In case you just crawled out of a cave in Kandahar, there’s a new Internet sensation named Antoine Dodson. The Huntsville, Alabama native took an unusual route to stardom.
Last month, Antoine Dodson’s sister, Kelly, woke up to find a strange man in her bed attempting to rape her. Antoine heard a muffled sound, stormed into his sister’s room and found the perp on top of his sister while choking the living daylight out of her. He and his sister fought off the intruder and later alerted police. What happened next would change Antoine’s life forever. A news crew showed up at Lincoln Park residence and captured his now famous words:
“Obviously, we have a rapist in Lincoln Park,” Dodson said. “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.”
When Antoine Dodson made that statement he was wrapped up in the moment. He was clearly perturbed, outraged, frustrated that someone would try to rape his sister in their home. While Dodson’s words may have been unintentionally funny, the story itself is not. People latched on to the humorous part anyway, and the video went on to become a viral hit.
You are so dumb
You are really dumb
You don’t have to come and confess
We gone find you
We gone find you
So you can run and tell that
run and tell that
run and tell that
Homeboy, home, home, homeboy!!!
The song made an appearance on the Billboard Hot 100, scanned over 60,000 digital downloads and drew over 25 million YouTube views within its first two weeks. At $1.29 a pop, those downloads add up to a chunky change, half of which goes to Antoine Dodson. Oh, and don’t forget the YouTube revenue.
Dodson sees his fame as a way out of the hood. He now has a manager, a photographer, a talent scout, and a lawyer, to help manage his career. His website’s merchandise section features shirts with such phrases as “We Gon’ Find You” and “You Are So Dumb.” Dodson also landed a segment on the Today Show, rocking a super silky blowout and a fresh manicure.
Dodson has said that he intends to capitalize on his moment in the spotlight. He’s mulling a variety of career choices, ranging from music to fashion. “Blessings come in disguise,” Dodson once told the Associated Press. “This is a golden opportunity for us. I’m gonna take it and run with it.”
Naturally, everyone around Antoine Dodson sees dollar signs on his face. Richard Figueroa, one of the people responsible for managing Dodson says of his burgeoning career:
“I said, ‘This guy is going to be a sensation… He’s a hero. What an amazing person. I’ve never seen nothing like this before. … I was like, ‘Wow, he’s going to need a good manager, representation, with all of this fame.”
Added one of the Gregory brothers: “Now because of Facebook, because of Twitter and because of YouTube, Antoine can sort of say, ‘Holy crap, I just maybe got famous. If I can work this the right way, this can be my job, this can be my livelihood. He can do things like sell merchandise and become a YouTube partner to make money off it, which we think is fantastic.”
Although Antoine’s fame was triggered by a tragic situation, his family stands to reap some financial rewards down the line. He has said he plans to move his family out of their crime-infested neighborhood. That’s good and all, but there’s been little focus on the real crime: a young, black woman was nearly raped in her home.
Race is one issue that keeps coming up whenever this topic is raised, so let’s address that. No, I don’t believe that Antoine’s fame is driven solely by his race or sexual orientation for that matter, even though I’ve heard legitimate arguments to the contrary. The fact that Antoine is African-American and gay are secondary. He’s a flamboyant guy with plenty of personality. People would’ve found him funny anyway, regardless of race. That said, you have to wonder if people would have reacted the same way to news of a young, white female being violated in her home.
Ultimately, Dodson’s social media-driven fame has eclipsed the real issue at hand –– a botched rape attempt that could’ve ended in a tragic manner. I’d like to see Dodson seize his accidental popularity as an opportunity to bring awareness to victims of sexual abuse. He can start by including a free chastity belt with every purchase on his site.