How Courtney Barnes Is Taking Black Memedom and Turning It On Its Head.

Courtney Barnes

Courtney Barnes, the latest viral news witness star is no stranger to the spotlight. Since 2014, he’s left quite an impression on both judges and viewers during his multiple appearances on “So You Think you Can Dance.”

As a result, he was quickly identified when he entered his next foray into viral fame, as the expert witness on a local news station. Barnes’ flamboyant style and his animated and theatrical recounting of a non-fatal car accident instantly made him a star. Once the Mississippi news station that aired Barnes’ interview posted the clip on Facebook it spread like wildfire, with over 1 million shares in less than 5 hours.

Barnes has drawn comparisons to Antoine Dodson, of “Bed Intruder” fame. Dodson became a meme back in 2010 and “Hide yo’ kids; hide yo’ wife” was essentially the phrase of the year. But while all of us were laughing, most of us were likely laughing for the wrong reasons. Dodson was recounting a traumatic event in the heat of the moment; his sister had almost been sexually assaulted. While Dodson’s viral fame eventually brought him fame and some riches, there was definitely a lot of unpack there, especially considering how black gay men are often portrayed in popular culture.

Courtney Barnes’ rise to fame, however, seems less painful and not as uncomfortable. He appears to be in on the joke. In the short clip you can almost see him carefully choosing the words and phrases which will sound the best with a bit of Auto-Tune. Barnes has also been reveling in his newfound fame, even sharing memes and blog coverage about him on his Instagram page. He’s even scored a few celebrity shoutouts, most notably from Nicki Minaj.

Even if we are asking “what ever happened to” Courtney Barnes in a few months, I have a feeling he’ll be alright. At the very least, he won’t end up a situation similar to Antoine Dodson’s.