As we cling to the last bit of summer, Childish Gambino (aka Donald Glover) gifts us with another innovative visual, sparking plenty of conversation and controversy. Over Labor Day Weekend, the multi-talented creative debuted the music video for the single “Feels like Summer” from his EP Summer Pack, which was released back in July. The track itself, written and produced by Glover and Ludwig Göransson, lives up to its title as it literally washes over the listener like a warm summer breeze and feels just as carefree. The accompanying visual, however, is far more complicated in its simplicity. As usual, we can’t take anything the actor/writer/director/musician does at face value as there is always much more beneath the surface.
The star-studded animation, co-directed by Glover, Ivan Dixon and Greg Sharp and illustrated by Justin Richburg, takes viewers along for an afternoon stroll through a not-so-average neighborhood. Those of us entrenched in popular/hip-hop culture notice that all the neighbors hanging outside are famous black musicians, artists or other influential figures. The visual captures new school rappers such as Lil Pump, 21 Savage and Migos, while also showing love to pioneers such as Will Smith, Dr. Dre, Diddy, JAY-Z and Birdman. We watch as The Weeknd, Ty Dolla $ign and Frank Ocean engage in a game of tug of war against A$AP Rocky, Solange Knowles and Willow Smith. In between glimpses of our favorites enjoying regular everyday activities such as basketball or riding a bike, we watch as Glover drifts off into a few daydreams. The one that seems to have sparked the most internet debate features a teary-eyed Kanye West donning a “Make America Great Again” hat and being comforted by our forever First Lady, Michelle Obama. Whether you interpret this image as a statement on black men’s need to be “saved” by black women or a reminder that Ye hasn’t been right since his mother passed away, hence his need for the comfort and guidance of a strong mother figure, we can all agree that Gambino’s latest – and quite possibly his last – offering is chock full of layers of thought-provoking imagery.
Check out Childish Gambino’s “Feels Like Summer” video below. As with most of his work, you will likely need to watch it multiple times in order to catch all of the symbolism. If you haven’t already, download the full 2-track EP from the digital platform of your choice and ride out the last remnants of summer. As he gears up to release what is said to be his final album as Childish Gambino, be sure to grab your tickets here for his This Is America Tour, which kicks off September 6th in Atlanta and features Rae Sremmurd and Vince Staples.