The 220 million views Childish Gambino’s “This is America” has garnered has introduced many theories and interpretations of life in America, as an African-American. Undoubtedly, the experiences of many of the individuals part of the plethora of ethnicities and races living in the U.S. varies and needs to be told.
Black America’s story has been heard and seen in some ways but this video is a blunt and realistic reminder of our reality.
Imagery is an important tool; the scenes, props and dancing included in the video carried meaning behind it. More specifically, the dancing which included African moves is meant to portray child-like naivete and the ability of the black man and woman to dance and smile through pain – no matter how immense. It also highlights the most popular moves to date from the Gwara Gwara of South Africa to the Azonto of Ghana.
The dancing in the video was choreographed by native Rwandan Sherrie Silver. The 25-year-old dancer, creative director and actress hails from Rwanda.
Silver began sharing her dance moves with the world on August 27, 2011, by creating a YouTube channel. With no access to a camera, she taped herself dancing using her cellphone and uploaded it to her channel. She has amassed 48 million views and 270,000 subscribers.
Silver is also a philanthropist. She hosts events in Rwanda to boost economic growth within her community. She has paid the healthcare fees of 200 Rwandans. Silver uses her own money to rent out a home in her native land to house the homeless and displaced. She’s formed programs geared towards the advancement of disadvantaged women.
In her own words, “I am on a mission to educate the world about African cultures through the art of dance.” She’s doing precisely that through her dancing group called the Silver Unique Dancers.
Silver regularly travels the globe providing dance, acting and filming lessons.
Silver is using her newfound popularity for a cause greater than herself, “Being a part of the number one trending video means a lot. I don’t just do this for fun. I really do it because I want to give back. I travel and teach African dance from all over the continent. I take the money I generate from teaching back to Rwanda, Uganda, and Nigeria to redevelop schools and help get homeless kids off the street. For me, it’s not just about dancing. It’s the actual outcome that matters most.”