By the Numbers: Donald Glover’s Explosive ‘This Is America’

Donald Glover, aka Childish Gambino, has been making major waves this week with his controversial music video for “This Is America.” Released on YouTube while Glover performed the song live during last weekend’s Saturday Night Live, the video has been driving passionate conversation with its extreme scenes of gun violence and its implicit commentary on the state of American society today, particularly in regard to race.

We worked with social video analytics company Tubular Labs and emotion measurement company Canvs to see exactly how people are reacting to this groundbreaking video.

According to Tubular, in its first three days of release on YouTube, the video generated a whopping 44.6 million views (as of this writing, it has over 64 million). And, it had a Tubular ER3 rating of 2.7x, meaning three days after upload, the video had an engagement rate that was 2.7 times higher compared to the YouTube average.

Data from Canvs reveals that there have been 54,566 Emotional Reactions (ERs) on YouTube since the video was posted May 5. “Video,” “song,” “America,” “message” and “dancing” have been some of the most-mentioned terms; the fact that “video” is outpacing “song” in the discussion goes to show just how powerful the visuals are, while “message” underscores that people are obsessed with what, exactly, Glover is saying about America.

Topics that are driving conversation around "This Is America" 

Topics that are driving conversation around "This Is America" 

One specific Emotional Reaction that stood out was “brilliance,” which accounted for 4.7% of reactions from fans, primarily driven by Donald Glover who viewers think is a genius — and that “This Is America” is a work of art.