrity, preventing the opinion of a few from becoming your opinion and above all raising our voice against oppression. Now it is to be noted that even forms of art can fall prey to commodification and the wrong kind of influence, the one supporting excessive consumerism or violence shown in appealing ways. But Art used in the right direction, the one that fosters opinion and offers a new perspective is a true characteristic of constructive art. True art gives the world a new direction. It liberates us and fulfills our need to understand and to be understood.
The critical role of art in modern society was perhaps best highlighted by critical theorists Marcuse, Adorno, and Horkheimer from the Frankfurt school. According to them, art in its purest allows for a conception of a different world and communicates the possibility that reason can penetrate existing barriers.
Art as a form if Dialectical Dynamism…..
Our world is a series of ideas and counter ideas. Counter ideas have given way to major changes throughout the history of the world and have led to revolutions. By presenting itself as an opposition to the present, art exposes us to an alternative reality, to a “world that could be” therefore introducing us to a counter-culture of a more well-accepted society or ideology. The role of art is beyond entertainment. The artwork is a constant reminder that the present society exists in the lack of something significant and art helps us strive to find what that is.
‘’This is America” is a perfect example of how the door to a better future opens through the drive for creativity. Art truly helps alter the cult!
In case you've missed out on the video - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VYOjWnS4cMY