Sherrie Silver, the Rwandan behind Childish Gambino’s viral video

Choreographer Sherrie Silver. Net photo.

Once again Rwanda is experiencing a proud moment after one of her daughters emerged as the face behind one of the most viral videos of the moment by American artiste Childish Gambino.

Sherrie Silver is credited with choreographing the hit video “This is America” by Donald McKinley Glover Jr, also known as Childish Gambino, which has gone viral, garnering over 60 million views on Youtube in just four days, and a live performance on Saturday Night Live (SNL), one of the prime TV shows.

The song, which features a half-naked Childish Gambino sending symbolic messages on gun violence in the U.S, which has drawn both controversy and praise, at the same time provoking exquisite dance moves such as ‘Gwara Gwara’, a popular South African dance, thanks to Sherrie Silver.

Born in Huye District 24 years ago, Sherrie Silver, who is based in the UK, has not forgotten her roots. She travels to Rwanda often to carry out some charity activities targeting vulnerable children.

The model, actress and professional dancer choreographed the “This is America” video directed by Hiro Murai, which portrays the U.S as a great country but which faces issues of gun violence, drug abuse and racism.

She features in the song as one of the black children clad in school uniform dancing alongside the singer, rapper and actor as he raps through a huge warehouse, leaving destruction and death in his path.

The dance moves in the song, which are mainly African in nature, are thought to be responsible for the song going viral.

But Sherrie Silver is not new in the limelight. In 2010, she acted in a popular movie Africa United, which was about three Rwandan children who, against odds, travelled to South Africa for the 2010 World Cup opening ceremony, encountering challenges on their way but still made it.

She has also danced for superstars such as Wizkid, Diamond Platnumz, Fuse ODG, Sean Paul, Tiwa Savage, Run Town, P-Square and many others.

Born in Rwanda in 1994, Sherrie Silver later relocated to the UK in 1999 with her mother. She, however, returns occasionally, with her last visit coming in September 2016 for a charity project which saw her provide health insurance (Mutuelle de Sante), to over 200 families and distribute mosquito nets.

According to her website, she also runs a charity initiative known as “Wall Rebuilders”, which provides vocational training for women in different countries on the continent who were rescued from a dangerous life of prostitution.

She says over 48 women have joined the rehabilitation programme and are benefiting through free skills training, counselling and facilitation of entrepreneurship.

Speaking about the ‘This is America’ video, Sherrie Silver said the intention was to share the African dance with the world.

“We wanted to take Afro dance and Afro culture to the world and then take the world to Africa,” she said in reference to the video.

“Dance is everything to us. No matter how much is going on—even if it’s in  the middle of a war or poverty or hunger—one thing Africans share is we dance our sorrows away. Not even professionally, it’s just a part of our culture,” she explained.

The dancer and philanthropist, has in the past recorded videos dancing on the streets of Kigali. She said “I used to write songs for my country and one day I was given the opportunity to perform before  the President of Rwanda.”

“Then they recommended me for a film role, so I went into acting. I did a movie and a few other things, before going to university. At that point, I had to decide if I was going to continue acting or complete university. I decided to stay in school, but I thought, ‘What else could I do while I’m here?’ So I was like, ‘I can kind of dance, I guess.’ Instead of just doing what everyone else was doing, I wanted to embrace my culture, which I love so much,” she said in a recent interview.

editorial@newtimes.co.rw

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