"What Are Those?" is a series of parody and remix videos based on a short clip of a man who asks a police officer about his work boots in a startled manner. Upon its surfacing on Instagram and Vine in 2015, the video clip quickly went viral and amassed millions of views on the social media.
On October 2nd, 2011, Urban Dictionary user JOHNxRYAN95 created an entry for "What Are Those?", defining it as a question yelled at someone wearing unkempt or off-brand footwear. On June 14th, 2015, Instagram user Brandon Moore (a.k.a. Young Busco) uploaded a video in which he confronts a police officer by loudly asking "What are those?" before panning to his black shoes (shown below). Within three weeks, the video gained over 2,300 likes and 1,200 comments.
On June 18th, Viner A-RODney King reuploaded the video to Vine, where it received upwards of 20 million loops, 271,000 likes and 136,000 revines in the following two weeks. On June 20th, 2015, YouTuber Crey Crey reuploaded a looped version of the original Vine video, garnering more than 210,000 views and 1,700 likes over the following two weeks. On June 27th, the DeboraGrano Vines YouTube channel uploaded a compilation of notable remixes and parodies of the clip on Vine (shown below).
On June 28th, Viner Samuel Grubbs uploaded footage of a man standing at a pulpit before jumping down and asking a seated church goer "What are those?" (shown below, left). The following day, the pop culture blog Complex published an article about the Vine video series followed by an interview with the video's creator. On July 1st, Viner Danny Gonzalez uploaded an autotuned remix of the original "what are those" audio dubbed over a scene from the film Jurassic Park (shown below). In the first 24 hours, the video gathered upwards of 8.9 million loops, 205,000 likes and 110,000 revines.
On July 21st, Viner Joey Gatto shared a Vine of himself pulling the prank on his grandmother, to which she calmly responds "they are my Crocs." Though presumably staged, the video has garnered more than 33.7 million views and 11,000 comments in less than two weeks.
On August 4th, Viner Bryce Lyle posted a video of a boy at a Michael Jordan basketball camp pranking the 52-year-old legend with the question "what are those???" during a Q&A session. As the crowd reacted with laughter, Jordan eventually responded:
"I have one question for you… What are those???"
"I'm lost in that Vine stuff, man… What are those? These are 29 lows."
Brandon Moore's Death
On November 25th, 2018, rumors that Brandon Moore had passed away began circulating on Twitter. That day, Twitter user @ch0colateGodess tweeted a photograph of Moore with eight children (shown below). Within 48 hours, the tweet received more than 500 likes and 240 retweets.
Meanwhile, Twitter user @johnnyxcv tweeted the original "What Are Those" video as a tribute to Moore (shown below).
REST IN PEACE TO YOUNG BUSCO AKA THE CREATOR OF THIS LEGENDARY MEME. YOU WILL BE MISSED pic.twitter.com/63kO5TjPOh— johnny**-+! (@johnnyxcv) November 26, 2018
The following day, reporter Melissa Colorado tweeted about Moore's death (shown below). That day, an obituary for Moore was posted on the site EveryDayDevotional. Also on November 26th, the news site MTO News published an article reporting that Moore "died in his sleep" and that "authorities do not suspect his death was a homicide."