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Published: Monday February 25, 2013 MYT 12:00:00 AM
Updated: Saturday April 20, 2013 MYT 3:41:09 PM

Ain't nobody got time for that!

DOES anybody know who Sweet Brown is?

I posed this question to my cousin recently and she responded with a question: “Is it a new recipe?”

It certainly is not, my dear.

For those who religiously subscribe to or watch YouTube or the immensely popular Internet site 9gag.com, Sweet Brown is a meme icon.

For the uninitiated, a meme is a virtual thing that goes viral on the Internet and gets copied very quickly. It can be anything — an image, a person, a video clip, a quote, a famous scene, a concept or even a word — and usually, followers add funny expressions to a meme that correspond to the very reason it was posted in the first place.

So what about Sweet Brown? Or more correctly, who is Sweet Brown?

Miss Brown is actually a black woman who is a resident of Oklahoma City, Oklahoma in the US. She first got her short moment of fame last year when she was interviewed by local news station KFOR News Channel 4.

Last April 7, a morning fire broke out in an Oklahoma City apartment complex, leaving one person hospitalised and five units damaged.

The KFOR team was among the first to arrive at the scene and talked to Miss Brown, who was one of the displaced residents. In the 40-second interview, Miss Brown — in her deep, colourful Southern twang — told the reporter how when she woke up to get herself a cold “pop” (soda), she smelled something burning.

“I thought somebody was barbequin’,” she said.

After realising that the block was on fire she dashed out of her apartment without even grabbing “shoes or nothin”.

“I ran for my life, and then tha smoke got me. I got bronchitis.”

It was right after that that she muttered what was perhaps her most memorable catchphrase: “Ain’t nobody got time for that!”

The woman’s thick slang along with her hilariously theatrical expression, prompted KFOR employee Ted Malave to upload the clip to YouTube on the very same day.

However, it was another version posted two days later by a YouTube enthusiast named lucasmarr that became the most shared Sweet Brown clip to date, gaining over one million views and some 109,000 Facebook shares within 48 hours.

As of last week, it was reported that the viral clip had been played over 40 million times on the website. Moreover, there were also several Auto-Tune mixes of it as well — one of which my friends and I discovered by accident a few days ago.

Almost overnight, Miss Brown became an Internet sensation and ironically, it was all empias from her experience being evacuated from a burning building which could have gone terribly wrong if luck wasn’t on her side at the time.

There you go, my Sarawakian Malay word for this week. Empias literally means “spray from heavy rain” in which one can still get wet even in a shelter during a storm as the strong wind can blow in some of the rainwater.

Metaphorically, it describes the side effects or spinoffs that may differ far from the source event.

Much like Miss Brown’s, I would say. In a following interview with another station, she told KJRH Channel 2 that she was really amazed by the popularity of the clip, and asked: “You think I could be a superstar?”

Apparently, she’s on her way to become one. Recently, Oklahoma-based Shortline Dental launched a commercial campaign featuring none other than the woman herself. Capitalising on her famous line, the advert showed Miss Brown saying, “Toothache? Ain’t nobody got time for that!”, after drinking a cold “pop”. However when it came to fixing teeth and maintaining proper oral hygiene, she declared that “everybody’s got time” to go to the dentist.

Even more recently, rumour had it that Miss Brown might join the cast of a new movie by Tyler Perry of the Madea fame. While the news have derived from unconfirmed reports, fans of Brown would know soon enough as to whether the Internet star would make her debut on Perry’s A Madea Christmas, which is currently filming and is due for the holiday season in US theatres on Dec 13.

What a fortunate empias for Miss Brown!

Who would have thought that a near fire tragedy could turn things around for one simple Oklahoman, who did nothing much except relating her experience in the only way she knew how.

The reason I picked Miss Brown’s account was that hers was among the many YouTube success stories. A friend whom I told about the idea for this week’s column was a bit puzzled as to why I didn’t feature the more popular South Korea’s Psy of the Gangnam fame or the latest craze, the Harlem Shake — or even our very own homegirl Zee Avi whose fame exploded after she posted a visual footage of her performance on YouTube.

I do agree that just like Miss Brown, the three received tremendous empias after their videos were uploaded on the website. The only difference is that the Gangnam, the Harlem Shake and Zee Avi were all purposely put on YouTube whereas Miss Brown didn’t have the slightest idea that her interview was being viewed by millions.

This makes the empias effect even more significant for the Oklahoman.

Nevertheless, in the case of Miss Brown as well as others who have found great fame via YouTube, I believe that it all boils down to serendipity, which means circumstances where one finds fortune by accident.

This quickly reminds me of a quote made famous by Tom Hanks’ namesake character in the 1994 movie Forrest Gump.

“Mama always said life was like a box of chocolates. You never know what you’re gonna get.”

Chocolates, you say? Now everybody got time for that!

Tags / Keywords: Community, News, Opinion, Opinion, WEEKLY COLUMN TAUK SIK BY GHAZ GHAZALI


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