On February 20, 2014, musical artists DJ Snake and Lil Jon launched a social media campaign for their smash hit Turn Down For What. Picking up on an already widely established practice that got going when the single was released in December 2013, Vine users were asked to publish videos of themselves dancing to the tune in order to win a pair of headphones.
The actor and Barack Obama impersonator Iman Crosson posed a question which was answered by the now legendary #TurnipForWhat Vine clip. (Since Vine is not very good at contextualizing videos, Crosson made the connection on Twitter.)
The phrase “turn down for what” and its variations have become a staple of web communication. On Twitter, Michelle Obama’s video dominated the hashtag #TD4W in 2014, and in 2016 users are still circulating it. The FLOTUS’ prominence in the meme’s life is a lasting reminder of the Obamas’ blackness, as she plays with the black vernacular origins of the phrase “turn up” and originated the meme on Vine, a platform known for its facilitation of black cultural production.
User cmz8706 commented on the extremely popular TD4W Kitten Jam already in March 2014:
alright it's official.
Turn Down For What has run its course
when middle aged women with laser pointers jump on the bandwagon with their Youtube kittens, it's officially over.
This was apparently a common mis-judgement, since moms rule the internet.
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