Michelle Obama's Cameo In Childish Gambino's Video Is Causing A Commotion

Photo: Marla Aufmuth/Getty Images.
True to form, Childish Gambino is causing all kinds of conversation with his latest drop: an animated music video for his slinky summer single “Feels Like Summer.”
But not all the responses have been glowing.
First off, a primer. The video was released on Saturday, kicking off Labor Day weekend. It opens on an cartoon Donald Glover strolling down a neighborhood street, the entire image shaded in magic hour colors. As he walks, earbuds in, he passes by a who’s who of major pop culture figures, most of whom are Black. They’re animated with careful detail as they just...exist, thriving in the late summer, snapping photos and braiding hair and hosting barbecues. It’s an event.
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There are dozens of cameos in the video, all more or less immediately recognizable. Among them are Beyoncé, Rihanna, Drake, Oprah, Michael Jackson, Whitney Houston, and a weeping Kanye West, wearing a MAGA cap, who is embraced by Michelle Obama.
That last image, in particular, is stirring up some controversy among fans. It’s noteworthy that the person consoling West is Obama: the first Black First Lady, a woman who represents both a political ideology and a specific demographic that is largely rejected by West’s fellow MAGA hat wearers.
Many have interpreted the image as Glover suggesting West needs the support of a black woman to save or comfort or redeem him — rather than owning up to his divisive rhetoric and political outbursts, or taking responsibility for his own rehabilitation.
Meanwhile, others have embraced the imagery, going so far as to say they’ve been touched by Glover’s portrayal of Obama’s theoretical benevolence towards an internally divided West.
Black women are so often stereotyped as everything from motherly to angry to opportunistic that any images at risk of two-dimensionality certainly merit further scrutiny — even if everyone has their own interpretation. Glover himself hasn’t chimed in about the meaning behind the “Feels Like Summer” video, but, judging by his recent track record, it’s not likely that he’ll just leave it to the internet to stew over his intentions.
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