Childish Gambino’s meaning-laden, no-holds-barred song and video “This Is America,” premiered during his memorable stint hosting “Saturday Night Live” last month, has had a deep impact and a resonance on the country it reflects. And while there are plenty of social media posts lauding its significance, they really can’t compare to the reaction Gambino (aka actor/singer Donald Glover) received when he made a surprise appearance at Chance the Rapper’s Open Mic Chicago event Monday night.
My next guest needs no introduction, so , uh, let’s try it.” The song’s rhythm kicks in and the place positively erupts, with fans spilling out of their seats and yelling, running to the edge of the stage with phones aloft. Glover, clad all in white, performs dances from the video and pumps up the crowd, which shouts every line from the song along with him.
Since its May 7 release, the songs has been certified platinum and soared to the top spot on the Billboard Hot 100, based almost entirely on its streaming performance. At press time, the song had clocked more than 263 million views on YouTube and more than 133 million streams on Spotify.