Childish Gambino Music Awards

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Donald Glover performs at the 2018 BET Awards. (Photo by Paras Griffin/VMN18/Getty Images for BET) On Sunday night, following an appearance by Donald Glover (who performs musically as Childish Gambino) on the BET Awards, allegations surfaced that Glover had plagiarized his 2018 # 1 hit single “This Is America” from rapper Jase Harley’s song “American Pharaoh.” The controversy began on Reddit and spread through Twitter and Instagram. Glover’s creative partner and “This Is America” music video producer Fam Rothstein – who co-runs the creative agency Wolf + Rothstein with Donald Glover and Wolf Taylor – denied the plagiarism claim on Twitter, writing that the “song is 3 years old, and we have Pro Tools files to prove it.” Several hours later, the plot thickened when Rothstein’s tweet was deleted. Do they have the ProTools files that pre-date Harley’s 2016 “American Pharoah,” or not? Harley also responded on Monday, and chose to take the high road, at least for now. Although a blogger, the Twittersphere and now many commenters claim that “This Is America” bears resemblance to Harley’s song, Harley implied that he does not intend to pursue legal action against Glover. Rather, Harley posted on his Instagram that he is “extremely humbled” to have inspired “one of the most important pieces of music and visual art of our time.” Harley emphasized that focusing on the “controversy” distracts from the larger message about racial injustice that both artists “are trying to convey.” Proving a claim for musical plagiarism is complicated and very expensive.

Childish Gambino Music Video

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