Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.
Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.

The viral Ghanaian pallbearers address COVID-19: "Stay at home or dance with us"

Illustration for article titled The viral Ghanaian pallbearers address COVID-19: Stay at home or dance with us
Screenshot: BBC (YouTube)

A morbid, darkly hilarious new meme format danced its way online earlier this year, and, though many have adopted it as the official meme of the COVID-19 crisis, it’s really just a brilliant twist on the classic fail video. Using footage culled from a 2017 BBC report, the memes typically chase footage of dums-dums tempting death with a dancing troupe of Ghanaian pallbearers known for adding a touch of flair to one’s mourning. All of it is underscored by Vicetone and Tony Igy’s 2010 club hit Astronomia.”

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The meme’s popularity has bled into the real world, too. Last week, a group of people in Lebanon held a parody funeral procession for the lira, which has been spiraling as of late.

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Meanwhile, a Taiwanese dance group called the Luxyboyz went viral over the weekend after video emerged of them replicating the meme at a Taipei club, where they danced out bottles and tipsy patrons. 

A follow-up documentary from the BBC reveals that the Prampram dancers, known as Nana Otafrija Pallbearing Services, have become aware of their international fame and plan to use it to train others around the world once the lockdown lifts.

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They’re also on Twitter, and just recently shared a video in which founder Benjamin Aidoo thanks the doctors treating COVID-19 before offering a cheeky warning: “Now remember, stay at home or dance with us.” The ominous laugh that follows makes it clear that, no, this does not mean you are invited to join the troupe.

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Check out BBC’s latest check-in with them below.

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Randall Colburn is The A.V. Club's Internet Culture Editor. He lives in Chicago, occasionally writes plays, and was a talking head in Best Worst Movie, the documentary about Troll 2.

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