Source: Hot Air
I stumbled across this today when Yashar Ali highlighted it. It’s one of the strangest things I’ve ever seen online but rather than start with his tweet I’m going to walk you through this in chronological order.
Back in May there was a trend on TikTok which was basically black men frolicing, i.e. running around joyfully in a natural setting like a field. It started with this video which has been liked more than 800k times. It made enough of an impression that it got a mention at Mashable.
@thexsadxoptimistic How many of y’all can say y’all frolicked before⁉️ #BlackBoyJoy #BigEnergy ♬ original sound – ThexSadxOptimistic
It was a contagiously silly idea and it caught on quickly. Other black TikTok users joined in the fun and the hashtag #blackmenfrolicking was used more than 600k times. Many of the subsequent clips reference the one above. For example:
@babatunde_hiphopera #stitch with @chazbruce0 we still out here! #frolicking #Blackboyjoy #Blackmenfrolicking ♬ original sound – Babatunde Akinboboye
Other people used the trend to create their own twist on the idea, like this video about the five stages of frolic:
@brad_everett Gotta celebrate Juneteenth with a frolic!!! #blackmenfrolicking #blackmenfrolic #blackmanfrolic #blackmanfrolicchallenge #blackmen #blackmanjoy #ForMyWife ♬ original sound – Brad Everett
There’s a lot more of this but you get the idea. It was just silly fun that created a joyful mood and a lot of people liked it. And apparently there were some mini-trends in response including one that involved black women frolicing. I’m having a harder time locating those clips because I don’t have a TikTok account (sorry, China).
In July actress Drew Barrymore, who has an active TikTok account with 6.5 million followers, posted a clip of herself laughing in the rain. And this one went really viral. A month later it has more than 21 million views and the clip got a write up at Insider.
Apparently this wasn’t a new thing. Barrymore had previously posted this clip with a similar theme at the end of May.
But at least one TikTok user was not amused. This user took a snippet of Barrymore’s clip and scolded her as a colonizer who was making it possible for millions of people to “dismiss and disrespect the boundaries that black creators have set.”
It’s a bit hard to follow but I think what she’s saying is that Drew Barrymore is the Elvis Presley of black frolic videos, i.e. a white person who culturally appropriated something from black TikTok creators and who made it possible for others to do the same.
There’s no evidence that Drew Barrymore made the rain videos because she was copying the #blackmenfrolicking clips. But even if she did, is frolicking in the rain an exclusively black experience? A number of people responded to her complaints with this clip:
Yeah, that one would really piss her off; “appropriation by anticipation” : https://t.co/KZQcMpVDrO
— 🏳️🌈 Chuck Hamilton (he/him/his) #WWJHD 🏴☠️ (@natty4bumpo) August 25, 2022
Others pointed to this clip:
🎶 The hills are alive with the sounds of cultural appropriation. 🎶
— Jemison Thorsby (he/him) Not a lawyer. (@JThorsbyEsq) August 25, 2022
And of course neither of those film clips mean that white people have a corner on frolicking. The whole point is that spontaneously expressing joy to the point of bursting into song or laughter isn’t new and definitely wasn’t created on TikTok last month. There’s room for everyone to frolic! Don’t turn this into a bogus cultural appropriation/colonizer issue.
The same person who made that clip above has made about 20 videos since most of which are her doubling down and responding to commenters telling her she sounds crazy. Many people have pointed out that Barrymore’s video never even referenced frolicking. She may not have even seen the trend or if she did she may not have seen any harm in spreading some joy of her own. But the critic (I don’t’ know her name) isn’t convinced. In one of her rebuttals she explains, “When we [meaning black people] say it’s racist, it’s racist.” Her account is a reminder that woke scolds exist to sew unnecessary division and steal people’s joy.
I really hope Drew Barrymore doesn’t get wind of this and decide to apologize. That would be the worst possible outcome.