Childish Gambino on Sunday took home the Grammy for Song of the Year – honouring best songwriting – for his politically charged “This Is America,” whose graphic music video carried a strong message on gun violence and racism.
The trap gospel song packed with social commentary nabbed one of the top awards of the night over heavyweights Drake, Kendrick Lamar and Lady Gaga.
The song’s striking video from Childish Gambino – the alter ego of actor and recording artist Donald Glover, who has snagged three Grammys so far – racked up more than 35 million YouTube views in just two days last spring.
Earlier Sunday, he won Grammys for Best Music Video and Best Rap/Sung Performance.
But Glover was not in attendance at the Staples Center, and organisers said he had declined an invitation to perform at the event.
Upon the video’s release, social media lit up with comments over its intense allusions to the oppression of black people and America’s all-too-common mass shootings.
“This Is America” juxtaposes an up-tempo rhythm, layered with church hymns and Afrobeats with a heavier, more foreboding bassline in what is perhaps a metaphor for mainstream America’s perception of black culture and the much darker undertones of its often more brutal reality.
The artist’s win is his first in a major Grammy category and fourth overall after his hit “Redbone” won the prize for Best Traditional R&B Performance last year. Childish Gambino has notched 12 career Grammy nominations.
As an actor and producer, the California-born performer has garnered critical acclaim for his surrealist comedy-drama television series “Atlanta,” in which he stars.