In May 2018, Childish Gambino (Donald Glover) shocked the world with ‘This is America’ hit, which reached over 30M views on Youtube in a few days. Polemic and inventive, the video clip showcases the artist dancing and shooting black people in a empty factory, while disturbs and chaos are sparking behind him.
Apart from the meaning of the whole clip, what has been most shocking is Gambino’s dance movements. All his choreography is based on afrobeat dances, and was designed by Sherrie Silver, a 23-year-old dancer from Rwanda who is based in the U.K.
Silver explained that Glover’s team contacted her after seeing some of her videos. They were especially interested in Sherrie’s work with children. Maybe that’s the reason why in ‘This is America’ video Gambino is joined by a group of children dressed in school uniforms.
How to dance ‘This is America’
Sherrie promised to upload a tutorial video when ‘This is America’ reached a 100 millions views, so she did it. And it has got over one million views too. In the clip, Silver explains the different movements and styles that Gambino and his crew perform: gwara-gwara, azonto, shoki…
There are also Angola gyrations, Ghana’s alkayida and an exaggerated Côte d’Ivoire walk style in which you “imagine you’re walking into a party”. These are not dances with deep spiritual meanings, but rather they’re the most prolific forms of creative expression for young Africans right now.