Creator of ‘What Are Those?’ Meme Peeved at “Black Panther” for Using Phrase
A popular Vine meme from 2015 found its way obliquely into the Marvel hit, but it's creator wasn't happy about it when he saw the film
Back in 2015, the internet was filled with non-stop “What Are Those?!” memes and it became the funniest and most feared phrase among the youth (and some adults). The comedy, of course, has significantly subsided and would even be called old and outdated today. Still, some instances are granted automatic passes, like in Black Panther, for instance.
In the hilarious scene, Shuri — played by Letitia Wright — demonstrates how connected she is to the world outside of Wakanda through the internet. As her brother T’Challa moves through her hi-tech laboratory to explore some of her new inventions, he asks, “And what is this?” to which she walks up to his newly sandles and retorts, “The real question is: What are thoooose?!”
— Alessandro Passaretti (@bracraw) March 28, 2018
The viral video meme, which was originally posted by its creator Busco (Brandon Moore) on June 14, 2015, spread worldwide days later after Vine user A-RODney King uploaded it to the then-popular 6-second-video social media platform.
Since then, Huffington Post reports, it’s acquired up to 40 million loops, with over 200,000 re-vines and millions of imitation posts, which kept the phrase well and alive into 2016 and beyond.
The moment, which took much of the theatre by surprise, also caught the meme’s creator off guard — but to his dissatisfaction.
“When I saw [the scene], my girl was trying to record it [in the theater]”, Moore told HuffPost. “I slapped the phone out of her hand because I was like, ‘I don’t want to f—ing be a part of this.’”
“For real,” he asserted. “Every time I see that sh—, I get depressed.”
Moore confessed that he thoroughly regrets the fact that he hadn’t protected his comedic work prior to the viral meme.
“I be depressed every time knowing I didn’t full court press on an opportunity that I created,” said Moore, stating that he knows better now.
“I actually got a deal. I did a contract with the people that did Vine,” he said. “They monetize it for the YouTube sh—t, the monetizing shit. I was getting a check off the YouTube sh—t, but people talking about copyrighting, I should do this, that…”
“I would’ve put my watermark on the video. I would’ve put my face on the video when I did it,” he said. “I would’ve copyrighted it. I would’ve done a whole lot of sh—t different.”
Moore revealed that it was a stint in jail two weeks later that really made him lose out on his biggest opportunity thus far.
“If I had been home, I would’ve started sweating my page with hella videos … but it is what it is … I ain’t gonna cry about it,” he continued.
Moore said that once he got out, everyone had already begun making T-shirts, socks, hats, and other products, making money off of his work. “I didn’t do what I was supposed to do when everybody getting paid off this sh*t, and I’m not.”
“I feel good I created something that’ll be with the world forever, but then I feel bad because I didn’t handle my business part correctly. I don’t know nothing about no mother—-g trademarking. I’m a n***a from the streets… I had to take it on the chin, man.”
Moore, father of five and founder of the nonprofit fundraising catering business Busco Bussdown, said that he’s still making art and comedy, and even intends to drop a comedy DVD this year. Still, he admitted that hearing the phrase makes him reel.
Interestingly enough, the police officer whom the original phrase was targeted said that he’s grown to embrace the meme and was proud of seeing it used in Black Panther.