Ep. 5 – “Telegraph Ave. (‘Oakland’ by Lloyd)” by Childish Gambino

MetA” (from the Greek μετά-, meta-, meaning “after” or “beyond”): a prefix meaning more comprehensive or transcending.

“Telegraph Ave.” features a meta “song-within-a-song” structure and scores The Boy driving to Oakland. As “Oakland” by LLoyd transcends the car radio into the screenplay, we watch The Boy, now in the driver’s seat, symbolically taking agency over his life.

Continue reading “Ep. 5 – “Telegraph Ave. (‘Oakland’ by Lloyd)” by Childish Gambino”

Ep. 4 – Dial-Up / I. The Worst Guys / II. Shadows

As Act Two begins, The Boy examines the sleep-walking existence he’s been living. This process is slow, and fittingly, Act Two begins with the instrumental track “Dial Up.”

Continue reading “Ep. 4 – Dial-Up / I. The Worst Guys / II. Shadows”

Ep. 2 – The Library/Crawl

With his 2013 album Because the Internet, Donald Glover sought to construct a transmedia world by weaving together physical, sonic, visual, and online material Under his pseudonym Childish Gambino. For the most comprehensive compilation of the world’s components, visit S7 co-writer Camden Ostrander’s piktochart.

Continue reading “Ep. 2 – The Library/Crawl”

Season 7: Because The Internet

Dissect Season 7 on Because The Internet by Childish Gambino begins NOW, only on Spotify.

Go deeper into the BTI world with our visual guides and the Because The Internet screenplay. For the most immersive experience, view both the visual guides and the screenplay excerpts before or after an episode.

Season 7 will be exclusive to Spotify until January 2021. Podcasts are FREE on Spotify – don’t need a premium account to listen.

S7E1 – The Transmedia World of Because The Internet

“I wanted to make something that says, no matter how bad you fuck up, or mistakes you’ve made during the year, your life, your eternity. You’re always allowed to be better. You’re always allowed to grow up. If you want.”

Donald Glover’s open letter, posted to Instagram, describing his 2013 album, Because the Internet, released under his pseudonym “Childish Gambino”

Donald McKinley Glover Jr.

Born on September 25, 1983 at Edwards Air Force Base in California, Donald grew up with his siblings Bree and Stephen, as well as a steady flow of foster children. His mother Beverly ran a daycare from their home in Stone Mountain, Georgia, and his father, Donald Sr, was in the Air Force and later was a postal worker.

Pictured left to right: Bree, Donald Sr., Beverly, Stephen, and Donald.

Continue reading “S7E1 – The Transmedia World of Because The Internet”

Ep. 3 – Worldstar

It’s an Internet cesspool that’s cashed in big on senseless fight videos. The site’s popularity has created a sort of voyeuristic feedback loop, in which disassociated bystanders immediately videotape violent incidents and act as if they’re already watching a video on the Internet”

Gothamist

“Blow up /
Worldstar before rap you already know that”

The album’s animated cover exemplifies Gambino’s first words on this track, “Blow up,” suggesting violence and explosion, but also the process by which a person or piece of content can go viral. This duality of violence and virality will reverberate throughout the track.

Continue reading “Ep. 3 – Worldstar”

“Blow up /
Worldstar before rap you already know that”

The album’s animated cover exemplifies Gambino’s first words on this track, “Blow up,” suggesting violence and explosion, but also the process by which a person or piece of content can go viral. This duality of violence and virality will reverberate throughout the track.

Continue reading “Ep. 3 – Worldstar”

Formation Visual Guide

Beyoncé crouches on the hood of a police car halfway submerged in flood water that extends to the horizon, an image intended to recreate the devastation in New Orleans following Hurricane Katrina. This is the opening shot of the “Formation” music video. While much of the settings in and around New Orleans have focused on “the curse” and its history, this image places “the curse” in more present day context.

A closeup of Beyoncé leaning on her side atop the police car, delivering the opening refrain.

Left, the paparazzi overwhelm the frame in number and with flash photography, followed by footage of a bounce dancer performing in a mirror and Beyoncé commandingly posed on the car over the lines “…catch my fly and my cocky fresh” (right). This shows Beyoncé in control of her narrative in the face of the public gaze.

Left, Beyoncé rocking back and forth in unison with a troupe of female dancers in an ornate plantation house hallway; right, a French Renaissance style painting of regal Black women which, according to director Melina Matsoukas, was added to “Blackify” the mansion.

