It wasn't long ago that the now-famous video depicting a police officer's clunky black boots and a voice in the background which shouted, "What are those?" made its rounds on the Internet. The video has since been viewed over 17 million times and has sparked the creation of countless edits featuring the original audio. The phrase has become such a phenomenon, it landed its very own spot on Urban Dictionary. According to the site:
"This is what you say/scream when you see someone wearing shoes or other footwear that are dirty and/or non-brand unknown. You should also point your finger in the air then while saying, "What are those?" Make your way down to the person[s] shoes, all while their back is turned."
Being the meme-obsessed, Internet-raised people that we are, we tracked down the originator of the hilarious video to find out how it all started. Young Busco, whose real name is Brandon Moore, explained exactly what happened that day, and why he thinks it has become a viral hit. He also spoke to us about what the tagline means and, told us a story about when using "What are those?" went wrong.
First off, tell us a little bit about yourself. Who are you? Other than creating brilliant clips on Instagram, what do you do?
I'm Young Busco, born Brandon Moore. I'm from Berkeley, Calif. Before I started making clips on Instagram, I was in and out of jail for selling narcotics. I'm a young father of five, and I am currently working on a comedy skit DVD and a movie. I also do music.
The video has really blown up, and I guess a lot of people want to know what was going on in the clip? Who was being arrested and how did you happen to be there?
I was at the Berkeley flea market, the lady that was getting arrested was Myesha. The policeman was jacking her up for drinking in public. I always have my camera out because I document my life on my snapchat, @youngbusco. But like I was saying, the officer was arresting her and I was just being me. I wasn't even going to put the video on Instagram, but for some reason I saved the video and posted it, along with three other videos from that day.
Did you think that it would become such a hit?
I did not expect for that video to be that big. I have tons of funny videos on my page that I think are way funnier than that one, but i guess the fact that I did that to a police officer made it epic.
When did you come up with the idea of saying, "What are those?"
I've been doing "what are those?" forever. It's something I did as a kid to talk about my friend's shoes. It was a spur of the moment type of thing with that cop, and, to be honest, I thought he was going to slap me with his night stick [laughs].
No, the officer looked at me like, "This stupid kid," and he just walked off.
Explain what "what are those?" means. How are you suppose to use it?
"What are those" is making fun of not only shoes, but anything that you want to insult somebody about. A girl can have a weird hairstyle, and you can point at her hair like, "What is that," with the same voice tone and energy.
I can assume that "what are those?" doesn't always go over well with everyone, has there ever been a time when it backfired?
I have been assaulted once. This homeless guy had on some "what are those?"-worthy shoes, and as I went down to put the camera on his feet, he kicked the phone out of my hand. When I tried to grab it, he kicked me in my ribs. While I was laying on the ground gasping for air, he picked my phone and then came over to me. I thought he was going to put my phone in my pocket, but he actually ended up taking my money out of my pocket and left me there feeling like a total asshole. I guess you can call that, when "what are those" goes wrong.
Where does your sense of humor come from?
I have a weird sense of humor. The things I laugh at the average person wouldn't find funny, except for my big cousin KennyMac. He is 6 years older than me, our grandma raised us when we where little. KennyMac is hella funny, but you would never know unless you knew him personally. For people that don't know him, they would think he was this big, black, dangerous person. But he is the person that I hold responsible for my personality.
You mentioned that you were involved with drugs, how were you able to turn things around? Did comedy help bring a positive change in your life?
My drug problem made it impossible for me to be an active father in my kids life. I struggled for years. My grandma died last year, and that's when I realized that I needed to make a change. I stopped using drugs and became active with my kids. Now I'm here, spreading happiness and joy by making everyone laugh. I get messages everyday from total strangers telling me how much I mean to them and how I get them through their day. They keep me going and help me realize what it is I'm here for: And that's to change the world with laughter. I couldn't have done any of this on drugs. I ask myself all the time, "Would I be funnier high?" And the answer is always "hell no."