Antoine Dodson Embraces Huge Unexpected Viral Video Fame

Antoine Dodson Embraces Huge Unexpected Viral Video Fame

Hot on the heels of our article about the highest-earning YouTube stars comes this story from NPR about Antoine Dodson.  Antoine Dodson, if you live in a cave, is the guy from Huntsville, Alabama, that has surged to fame via an interview with the local news.  After a break-in and attempted assault of his sister, Dodson—who had helped fight off the attacker—gave an interview with some memorable quotes.  You might remember this section:

"Obviously, we have a rapist in Lincoln Park. He's climbing in your windows. He's snatching your people up, trying to rape 'em. So you all need to hide your kids, hide your wife, and hide your husband, 'cause they're rapin' everybody out here."

Video of this interview went viral almost immediately, and it currently has millions of views—there are multiple versions on YouTube… one has five million views, one has four million, and several more have between one and two million.  Check out the interview that started it all:

If you somehow managed to avoid hearing about that video and story… you might have caught up when the Gregory Brothers—of Auto-Tune The News fame, and who recently signed a development deal with Comedy Central—took their unique brand of auto-tune humor and applied it to Dodson's words.  The result was the Bed Intruder Song, which currently has nearly 13 million views:

Want to really have your mind blown?  That song is currently the 35th most-downloaded song and even cracked the Billboard Top 100.

And here's where the story takes an interesting turn.  The Gregory Brothers are giving Dodson 50% of all the profits from the song.  And Dodson has decided to ride this unexpected fame right out of the poverty his family has long lived with.  They've already used some of his new found earnings to purchase a new house.

But it doesn't stop there.  Dodson now has a Facebook page (with 90,000 friends), a Twitter account (with nearly 5,000 followers), and his own personal website.  Oh, and his own YouTube channel.  He's taking donations on the site via PayPal, and is also selling T-shirts containing some of the more memorable quotes from his interview.  This is clearly a man that has fully embraced his unexpected fame.

Spoofs, covers, and ripoffs are popping up all over YouTube.  There's even a college marching band that uploaded a video to YouTube of them practicing an arrangement of the Bed Intruder Song.  Where will this meme go next?

I'm fairly impressed with Mr. Dodson's attitude.  I think it's safe to say that many of us would have been mortified if a video of us behaving that way went viral—of course, many of us would never behave that way in front of a TV news camera, but I digress.  But instead of shrinking away from the limelight out of embarrassment, Dodson has embraced it… maybe even encouraged it.  I wouldn't be surprised to learn that the Gregory Brothers—or someone like them—have been giving Dodson some free advice on how to leverage the fifteen minutes of fame to turn it into something more.  He could easily have hidden away from the attention, and who could blame him if he had?

I think it's refreshing that in this day and age where everyone's embracing video marketing, where more and more companies and individuals are trying hard to go viral, we can still have viral stars that reach their fame in a completely organic way.  There was no forethought or planning on Dodson's part.  He just reacted to the foiled attack on his family member in a way that was memorable… and the rest of the "viral" action happened on its own.  He didn't hire any video marketers to seed the video with views.  He didn't even make the video himself, for Pete's sake.

This is a wholly natural viral phenomenon—something that is becoming increasingly rare--and Dodson is a true viral star.  It's nice when something this organic comes along to remind us why we started doing this sort of thing in the first place.

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About the Author -
Jeremy Scott is the founder of The Viral Orchard, an Internet marketing firm offering content writing and development services, viral marketing consulting, and SEO services. Jeremy writes constantly, loves online video, and enjoys helping small businesses succeed in any way he can. View All Posts By -

What do you think? ▼
  • tre-money

    I thought the article was well written, also. I also thought mentioning the fact that he didn't make the video/song was also worth mentioning. Many people would have thought it crude if he had. I am glad that the Gregory Brothers are being rewarded for their creative genius and fairness to Antoine and I am glad that Antoine has inspired many and is able to move into a safer neighborhood with more resources.

  • V_goddess

    I loved this article! I noticed a cool video today about Antoine Dodson
    I thought it might interest you-

    keep up the great work!


  • Stevekasian

    Yeah! So... THERE!

    lol That was a kind of "out-there" response to the article. Refreshing to see someone defend their article with such a crushing argument. I liked the piece - It was well written.

  • Ronnie Bincer


  • Jenni Powell

    I find it interesting that the author seems to feel that Dodson ever had anything to be embarrassed about in the first place. He saved his sister from an attacker and then warned people about it and encouraged them to empower themselves to keep it from happening again. Sure, he might have been blunt about it and spoken in a way many are not used to, but honestly, I think he's a hero and deserves all the success that has come about because of it.

    • Jeremy Scott

      Well, I think it's pretty clear that the video went viral because his behavior is eccentric and animated, not because he's a hero. I certainly didn't mean to suggest that he has anything to be embarrased about regarding his actions defending his sister. Rather, it's the news interview that shot him to fame. And it shot him to fame becaues a large portion of the audience found his behavior to be anywhere from silly to embarrassing. His own sister told him to run away from the fame so he wouldn't look like a fool.

      Thankfully, Dodson has a sense of humor and has embraced his new found fame with open arms, which was this article was attempting to celebrate.