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Haters Gonna Hate is a catchphrase used to indicate a disregard for hostile remarks addressed towards the speaker. This expression has its roots in American hip hop, and spawned an image macro series featuring pictures of celebrities, animals and cartoon characters strutting or posing in a conceited manner.
While not necessarily the direct progenitor of the meme, the phrase “Haters Gonna Hate” first appeared in the pop song “Playas Gon’ Play” by 3LW in the year 2000:
The playas gon’ play / Them haters gonna hate / Them callers gonna call / Them ballers gonna ball
The original GIF animation of a kid strutting accompanied by a thought bubble with the phrase was created by the artist Omar Noory. In an interview with Know Your Meme, Noory stated that he first drew the image in November of 2008 and it was originally uploaded to his portfolio page sometime in 2009. It was initially labeled “baller.gif” for something he referred to as “Top Secret Project.” The first public forum he embedded the image was in an art thread on Yay Hooray.com.
Etymology of Hater
One of the earliest references to “haters” can be hard in ICE T’s 1999 single “Don’t Hate Tha Player”:
Don’t hate the player, hate the game
Niggas, sharpen your aim
Every baller on the streets is searchin’ fortune and fame
Some come up, some get done up, except the twist
If you out for mega cheddar, you got to go high risk
The Playa Haters as seen on Dave Chappelle’s Show
The earliest known usage of the term “haters” online appeared on Urban Dictionary in August 2003:
A person that simply cannot be happy for another person’s success. Instead of giving acknowledgment in courtesy, a hater often pursues his/her point by exposing a flaw in the target subject. Hating, the result of being a hater, is not exactly jealousy. The hater doesn’t really want to be the person he or she hates, rather the hater wants to knock somelse [sic] down a notch.
In 2009, image macros started to appear with subjects appearing during an action with the phrase on the photo. This was documented on Urlesque in May 2010. In May 2010, a variations thread appeared on 4chan, in which people posted photos with matching phrases based on the phrasal template “X-ers are gonna X.” On January 25th, 2012, “Haters Gonna Hate” was chosen as the Urban Word of the Day.
Throughout 2011, the series grew into an animated GIF phenomenon through hubsites like Reddit, where there are over 2,000 posts pertaining to the phrase “Haters Gonna Hate.” In June 2011, BoingBoing posted the “microscopic GIF edition” of the series.
Interest in the phrase reached it’s first peak in June of 2010, and is still on the rise as of August 30th, 2011.