Have you seen the “Dead Giveaway” video, yet? Of course you have, because, who hasn’t? Three guys and one gal from Brooklyn, known as the Gregory Brothers, “songified” a series of interviews from new American hero Charles Ramsey. Although, at this point, Ramsey is probably more of a human-meme/viral video than he is a hero. It’s the Internet’s fault and the Brothers are capitalizing.
The Internet meme-celeb is officially a certified member of pop culture. Ramsey – who broke down a door and saved three Cleveland women held captive for years – and his current place in the zeitgeist reinforces this, yet again. But it ain’t all good.
Ramsey follows several other black personalities who have made it to Internet celebdom, a trend Baratunde Thurston from The Onion couldn’t quite get in line with when describing Antoine Dodson of “Hide yo’ kids, hide yo’ wife” fame.
“Watching the wider Web jump on this meme, all but forgetting why Dodson was upset, seemed like a form of ‘class tourism.’ Folks with no exposure to the projects could dip their toes into YouTube and get a taste.”
Thurston was speaking with the New York Times about the Gregory Brothers, serial offenders in the exploitation of anyone speaking on some kind of public forum. The group is responsible for producing several viral YouTube videos, auto-tuning unsuspecting civilians to “songify” them for the Interwebs. Dodson and Ramsey are among their collection.
In the column, from 2011, the group goes on to mock everyone suggesting they are sellouts. “If only the people who accused us of being sellouts knew that we did it for zero dollars,” Evan said. Andrew quickly added: “I’ll briefly correct Evan — we got paid hundreds of dollars each.”
It’s not clear if they decided to include the nationwide tour they went on later in the year in their estimation, or whether any of the merchandise sold on their website counted, either. They will certainly make more money than they imagined when they started their group now that Billboard has decided to include YouTube hits in calculating their Top 100 .
To be fair, the Gregory Brothers did try to reach out to Dodson for their remix of his words, using a “bat signal” (basically, an ad that said “Antoine, please get in touch” at the start of the video) to try and get a hold of him, which they eventually did. Though Ramsey might end up with a payday of his own from McDonalds, there isn’t a bat signal on their latest video, which is posted on their website under the headline, “Charles Ramsey Is Our Hero.”
I bet he is.