For a consistent year or two, you had to take special consideration into your choice of footwear or you’d risk the embarrassment of someone pointing at them and yelling out, “what are those!” Once someone did that, your life was over and you were never considered fresh again. That wave of comedic callouts came thanks to Young Busco, real name Brandon Moore, who went viral in 2015 with the very first “What Are Those” video.
Unfortunately, we sadly have to report that Young Busco has passed away. The news began circulating on Monday, November 26th. It was confirmed by the East Bay social media star’s close friends. He was just 31 years old.
Young Busco’s claim to fame came after Vine user A-RODney King uploaded his 6-second video to the now defunct app. In the video, which Busco recorded while his friend Myesha was being detained for involving public intoxication, Busco is seen interacting with the police officer. He says, “Officer I just have one question for you,” before dramatically zooming in on the officer’s feet and saying, “What are those?”
The video spurred a number of parodies and became an instant catchphrase overnight. It was clear that Young Busco had solidified himself as a viral sensation.
“What are those” was even used in the Marvel blockbuster hit, Black Panther in 2018 and it was just as hilarious as the first time you ever heard it.
Oddly enough, by the time the phrase made it to Black Panther, Busco was already over the whole phenomenon.
“When I saw [the scene], my girl was trying to record it” in the theater, he told HuffPost in an interview earlier this year. “I slapped the phone out of her hand, because I was like, ‘I don’t want to fucking be a part of this.’”
“For real,” he added. “Every time I see that shit, I get depressed.”
His issues with the phrase being used was not that Black Panther wasn’t a great movie but like most viral stars, he created a cultural moment that he did not monetize on.
“I feel good I created something that’ll be with the world forever, but then I feel bad because I didn’t handle my business part correctly,” he said.
However, Busco managed to trek through it as his viral phrase calmed down over time. After the fall of Vine, Busco continued to use his Instagram page to stay connected with friends and family.
The details surrounding Busco’s death have not been revealed. Some reports say he passed away in his sleep. He is survived by his five children.
Our thoughts and prayers are with Busco’s loved ones.