Antoine Dodson: Internet Sensation

16 Aug

One story has been dividing the opinions of many Americans and members of the blogosphere recently, and it all revolves around an outburst from this man:

There probably aren’t a lot of people out there who don’t know the story but…. This is Antoine Dodson, a 24 year old man who lives in the projects of Huntsville, Alabama. His story began with a common violent incident in the Lincoln Park projects where Dodson lives with his family. A man broke in through his little sister’s window in the night and assaulted her.

This is where it starts to get interesting. The next day, the local news team (WAFF TV, who sound like something made up from a Mel Brooks movie, adding an odd hilarity and unrealism to the situation) decided they wanted to cover the story for one of their news reports. The reporter, Elizabeth Gentle, interviewed Dodson’s sister Kelly (the one who was assaulted) and was told by her that the attacker was “just some idiot from the projects”.

It was at this point that Antoine jumped in, verbally attacking the man who had assaulted his sister with a strange urban flair. The impassioned speech to the man had a certain lyrical quality to it. He ended his speech by sending a warning to the attacker: “You don’t have to come and confess that you did it, we looking for you,” Dodson said, waving a piece of paper at the lens. “We gon find you, I’m letting you know that. So you can run and tell that. Homeboy.”

Needless to say, there was a huge section of the blogosphere who weren’t at all impressed by Dodson. “If you want to know why we can’t take the news seriously anymore, here’s exhibit A.” Said one blogger. Another said “Lord Jesus, how can the reporter file this story with a straight face?” But to be honest this was unfair. I agree with the opinion of WAFF TV who said that to censor Dodson would have presented him in an even worse light. The fact that this could have seen as racial stereotyping was slightly unfair: Dodson was angry, wanted to get justice for his sister and used the media to help him do it.

Step in the Gregory Brothers. The New York band who run a YouTube channel called “AutoTune The News” (whereby they put music to the actual words of news events to create a witty spin on current events) decided they wanted to put the works on Dodson’s speech. The song “Bed Intruder” was born, creating a massive viral hit across the internet. Amazingly, the song went to number 3 in the rap/R’n’B/soul charts and broke into the iTunes Top 25 Songs list, and the video has been viewed 30m times. Merchandise with some of Dodson’s “catchphrases” have been created, there is a Twitter account for him, numerous Facebook pages in his honour and even a place where you can donate to the Dodson family via PayPal.

Of course, Antoine Dodson’s fame will be short lived and soon he will fade into obscurity. However, I featured this because it was a truly fascinating look into how easily it could be to become a sensation through the power of the internet and other influences.

Enjoy it while it lasts Antoine.

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One Response to “Antoine Dodson: Internet Sensation”

  1. Pie August 16, 2010 at 9:41 pm #

    You know, I was thinking about how easy it is to gain internet fame as I read about that story last weekend. How is it that some people have fame thrust upon them by being themselves in a news event and others make the news in a moderate fashion, but quickly fade away? Is it the quirkiness of the person who catches the imagination? Do they have to do something spectacular like Steven Slater did last week? It never ceases to fascinate and amaze me.

    I thought Antoine was fabulous. He was totally himself and strangely camp. Sometimes a good bit of street talk cuts through the bull and tells it like it is in a way that a modulated and controlled way of speaking never could.

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