Last Sunday, Childish Gambino‘s “This Is America” won a Grammy in every category for which it was nominated: Song of the Year, Record of the Year, Best Rap/Sung Performance, and — with director Hiro Murai — Best Music Video. The rare song to debut at No. 1 on the Billboard charts, it’s also the first rap song to win in most of those categories, capping a big year for Gambino (aka Donald Glover) whose performance as Lando Calrissian in 2018’s Solo was one of the standouts of that Star Wars film.
“This Is America” has been somewhat controversial in that rapper Jase Hartley has accused Glover of plagiarizing it, and he went so far as to levy the loaded term “house slave” at him in the wake of all the Grammy wins. But doubtless many people were mesmerized by the song’s video, a stark and at times disturbingly frank depiction of violence against African-Americans.
Some people don’t go for social commentary, it seems. NRA TV host Grant Stinchfield, on his show Stinchfield — great name! — got super-upset with “This Is America” and its half-billion views, offering the trenchant rejoinder that “This is not America.”
In the span of only a few minutes, Stinchfield manages to combine the “My kid makes me listen to this stuff, but I’m still an expert” nonsense with an ISIS comparison, a little bit of why-do-they-always-have-to-make-it-about-race, and some especially ugly rhetoric about so-called Black-on-Black crime. (Stinchfield is also the spokesperson who’s a strong proponent of the myth that arming everyone in American public schools is the solution to mass shootings.) Media Matters diligently caught this particular outburst, emphasis ours:
It’s not America. That is not America. In fact that looks more like an ISIS video in a Syrian warehouse than anywhere in America. Here’s the thing, I believe the reason Gambino won this award was because it’s perceived as anti-gun. In my humble opinion, the song isn’t that good. And my son forces me to listen to Top 40 stations and I could recite far too many of those songs word for word. I’ve never heard of This is America. Which means the Grammy folks like it, the people didn’t. If the people loved it, the radio stations would play it every ten minutes, trust me I know. …
The sad part is Gambino’s childish view of so-called gun violence in America today. It’s not mass shootings [that] are killing children in overwhelming numbers. It’s Black-on-Black crime. Hispanic-on-Hispanic crime. The stark reality is it’s minorities killing minorities that has become an epidemic that gun control zealots appear not to care a damn thing about. White kids shot in school, that’s wall-to-wall coverage. Not that it doesn’t deserve that coverage, it does. Not that I don’t want to stop all mass shootings, I do. But on some weekends, more kids are killed in Chicago than in Parkland or Santa Fe, and that gets no coverage, and that’s wrong. But don’t get me wrong, one mass shooting is far too many. Just as one murder in the hood is too many as well, but it’s childish to think guns are to blame for all of this when we have society that is training our kids to have no regard for human life much less a regard for their own life. Childish Gambino should focus on that, instead he did exactly what would win him a Grammy. He focused on guns and of course racism in America trying to make half of America look bad by calling out oppression instead of encouraging empowerment.
The idea of anyone from the National Rifle Association — this National Rifle Association — lecturing anyone about the causes of violence, particularly in such a racist way, is disgusting. Also, it’s American gun fetishists, not critics of gun culture, who look the most like ISIS.