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#ThisCouldBeUsButYouPlayin is a hashtag used ironically to highlight unglamorous or awkward photographs of couples on Twitter and Tumblr, similar to the usage of the phrases “Like a Boss” and Haters Gonna Hate in image macros.
The phrase most likely originated from the 2012 Manio song “This Could Be Us,” as the chorus repeats the phrase “that could be us.” The hashtag was first used on Twitter by @blackgalaxshe on January 18th, 2014. It’s been mentioned on Twitter over 1.9 million times as of February 2014.
H________G: Who made this atrocity? pic.twitter.com/zwByfR6zrB</p>— blackgalaxshe (blackgalaxshe) January 18, 2014
On January 25th, the Facebook page “This Could Be Us But You Playing” was created. On January 26th, the Twitter account @ButWhyYouPlayin was created with various image macros featuring unremarkable or awkward-looking couples and the caption #ThisCouldBeUsButYouPlayin. On January 29th, Bossip collected the best photos paired with the hashtag, and on February 6th, The Daily Dot published a post titled “#ThisCouldBeUsButYouPlayin is the greatest hashtag” which included a collection of the awkward photos used to accompany the hashtag and highlighted the existence of the trend of NSFW photos accompanying the hashtag.
On March 29th, 2014, Urban Dictionary user FimogenFeels submitted an entry for “This could be us but you playin’” which defined it as:
“A joke, often in meme form, that has a picture of an unattractive or ghetto couple (or a couple doing weird things) that says, ‘this could be us but you playin.’”
On May 21st, Complex published an article titled "To the Grave: Time to End the “This Could Be Us, But You…” Meme" which called for the end of the meme.
Prince’s “This Could Be Us”
On June 23rd, 2014, Minneapolis Star Tribune published an article about Prince’s yet-to-be titled upcoming solo album, which featured a quote from the artist saying that one of the tracks in the album, titled “This Could Be Us,” was inspired by an image macro parodying a still shot of him and Apollonia Kotero riding on a motorcycle from the 1984 film Purple Rain (shown below).
The Daily Dot – #ThisCouldBeUsButYouPlayin is the greatest hashtag
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