Childish Gambino released “Feels Like Summer” as a promotional single back in July, but it wasn’t widely discussed until September 2, when Childish premiered a new music video for the song. Directed by Childish himself Donald Glover, along with Ivan Dixon and Greg Sharp, the animated clip shows the hip-hop artist walking down a street while observing those around him, who you might not notice at first are a who’s-who of black public figures. Watch the video above.
The video features everyone from Will Smith and Oprah Winfrey to Beyonce and Janelle Monae. There are even political figures. Florida gubernatorial candidate Andrew Gillum appears with a bowl of melted ice cream that has been interpreted as a reference to slain rapper XXXTentacion. And Michelle Obama shows up to comfort Kanye West, who is crying and wearing a “Make America Great Again” cap.
“Feels Like Summer” is similar to Childish’s “This is America” not just in how its video has become fodder for discussion, but for how the songs suggest darker ideas underneath their catchy and uplifting sounds. “Summer” juxtaposes seemingly innocuous lyrics like “You can feel it in the streets / On a day like this, the heat / It feel like summer” with heavier observations like “I really thought this world could change / But it seems like the same.”
What do you think of “Feels Like Summer” and its use of celebrity images against its lyrics about social and environmental decay (“Air that kill the bees that we depend upon / Birds were made for singing, wakin’ up to no sound”)? Clearly many have been poring over it for meanings and interpretations. It had already accumulated more than 12 million views after just two days. Could it have a week as strong as “This is America” did when it debuted at number-one on the Billboard Hot 100 singles chart?
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