It’s been about a month since Childish Gambino released the stunning, Hiro Murai-directed music video for “This Is America.” In that time, the internet has mostly just concerned itself with trying to figure out what each element of the video means, making sense of disorienting images that, in aggregate, function like a kind of frustrated scream at the myriad horrors of American life.
Others, like the people at YouTube channel WiziBlimp, have responded to its powerful and discomfiting artistic statement in another way: by remaking it, for some godforsaken reason, using models from super-popular video game Fortnite.
Watch for yourself to see Donald Glover and Murai’s vision of a nation tearing itself apart, unable to come to grips with the legacy of brutal racism that informs its modern culture, turned into something that looks like the world’s most ill-advised, direct-to-Netflix kid’s movie. Take in some of the video’s most shocking and unsettling imagery, like the shooting of a black gospel choir or Glover running in utter terror from unseen pursuers, now played out by Fortnite’s cast of floppy cartoon characters. You think you’ve seen everything until you’ve seen a bunch of heavily armed Pixar rejects performing the game’s unlockable “emote” dances in a recreation of Glover’s own moves, which are, well, more than likely meant to evoke the dehumanization of minstrel shows.
The clip is definitely impressive, both in its video editing and the fact that throughout the doubtlessly time-intensive process of creating it, nobody involved thought to question why it needed to exist. Sure, no popular art is entirely sacrosanct, but, given the subject matter of the original video, strip mining it for context-free memes and parodies seems like poor taste. But hey, it exists now and, whatever you may think of this Fortnite-flavored take on “This Is America,” at least it’s not this fucking thing.
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