IS THAT TRAYVON MARTIN’S DAD IN CHILDISH GAMBINO’S ‘THIS IS AMER­ICA’?

Calvin the II got mis­taken for Trayvon Martin’s dad.

Metro USA (Boston) - - FRONT PAGE - JEN­NIFER LOGUE jen­nifer.logue@metro.us

No, that’s not Trayvon Martin’s dad get­ting shot in Childish Gambino’s game-chang­ing “This is Amer­ica” video — it’s Los An­ge­les-based ac­tor and mu­si­cian Calvin “Calvin the II” Win­bush.

“My role in it was re­ally just a black gui­tar player,” he says. “To my knowl­edge, I do not in any­way be­lieve that they wanted some­one to look like Trayvon Martin’s dad. That would have ru­ined the whole video. Tracy Martin has gone through enough.”

Win­bush got the call from his agent that he was casted for the role while hang­ing out at Coachella.

“I drove back from Coachella to L.A. at 1 a.m.,” he says. “Got back at 3 a.m. and had to be at set by 6 a.m.”

Talk about ded­i­ca­tion. Win­bush re­veals that the whole team was su­per re­spect­ful by dis­clos­ing ex­actly how he’d be fea­tured in “This is Amer­ica.”

“One of the pro­duc­ers for the project gave me a call to fill me in on the vi­o­lent na­ture of what would hap­pen to my char­ac­ter, and I was re­ally happy about that, be­cause that doesn’t al­ways hap­pen,” he says.

The first scene shot was ac­tu­ally one of Win­bush’s last scenes in the video — where he plays the gui­tar with a bag over his head, as Childish Gambino whips out im­pres­sive dance moves on the roof of a car.

“The di­rec­tor [Hiro Mu­rai] was like, ‘You ever play gui­tar with a bag over your head? I’m like yes?

Short an­swer — yes, long an­swer — I’ll tell you later,’” Win­bush jokes. “It wasn’t true, but I was just mess­ing around, and he got a kick of out that. It was a jovial set.”

In re­sponse to all of the ar­ti­cles search­ing for the mean­ing of “This is Amer­ica,” Win­bush ar­gues that ev­ery­one is go­ing to have their own take on it.

“The mo­ment an artist starts to break down their work, in­stead of a per­son hav­ing lim­it­less ideas about what is hap­pen­ing, now there’s just a pe­riod,” he says. “But for me, it’s about how we’ve be­come de­sen­si­tized to vi­o­lence, es­pe­cially vi­o­lence in­flicted on peo­ple of color, and how we’re dis­tracted.”

Win­bush also em­pha­sizes that Childish Gambino is not point­ing a fin­ger, he’s sim­ply hold­ing up a mir­ror to our so­ci­ety.

“That wouldn’t be a pro­duc­tive way to start a con­ver­sa­tion,” he says. “Goes to show how in life, it’s hard for us to sit back and see the big pic­ture — we only see our part. We have blind spots.”

For more in­for­ma­tion on Calvin the II, visit: calvintheii.com.

“Calvin the II” Win­bush is an ac­tor and mu­si­cian based in Los An­ge­les. ALL PHO­TOS PRO­VIDED

Win­bush was mis­taken for Trayvon Martin’s dad in the new Childish Gambino video, “This is Amer­ica.”

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