A 23-year-old woman choreographed Childish Gambino’s “This Is America” dance, and now she’s teaching the moves
When Childish Gambino’s music video for “This Is America” dropped on May 5th, 2018, it instantly went viral. Having garnered more than 314 million views in just under two months, Gambino’s politically charged visual message is still being dissected and hailed as one of the most important music videos of this generation. And behind Gambino’s much-talked about dance in “This Is America” is a 23-year-old woman, Sherrie Silver. She recently spoke to the BBC about how she landed this life-changing gig, and even showed how to do one of Gambino’s dance moves. Prepare to be obsessed with her.
"The way 'This Is America' came about was Childish Gambino's manager found — his niece — she had seen my videos on YouTube," Silver said. "[The manager] checked me out, and then he showed the video to Donald Glover. And then Donald was like, 'Yeah, let's get her.'"
Silver said that everyone involved in the video “had a vision” as to what the choreography should look like. She didn’t want Glover (who goes by “Childish Gambino” in the music industry) to be “robotic,” but rather for him to show a lot of movement and happiness.
Inspired by her upbringing in Rwanda and the dances she would do at church, Silver brought her African roots to the “This Is America” set. In the below video, Silver talks about her business degree, her childhood in the United Kingdom (where she moved when she was 5), and her pride in her identity. Plus, she teaches viewers how to do a move she created called “the neza.”
You can learn the entire “This Is America” routine over on Silver’s YouTube channel.
"I stand for taking Africa to the world, and taking the world to Africa through dance," Silver said. "This is important to me because I'm so proud to be African...and I think the whole world needs to know what we're about — that we're not just about poverty, disease, and sadness that you see in the media. But we're also about happiness, dance, fashion, passion."
With her success, Silver has been giving back to her community. She told BBC Stories that she’s donated mosquito nets, blankets, and food to communities in need, and has helped numerous children get off the street.
Alongside Childish Gambino, Silver played a crucial part in creating “This Is America.” Her dance moves and the video’s overall message will not be forgotten.