Beyoncé’s daughter Blue Ivy (center), with her hair in an Afro, poses with a smirk and a hand on her hip alongside two other young Black girls in white dresses. Portraying Blue Ivy proudly rocking her Afro affirms her daughter just as she is in the face of public scrutiny of her natural hair, deemed by some “unruly” for a child from a family of such wealth and status.

Continue reading “Formation Visual Guide”

Ch. 11 – Redemption (All Night)

“HOPE” RECAP

The grounds of Destrehan Plantation, turned into a place of communal healing and a celebration of strength through art and expression, the song “Freedom” an emblazoned anthem of resistance, strength, and collective empowerment.


CH. 11 – REDEMPTION

The titlecard, where three young Black girls run through a front door onto a massive lawn toward a white picket fence gate surrounding Madewood Plantation, which earlier represented the idyllic promises of heaven and the American dream.

Two Black women open a curtain to reveal various Black women freely strolling through the grounds at Destrehan Plantation.

Shots of women walking freely on the grounds, sharing a meal and laughing in contrast with those from Chapter 1 at the same setting, where many of the same women were eerily subdued and silent.

Left, a shot of Beyoncé’s feet, a suggestion of modesty and their pose, alike that of a ballerina in point shoes and a suggestion of gentleness; right, a tree adorned with Spanish moss is shown over her shoulder.

Beyoncé sits with hands folded, contemplative; considering the symbolic value of the trees and moss she gazes with the spoken word poetry, “Grandmother, the alchemist,” the suggestion is Beyoncé is contemplating the legacy and spirit of not only her ancestors, but the entirety of ancestral spirit of Black women in America.

Beyoncé with a young girl whose tightly coiled curly hair matches her own; they run their fingers through each other’s, teasing, and smiling, Beyoncé in a maternal role instilling the young girl with a sense of confidence and pride.

Left, overlaid with the poetry “Broke the curse with your own two hands,” a close-up of grandmotherly hands that are revealed to be those of Leah Chase, “The Queen of Creole Cuisine” featured earlier in Lemonade; right, a young girl plays with a doll and the camera pans to reveal Beyoncé behind Ms. Chase, brushing her hair in an act of reverence. Three generations of women smile as they engage in conversation with one another.

Beyoncé stares out from a porch, and the camera cuts to the children running toward the Madewood gate. Perhaps, having become a mother herself, she realizes it is her turn now to pass along the wisdom from her grandmother to the next generation.


Grandmother, the alchemist

JAY-Z’s mother Hattie during a speech at her 90th birthday party, which reveals the meaning of the film’s title: “I had my ups and downs, but I always found the inner strength to pull myself up. I was served lemons, but I made lemonade.”

Left, the lights on the floor reveal the real life context for Hattie’s speech; right, Blue Ivy plays with a boy as they listen to Grandma Hattie deliver her speech.

Continue reading “Ch. 11 – Redemption (All Night)”

Ch. 10 – Hope (Freedom)

“RESURRECTION” RECAP

Beyoncé (center) with Wanda Johnson, Gwen Carr, Sybrina Fulton, and Lesley McSpadden, mothers of Oscar Grant, Eric Garner, Trayvon Martin, and Michael Brown (respectively). Their shared grief over their sons’ tragic deaths connects them as the so-called “Mothers of the Movement” against police brutality and injustice. Their activism, in the words of Gwen Carr, “…transformed their mourning into movement, and pain into purpose.”

The penultimate image of the chapter, a Mardi Gras Indian circles an empty dining room table, shaking a tambourine as part of a healing ritual.

The chapter’s final image, a black and white shot of Beyoncé with a group of Black women inside a Jim Crow era school bus, the same women and setting from “Apathy.” With poet Warsan Shire’s utterance of the word “magic” over the image, we consider the obvious nod to the idea of “Black girl magic.”


CH. 10 – HOPE

“The women of the past in Beyoncé’s Lemonade attempt to rewrite the tragic stories they’ve inherited through art. They dance. They sing. They cook…This is how we try to birth beauty through pain.”

Author Jesmyn Ward

Previously depicted as despondent, paralyzed, and silenced, here in “Hope,” the women occupy the tiny cabin with beauty, color, and feminine grace, giving the impression of solidarity and self-sustaining community as the women nourish themselves and care for one another.

With the opening note of the chapter’s song “Freedom,” the camera pushes forward into the room as if we, the viewers, are walking into the room ourselves. As we center on a Black baby sucking her thumb, the baby looks directly at “us.” She is the future, occupying a space of the past, in this present moment.

Continue reading “Ch. 10 – Hope (Freedom)”