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.
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.
Once upon of time, I would have found this to be a compliment. Yes, our love and loyalty are amazing. However, Black women do not exist to repair broken men. We are often expected to repair broken men. Even the ones that didn't choose us and don't deserve us. https://t.co/P2vUqwYxjW— Shanita Hubbard (@msshanitarenee) September 2, 2018
childish gambino depicting michelle obama as like a savior for kanye is such bs lmao i’m tired of black women needing to “save” black men so they can come to their senses about who they are and the realities of the world we live in— ugh (@wasteofdevotion) September 2, 2018
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.
Nobody pointing to a black woman as a savior Yall always tryna make an argument/drama.Since Kanye lost his mom hes been all over the place. This is more of a representation of the strong black woman mother figure. Black community can agree Michelle Obama is a great model of that.— Brama (@BDeezy0) September 2, 2018
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.