On the latest Saturday Night Live, Childish Gambino – the musical pseudonym for actor and Atlanta creator Donald Glover – released “This Is America,” a searing social critique of pop culture and the experience of being black in America today.
The actor, who has been riding high these days with both his series “Atlanta” and his role as young Lando Calrissian in the forthcoming “Solo: A Star Wars Story,” both hosted “Saturday Night Live” and was the musical guest as his rap/R&B alter ego, ‘Childish Gambino‘.
Glover as Gambino won a Grammy this year for best traditional R&B performance for his song “Redbone” and premiered two new songs on “SNL,” titled “Saturday” and “This Is America.”
Here’s what you need to know about the music video that has many hailing Glover/Gambino as a genius: You will need to watch it more than once
Directed by “Atlanta” director Hiro Murai, the video is pretty surreal and packed full of messages.
It’s expansive and filmed in a warehouse, which allows for a lot of action.
As much as your eye will be drawn to Glover as a shirtless Gambino, pay close attention also to what is happening in the background.
~It takes on gun violence in America~
Murders occur, but the guns are treated more delicately than human lives in the video — a strong statement given the current debate over gun control.
The imagery also has sparked conversation about several other themes, including police brutality, social media habits and what people are really paying attention to in the United States.
“The fact that Childish Gambino’s ‘This is America‘ tackles police brutality, gun violence, media misdirection, and the use of African Americans as a brand shield, all while dancing in Jim Crow-style caricature, shows a transcendence or mere performance and demands attention,” one person tweeted.
On the Monday, October 23 episode, the celebrities were tasked with performing routines that captured the spirit of various movie genres. Adding to the fun, Shania Twain joined as a guest judge – and yes, she was just as bubbly and nice as you expected.
Top prize wemt Lindsey Stirling and Mark Ballas, whose sci-fi Argentine tango was literally perfection. Mark played a mad scientist and Lindsey was his cyborg female creation. Len thought the choreography was “phenomenal” and the dancing was “brilliant.” Bruno then declared it the best dance of the season.
It was Disney Night on Monday, October 16, Dancing With the Stars and Jordan Fisher brought some real Disney magic to the dance floor, earning the first perfect score of the season!
Fisher – a former Disney Channel star himself – couldn’t have been more excited to hit the stage with his pro partner, Lindsay Arnold, for an foxtrot set to Fisher’s own version of the song “You’re Welcome,” from the Moana soundtrack.
The Polynesian-themed dance, complete with palm trees surrounding the stage, was a perfect showcase for Fisher’s talent and Arnold’s stunning choreography.
One of the most impressive aspects of the song came during Lin-Manuel Miranda’s verse, during which Jordan and Arnold added modern dance elements to what had been a largely traditional foxtrot, giving it a unique twist.
~Refugee uses ballet to create a message of peace~
Half a year ago, ballet dancer Ahmad Joudeh was giving dance lessons to orphaned children in war-torn Damascus. Now he has made his debut at the Dutch National Ballet and is studying at the ballet academy in Amsterdam.
“It took me a month to fully realize I really am in Amsterdam, and I still can’t believe my luck,” Joudeh says.
For years, as the war raged around him and his family, Joudeh – a stateless Palestinian in Syria – had tried to make ends meet by teaching, and had received death threats from Islamic State. When the summons to do three years of military service arrived, the 26-year-old began to believe that this was going to be the end of the dream that he had cradled from childhood.
But his life changed radically in August 2016 when a Dutch TV journalist made a documentary about him.
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Joudeh not only struggled to survive as a dancer during the Syrian war: he also fought a tough, private war to realize his dream.
“My father forbid me to dance,” he says. “Because in our culture, to be a ballet dancer is the worst thing your son can choose to do for a living. He said it was a shame for the family and wanted me to study English or medicine. But I said no, this is my life. I went to dance class secretly. When he found out, he beat me with a wooden stick. He used to beat me really hard. Once he hurt my leg so badly, I couldn’t dance for days. But I never gave in.
On Dancing with the Stars, Cheryl Burke, the Mirror Ball Trophy-winning professional dancer returns to the show during the ninth week of performances. Cheryl will give an emotional sneak peek at her own live stage show, “Love on the Floor.” She brought the show to Japan first, in 2016, with Olympic gold medalist figure skater Kristi Yamaguchi who won Season 6 (2008) with Mark Ballas.
Cheryl says “Love on the Floor” is all “the relationships we go through – the romance, the passion, the hurt.” That said, she reassures fans that there is a happy ending in “Love on the Floor.”