‘This is America’ Choreographer Sherrie Silver on working with Childish Gambino BBC Stories

‘This is America’ Choreographer Sherrie Silver on working with Childish Gambino BBC Stories


He showed the video to Donald Glover then Donald was like:
“Yeah, let’s get her.” So crazy, honestly. I’m the dance choreographer of This is America. Woooo! Wait, I look like a lunatic, let me not say “Wooo” at the end. Growing up in Africa,
in church especially, we’re always dancing. We don’t just sit there
like “Hallelujah” We’re like (sings) So we literally have
a party in there, and then taking it from there to performing for
family members. When I was young my
mum wanted me to be a doctor or a lawyer. That’s just African culture. She said: “Sherrie, you’re always
arguing back… so you’d be a great lawyer.” Dance was never really
the option. I’ve been able to show her
and prove to her that through dance, and acting, you can actually make a future. So she’s very supportive of me. I am 23-years-old, I came to the UK when I was five. My first memory of being
in the UK was being pushed down the airport
on the little trolley, for the suitcase. I was like: “Wheeeee”. Also, just, the traffic lights. When I was at school I was bullied, because I was always
the darkest in the class, and, I dunno, I guess I used
to be really skinny as well. The word they used to use
was “blick” actually, that’s like beyond the black. When they turn off the light they can
only see your eyes and your teeth. Just basically telling me I need
to lighten my skin. So because of that I decided,
you know what, I’m never going to lighten my skin. I’m going to use this
to inspire people to love themselves
for who they are. I am so in love with myself now. But there was a time when honestly
I really, really wasn’t. I remember running to the gate
of my school one time, and just crying: “Why am I like this,
why am I like this?” But I’ve overcome that and
I love who I am. When I was first beginning dance
I always knew that my dream was to do “music”, yeah, you know, and acting. So dance was always just a side thing, you need to be able to dance
while you’re doing all these things. But then, I kind of said,
I enjoy this, this is something that I’m picking
a lot of interest in. I haven’t been able to stop since. The way my dancing went from
just being something for fun, into an actual job, is I’d put things on YouTube and I’ll try to market myself. I like editing and I like
doing videography, buy a camera and try
to make creative videos. And through those videos
people say “Hey… there’s something different
about this girl.” And they’d call me up. Call me up. Call me up. A lot of jobs, that is how I’ve
honestly got them. The way that This is America
came about was, Childish Gambino’s manager Fam, his niece had seen my videos
on YouTube. She was like: “Check
this girl out!” He checked me out and then he showed the video
to Donald Glover. Donald was like: “Yeah,
let’s get her.” So crazy, honestly. It was a heavy collaboration. I was trying to bring a lot
of happiness to the movie, it’s practically a movie. I didn’t want it to just be robotic, dancing. I wanted it to be very… That’s how I can describe it. I’m going to teach you the
move called the Neza. Are you ready? I made it up myself by the way. Put your hand on your waist, and then you’re going to go: One, two, three, four. So you get your shoulders moving. While you’re doing that, you’re
going to step with your feet: One, two, three, four. Touch and touch. Everyone always asks me:
“Was it stressful being on set?” It was actually one of the most
relaxing experiences I have ever had, despite all the running around. The mood on set does not reflect
the mood that you guys see in the video, with all the killing and
everything like that, it was like a family. Then on the first day it got, like,
20 million views. I was like, “Woooah”. OK, this is serious. Then in one week we hit 100 million. I was like, “wow”, this is really serious. I was really grateful
and really happy. I stand for taking Africa to the world, and taking the world to Africa, through dance. This is important for me because
I’m so proud to be African. I’m so proud of my own country, Rwanda. Also, all the other countries
I have travelled to like Nigeria, South Africa, Uganda. 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. We’re also about happiness, dance,
fashion and passion, and good food – lots of
flavour actually. still:
@fireshone I wanted to set up dance workshops
across the world so people can get to learn
to dance like me. I just enjoy seeing people not know how to do something
and then learn how to do it, and their reaction after that. At first, when it came to teaching dance,
I had no clue about: One, two, three, four, five, six, seven, eight. I graduated with a business marketing degree. I remember, even at the Uni, they
were like, “why are you doing this?” “Why are you not doing drama
or something?” I said, do you know what, that
Is just my talent, I can always do that outside Uni. But, I want to be able to have
that business brain. I was determined to finish because I know
that all these things that I’m learning, how to connect with international markets, how to build networks, they will come in very handy. I’ve been able to build a dance
network across the world, I know how to speak to people, I know how to write professional letters. Believe me it does help. It’s not just about having talent, it’s actually being able to make money from it, otherwise there’s no point. I started distributing mosquito
nets in different villages, and then distributing blankets, and then distributing food. Before I knew it I was able to get
homeless kids off the street. But this is just the beginning, there’s so much more to do. After God, my mother is the most important
person in my life, she is the key element. Literally, everything I do,
I do for her, because she struggled so much with me. I just feel like I have to pay her back
for everything she’s done, which is impossible. I want to buy her a house,
I want to do all these things, she deserves the best. I have so many things lined up which I’m
not allowed to speak about. I would definitely say there is
a dance class tour. On top of that I’ve got some
more things that I’m choreographing, and hopefully going to
get back into acting.

100 Comments

  1. She was on World of Dance but her group didn't make it through which sucks! But overall she is very talented, beautiful and love her spirit, plus her accent too lol! Beautiful chocolate woman she is! 💯😍😍😍

  2. I love how she's proud to be African without putting other races down. She seems so sweet and genuine. And her dances are beautiful.

