Childish Gambino once again has the Internet talking with his latest music video, “Feels Like Summer.” Released over Labour Day weekend, the unofficial end of summer (all the ughs), the dreamy new single is musically a far cry from Gambino’s last controversial release “This Is America,” but its music video is also drawing divided attention.
At first listen, “Feels Like Summer” appears to be a breezy, chilled out track, but its lyrics about climate change pack a deeper punch than its warm vibes let on. The music video also initially looks like a carefree accompaniment, creating an animated world where Gambino and just about every other rapper in the game enjoy the final days of summer. Drake runs after Future, who is riding a bike, while Azealia Banks hangs out in a tree. The Weeknd, Solange and A$AP Rocky play tug of war, while Chance the Rapper waits for Birdman to cook burgers on the grill. Rihanna floats in mid-air and a young Michael Jackson smiles at the camera. Nicki Minaj and Travis Scott play with blocks, with Scott knocking over Minaj’s work, possibly a nod to the pair’s recent chart feud. Non-musicians also appear, including Oprah Winfrey, Tiffany Haddish, and Zendaya.
But the King of the Hill crossed with BET visual still packs a deeper emotional and political message, with Gambino not missing the opportunity for a broader statement with his platform.
Beyoncé appears in a hoody with the words ‘R.I.P. Fredo Santana,’ commemorating the young rapper who died in January. Kid Cudi, who has been vocal about his battle with depression, stands in the dark as the friendly neighbourhood disappears around him.
Then there’s the most polarizing image from the video, which depicts a crying Kanye West wearing a Make America Great Again hat. West, who has apologized for his comments on slavery but not for his support of Donald Trump (come on, Yeezy), is consoled by Michelle Obama.
The inclusion of the former first lady has people divided, with some saying Obama represents a mother figure to West, who lost his own mother Donda in 2007. Others are calling Gambino out for perpetrating the idea that it’s the job of black women to help heal black men.
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
I think everyone could benefit a little guidance from a wise and strong black woman. She’s not saving this man and putting back together his life. She’s giving him a hug. Helping him find his place so he can save himself. How controversial.
— Michele Smith (@Rhimalore) September 2, 2018
— Clay Moore (@Claymorecomic) September 2, 2018
Anyone who’s upset by the image of Michelle Obama giving Kanye West a MUCH NEEDED hug in Childish Gambino’s “Summer” video should’ve been hugged more as a child.
— Christian Jeremiah (@christianjwalls) September 2, 2018
As with any piece of art, “Feels Like Summer” is open to interpretation, but one thing we’re pretty sure of is that like “This Is America,” Gambino will let the visuals speak for themselves.