- 8.06.10 - 3:30PM
- - by
- Cole Stryker
Antoine Dodson - The Man, The Meme, The Legend
Update 10/13/2010: Antoine and Michael Gregory perform 'Bed Intruder' Live on BET!
Last week, video footage of a man called Antoine Dodson became hugely popular on YouTube. We know what you're thinking. Hey Urlbots, old news. Why didn't you cover this a week ago, when it was interesting?
Well, a few reasons. First, there's the race issue. We run a blog that is about kittens playing with iPads. We felt like it would be irresponsible to run the video, which many feel contains humor derived from a near-tragic incident resulting from the plight of poor blacks living in the projects. The original news coverage felt creepily exploitative. Like what, WAFF, you watched this footage in the editing room and decided that this dude's tirade added anything other than goofiness to your report? Listen to that ebonics! They really talk like that!
Also: Rape. Rape is never funny! Even attempted rape. Even though Antoine's rant was hilarious, how are we going to draw laffs from a girl's terrifying experience with a sexual predator?
At this point, Antoine's "Bed Intruder" rant is an official cultural phenomenon, with countless remixes, mashups, image macros and think pieces devoted to his tirade, some of which can be seen at the end of this follow-up report by WAFF. He's a minor celebrity, with his own website and even t-shirts.
We decided to put together a guide to the incident. What happened? Why did this video get so big? Why is it even funny? Where are all these remixes coming from? What's next for Antoine?
Read on to find out.
The original video has gotten millions of views over the last week. Here's a description of what originally went down, from Know Your Meme:
On July 28th, 2010, North Alabama's NBC affiliate WAFF-48 News reported that local police are searching for a man who broke into a home then got into bed with a woman. According to the news story, that Wednesday morning, Kelly Dodson woke up to an intruder in her bed. The woman's brother, Antoine Dodson, rushed to her room after hearing his sister scream. After a brief struggle, the intruder escaped through a window. Antoine said the suspect left behind his shirt and fingerprints.
Here's some follow-up footage video footage:
There has been some outcry against the media for airing Antoine's performance, claiming that it reflects poorly on the black community. The WAFF reporter acknowledges this and claims, "censoring people like Antoine is far worse." Censoring whom? Camera-unready black people?
The Washington Post's Jonathan Capehart says:
But other than a few memorable lines expressed in colorful ways, we must put aside our judgments and remember that we don't know Dodson, his family or their story. Like millions of families across this country, the Dodsons appear to be proud people who are making their way the best they can. They crave security and comfort. And no matter where you live, when that sense of safety is shattered, you lash out. Fo' real.Right. Sure.
Jezebel claims that the real tragedy here is that a story about an attempted rape became a story about "oh my God, this guy is so funny." Oh Jezebel, it always has to be about you, doesn't it. In seriousness, this is a totally valid point. WAFF had to have been aware that Antoine would take the attention off of Kelly. But since Kelly didn't provide any viral soundbites, they turned it into the Antoine Show.
Within two days (which has to be some kind of record) the Gregory Brothers, famous for their Auto-Tune the News series, turned the video into an amazingly catchy hip hop song and a heartfelt Prince-like piano ballad. It's gotten over four million views.
Antoine himself is contributing to Antoine-mania, with a personal website and a YouTube channel. Here is a video of Antoine signing autographs and taking photos with his local fanbase.
Do you think this is gross? Obviously Antoine is loving it, but is there a creepy, exploitative undercurrent here? I feel a little icky watching tramp-stamped sorority girls pose for photos with the guy at some shopping mall, like he's some kind of circus attraction plucked from the
Here's a tribute video that is indisputably awful:
Needs more blackface, bro!
Whereas this cover of the Gregory Brothers 'Bed Intruder Song' (seen above), is breathtaking. Memes on top of memes on top of memes.
And here's a slow jam version, inexplicably mashed up with the Gregory Brothers' Double Rainbow song:
And a another one of the better ones:
There are over 750 more, according to NPR. I think it's great that such a crappy situation has turned into something we can all laugh about, despite the unsettling overtones. I can sympathize with those who feel uncomfortable about Antoine's alleged fulfillment of certain stereotypes, but like Know Your Meme's Kenyatta Cheese, I feel much better knowing that Antoine has decided to own his fame. He recently proclaimed on his personal site:
Cool. Shine on, you crazy Dodson.You all made me who I am today and for that I will for ever be in your debt. Once again I say thank you from me and on behalf of my entire family. I love you guys so much. You have given me this opportunity to shine so dammit I'm going to shine.
UPDATE! Antoine bought a house for his family! Read about it on Urlesque and then check out the 11 Best 'Bed Intruder' Remix Covers.
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