Donald Glover, AKA Childish Gambino, Weathers Allegations Of “This Is America” Plagiarism
Donald Glover has been having a hugely successful year, from starring in Solo: A Star Wars Story to releasing the acclaimed track “This Is America” under his rap altar ego Childish Gambino. We all know that Solo is based on the earlier work of others, but is that is also true in the case of “This Is America”?
Following Glover’s BET Awards performance of “This Is America” with Jamie Foxx on Sunday night, allegations of plagiarism started blowing up that noted major similarities between the Gambino track and New Jersey rapper Jase Harley’s 2016 song “American Pharaoh.”
The accusation really started to take hold in a Reddit thread on the r/hiphopheads subreddit, and then the controversy got louder as it migrated over to Twitter when the music pundit known as Big Business referenced the supposed plagiarism:
Jamie Foxx talking about This Is America and we found out Donald Glover stole the song today qjajaldmaksmaksm
— Ahmed/Toronto Akademiks/Every White Blogger (@big_business_) June 25, 2018
The two tracks do have a similar structure, flow, and subject matter, but nothing has yet definitely settled the question of whether this is mere coincidence or actual theft.
Fam Rothstein, a member of Glover’s management team, came to his client’s defense on Monday, tweeting (in a since-deleted post), “This song is 3 yrs old, and we have pro tools files to prove it.”
Harley addressed the controversy himself on Instagram, noting that he also noticed the similarities but that he wants the focus to remain on the issues and injustices that he and Glover are both calling attention to.
I feel extremely humbled to be recognized and labeled as one of the original inspirations for one of the most important pieces of music and visual art of our time. I appreciate all the love and support! But PLEASE DON’T let this controversy dilute the message me and @childishgambino are trying to convey. We are speaking about injustices we’ve encountered and he’s helped to provide a platform for all our voices to be heard. Let’s not discredit him for that! The focus should be on affecting change in our communities and building equality. This is bigger than me and him and bigger than music. Let’s not lose focus 🙏🏾 #noonewinswhenthefamilyfeuds #futurists
Glover, meanwhile, has yet to release any official public response to the allegations.