Analyzing the Rhetoric of a Music Video: Decoding the Use of Ethos, Pathos, and Logos in Building a Dynamic Argument

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Choose a music video that seems to make an argument and give a rhetorical analysis of the music. (dynamic argument), also focus on the use of ethos, pathos, and logos by the artist, breaking the video down into half, thirds, and fourths by making reference of time changes (color, mood) that build up the video storyline.
N/B 1. Formal introduction  -target the audience by addressing to whom the song is addressed. why, what argument is being made, and how effective is the presentation. it should cover the artist’s bio
2.  Examine the argument relating to the lyrics, and think of a claim with supportive evidence.
3. examine the voice, and emotion of the artist
4. examine how the argument is portrayed or represented through text, color, image, and composition.
5. conclusion – your audience should reflect the zone of reasonable skepticism.


Introduction: In this essay, I will be analyzing the rhetoric of the music video “This is America” by Childish Gambino, which presents a dynamic argument using ethos, pathos, and logos. The song is addressed to the general public and aims to shed light on the harsh realities of life in America, particularly for black people. The video shows how gun violence, police brutality, and systemic racism are rampant in America and how they affect black people differently from other groups. The presentation is highly effective in bringing attention to the issues and promoting discourse about them. Childish Gambino, also known as Donald Glover, is a rapper, actor, comedian, and writer who is known for his artistic excellence and social commentary.

Examination of the Argument: The lyrics of “This is America” present a strong argument about the current state of America and how black people are treated in the country. The claim being made is that America is a violent and racist place that needs to change, and the supportive evidence is presented through the lyrics, the music, and the visuals in the video. For example, the lyrics “This is America, don’t catch you slippin’ up” are repeated throughout the song to emphasize the idea that America is a dangerous place where people need to be constantly alert. The line “This a celly / That’s a tool” juxtaposes the casual use of cellphones with the deadly use of guns, highlighting the issue of gun violence in America.

Examination of the Voice and Emotion: Childish Gambino’s voice and emotion in “This is America” convey a sense of urgency and frustration. His tone is serious, and his voice is filled with emotion, which effectively conveys the gravity of the message being conveyed. The lyrics “Grandma told me / Get your money, black man” are delivered with a sense of sadness and weariness, which highlights the struggle of black people in America to overcome systemic barriers.

Examination of the Portrayal of the Argument: The argument presented in “This is America” is portrayed through a combination of text, color, image, and composition. The use of a repetitive beat in the song, combined with sudden shifts in tone and tempo, creates a sense of unease and tension that matches the subject matter. The use of dance in the video is also important, as it represents both joy and pain. The juxtaposition of happy dancing with scenes of violence and chaos creates a powerful contrast that conveys the complexity of the issues being addressed.

Conclusion: In conclusion, “This is America” is a powerful music video that presents a dynamic argument about the state of America and the struggles faced by black people in the country. Childish Gambino uses ethos, pathos, and logos to effectively convey his message and present evidence to support his claims. The use of text, color, image, and composition adds to the impact of the argument and highlights the importance of addressing these issues. As an audience, we should reflect on the issues presented and remain skeptical about the current state of America, while also being motivated to work towards a more just and equitable society.

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