Ugandan Knuckles is the nickname given to a depiction of the character Knuckles from the Sonic franchise created by YouTuber Gregzilla, which is often used as an avatar by players in the multiplayer game VRChat who repeat phrases like "do you know the way" and memes associated with the country Uganda, most notably the film Who Killed Captain Alex? and Zulul. The character is associated with the expression "do you know the way", which is typically spoken in a mock African accent and phonetically spelled as "do you know de wey." Along with the question in hand a VR user will start making "spitting" sounds, followed by a "mob like" mentality. Unsuspecting VRchat users fall victim to Ugandan Knuckles "promise" of showing "de wey". Only followed by a mass trolling.
On August 7th, 2016, YouTuber VirtuallyVain uploaded footage of himself roleplaying an African gangster in the game Call of Duty: Black Ops, saying lines like "Follow me, I know the way" (shown below). Within two years, the video accumulated 10.5 million views and 17,900 comments.
On February 20th, 2017, YouTuber Gregzilla uploaded a review of the 2013 platformer game Sonic Lost World, which featured a parody animation of the character Knuckles (shown below, left). The video subsequently gave rise to the Knuckles Sings remix series.
Fans of the Twitch streamer Forsen commonly reference various jokes related to Ugandan warriors while playing the game PlayerUnknown's Battlegrounds. Additionally, viewers have been known to stream snipe his channel while yelling various Uganda-related memes. On September 15th, DeviantArtist tidiestflyer released a 3D model based on Gregzilla's Knuckles depiction (shown below).
On December 22nd, YouTuber Stahlsby uploaded a video titled "You Do Not Know the Way," in which a swarm of VRChat players wearing Ugandan Knuckles avatars troll other players by making clicking noises and saying "You do not know the way" (shown below, right).
The line "you do not know the way" is believed to be inspired by a line in Who Killed Captain Alex? in which a character says "He knows the way of using a gun" (shown below).
On December 23rd, 2017, YouTuber SoyerCake published another VRChat video of various players wearing Ugandan Knuckles avatars (shown below, left). On December 28th, 2017, YouTuber TanksBlast uploaded a similar VRChat video titled "Ugandan Knuckles Tribe" (shown below, right).
On January 1st, 2018, YouTuber Syrmor uploaded a VRChat video titled "Do You Know the Way" (shown below). Within 48 hours, the video gained over 199,000 views and 170 comments. On January 3rd, Redditor JebusMcAzn submitted TanksBlast's "Ugandan Knuckles Tribe" video to /r/youtubehaiku, where it received more than 400 points (93% upvoted) and 25 comments within 12 hours. On January 5th, Ebaumsworld published an article about the meme titled "Ugandan Knuckles Is A Hilarious Meme That's Taken Gaming By Storm."
On January 7th, DeviantArtist tidiestflyer updated the 3D model page with a disclaimer urging viewers to "not use this to bug the users of VRChat."
"Please do not use this to bug the users of Vrchat. Its community means a lot to me and it would hurt me to see the rights of other users taken away and possibly restricted because of how out of hand it can get. Showing off their creativity and what they are capable of. For me….. I'm in college and don't have a lot of time to get on like I would like to anymore… I remember making this and thinking… Well it could be funny to show off to my friends and possibly mess with users. But I've learned what kind of things I'm really capable of making. Its always fun to be the one with models no one else has access to. Because I can make anything that I want to be. Its like….. Its like that special place for me. To get away from the real world and be someone I'm not….. But right now. Vrchat has become a meme ground and I feel I have helped to dig a grave for Vrchat. Soon enough people are gunna get tired of all the memes that now pollute the servers. And with 500 people trying to just enjoy an event, they cant because there just isnt enough moderation to hold down the rampant amounts of memers. So please…. Think about the users that you're playing with. Before they are all gone… Don't let it be a second Second Life."
The following day, Ebaumsworld published an article title "Ugandan Knuckles Creator Says The Meme Has Gotten Out Of Hand." The tidiestflyer update was subsequently removed.
The Ugandan Knuckles character has been accused of promoting ethnic and racial stereotypes against Africans, though defenders of the meme have claimed the character is merely based on an appreciation for Who Killed Captain Alex? and Wakaliwood cinema. On January 20th, 2018, YouTuber Drift0r published a video titled "Is Ugandan Knuckles Racist?" (shown below).
On January 24th, 2018, Kotaku published an article titled "Racist Jokes Keep Showing Up In Overwatch League Broadcasts," which referred to Ugandan Knuckles as "a meme that became racist for reasons that are excruciating to explain." The following day, a similar article titled "Racist Ugandan Knuckles Meme Spreads to Overwatch, Esports" was published by The Daily Dot.
On January 27th, 2018, the gaming company Razer tweeted a customer-created image featuring a swarm of Ugandan Knuckles characters accompanied by the caption "Razer is de wey" (shown below).
In response, Twitter users began accusing the company of promoting racism by posting the Ugandan Knuckles meme (shown below). Meanwhile, the tech news site Gizmodo published an article titled "Does Razer Know It Posted a Racist Meme?"
That day, Razer tweeted that they had removed the post after discovering that "the meme may have negative undertones" (shown below).
January 2019 Jokes
In December of 2018, popular posts appeared on meme-based subreddits encouraging a revival of Ugandan Knuckles in January of 2019 in order to troll /r/funny. On December 16th, me_irl user marshmallowhonney posted a dam edit of Ugandan Knuckles preparing to flood the subreddit, gaining over 13,000 points (shown below, left). It was reposted to /r/MemeEconomy later that day, gaining over 12,000 points. Jokes about the impending revival appeared on various subreddits over the following few days. For example, an Owl Turd Comix parody about the revival gained over 20,000 points on /r/PewDiePieSubmissions (shown below, right). The trend was inquired about on /r/OutOfTheLoop on the 18th.
December 2021 Resurgence
In late 2021, hype surrounding the release of Sonic the Hedgehog 2 inspired a resurgence in Ugandan Knuckles memes on Reddit, mainly because of the addition of Knuckles into the cinematic universe voiced by actor Idris Elba. When the movie's first trailer was posted on social media to platforms like Twitter, it received roughly 84,200 likes over six days. A meme format called Do I Look Like I Need Your Power? emerged from the trailer which used Knuckles' scene within the trailer as its reference.
The first meme in December 2021 to reference Ugandan Knuckles in conjunction with the new Sonic movie was posted to Reddit by Redditor MikeTony713 on December 12th. The meme (shown below) received 28 likes over three days' time.
Inspired by the "Do I Look Like I Need Your Power?" format, Redditor ProAssassin666 was the first to remix Ugandan Knuckles into the new format. The meme (shown below) was posted on December 13th, 2021, and received roughly 33,800 upvotes over two days.
Inspired by the above meme, multiple Ugandan Knuckles memes started ironically re-emerging across Reddit. For instance, Redditor mayonnaise219 posted a meme on December 13th (shown below, left) depicting a grave digger digging up "Ugandan Knuckles" from the grave. The post amassed roughly 8,200 upvotes over two days. Redditor TheRetroVideoGamer also posted a meme (shown below, right) that received roughly 6,300 likes over two days. It showed Ugandan Knuckles as the "720p" version of Sonic 2's Knuckles.
 The Daily Dot – Racist Ugandan Knuckles Meme Spreads to Overwatch Esports