  3. I'm in love. This young lady is sooooo beautiful and smart and talented. I love this. I was wondering who did the choreography and this is a pleasant surprise. Queen on my sister, queen on.

  4. Yes QUEEN!!! Her message is so on point! I love that this sistah is educated, beautiful and doing the Lord's work to reunite the diaspora!

  5. She’s really not that dark to me, it’s crazy how people said she was beyond black, lol she definitely not

  6. She's talking like Africa is a country 😂 it's just like saying 'growing up in Europe' …'European culture' when we all know you can't generalise like that

  7. Beautiful even Beyonce has to go to Africa to learn dance and has African dances. I love my African people and mother land Africa.

  8. I don't know why but it still amazes me how pervasive this attitude towards dark skin is in the Western World. I grew up with this and it brings back not the best memories.

  9. Kids are viscous little shits. I should know being picked on quite a bit for being a nerdy kid with a small niche group of friends and being in learning disability through a good chunk of my k-12 life. I wasn't made fun of for my skin but hearing about those kids making fun of her really makes me wish I was a kid in her class back then, with the knowledge I have now, just to punch them flat in their faces. Sherrie is a damn beautiful woman and it's a shame the parents didn't discipline their little demon spawns correct because I can sure as heck say I would make my kids life a living hell if I knew they pulled this kind of stunt.

  10. Good on you hun. 😙 I am questioning YouTube though cause that video should have gone wayou past the billion view count. It started of growing so rapidly. Now even though the comments are growing rapidly the view count seems stock. 😒

  11. "This is America" is one of those few music videos that are truly great. And the choreography plays a major part in it with the cheerful moves providing a contra-point to the serious nature of the story being told. It deserves every bit of the massive succes it has.

  12. You can't see shit in the dark… you can see certain colourings in minimal lighting I think that's what people mean. But still. It is not a nice thing to say and why should skin tones perceive how someone is as a human??????

  13. The dancing & singing in the churches of Africa is unforgettable!! I remember the impromptu vocals and harmonies completely filling the space. It was out of this world. Africa is an amazing place!

  14. she called the dace move she first move the "Nizza" that is the name that Donald eventually named one of his shoes from his adidas collab

  15. It's fascinating how many people enjoy the natural raw wild organic sensations mother Earth has to offer, but yet the majority of the population is not doing anything to demand from leaders that we improve upon and maintain the quality of standards pertaining to our air, water, foods, landscapes, working and living environment every day home products to be made manufactured mass-produced in a way that doesn't disrupt or diminish the quality of life, by leaving excess poisonous ,toxic, wastes behind you can't be pro-life if your doing business with outdated power sources, inferior materials, poisonous, toxic substances that have been scientifically classified, religiously verified as petrified death! Better known as coal, oil and gas the chemical industry. Which now that Donald Trump has been bought off and paid out by lifting sanctions and deregulating! Putting Caps ON restricting what the EPA FDA drug and food ministration, health and human services environmentalists can present to the public. Our air ,water ,landscapes ,working and living environments are going to be facing oil spills, gas leaks, toxins being burnt off in to our airways) much more frequent with less consequence which is going to result in, cause environmental financial global collapse. Combined with all the health risks that have already been established from business being conducted in this, low-quality outdated manner, by top scientists leading physician specialist the EPA,FDA, drug and food ministration Surgeon General's warnings. They say not to use a generator inside your house or car garage for carbon monoxide poisoning is a leading cause of death! So very soon you will have pipelines from coast-to-coast burning off this petrified death! It is basically bringing the generator inside our house. The oldest trick the Republicans have been using preventing these programs from doing their job is by defunding them. It's what happened the whole time during Obama's presidency it is irritating negligent that Democrats are not bringing these points out sharing these facts would Americans. Talk about play hardball! Talk about pro-life ,women's rights and gay-rights. How about the right to clean air, water, high nutritional value foods. Democrats are only bringing up social classification rights. There not hitting the fundamental rights which is air water, foods, landscapes ,working, living environment and every day home products being made with advanced materials resources substances, that are stronger, lighter more versatile easier to work with+ plus the + these products can freely be used manufactured mass-produced as much is the people need or want without leaving any excess poisonous waste behind. Democrats are pushing how important it is that women have the right for a abortion. Will do the fathers have the right to make sure the kids have clean air, water and high nutritional value foods available 24 seven. As ignorant as the Democrats are behaving right now, the Republicans are celebrating being vindictive. By doing everything they can to keep the majority of the population of Americans) overwork, underpaid, out of shape, sick weak ,desperate ,overfed' undernourished' with them dirty low-paying jobs, that come from outdated! Power sources) inferior materials, poisonous, toxic substances, pesticides ,chemicals that never change their killing composition. Which means whether it is a solid liquid or burnt off into our airways atmosphere as a vapor is always going to be poisonous debilitating deadly to the body at the same time polluting corrupting devastating to mother Earth and all the various different forms of life that live within this world. In layman's terms you cannot promote life by doing business with material resources substances that have been scientifically classified religiously verified as specified death or worse. Which all stem from coal oil gas the chemical industry. There is no profit to be made in the demise of the planet. Thanks to dirty low-paying jobs we are facing financial global collapse. S.R.F. OXO

  16. The only problem is if she teaches and some WHITE kid starts doing moves she taught them are OTHERS going to start slamming them saying you can't use that?

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