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April 25, 2019

Internet comedian behind ‘What are those?’ meme dies at 31

November 27, 2018
Young Busco, the Internet comedian behind the “What are those?” meme, died on Sunday. He was 31. (Instagram / @youngbusco)

Brandon (Young Busco) Moore, the internet comedian whose footwear-dissing “What are those?” meme took the world by storm in 2015, has died. He was 31.

Moore reportedly died Sunday, according to a Facebook post shared by his mother Valerie Cooper.

“My only child…. My faith will not falter!!!! Lord be my peace,” Cooper wrote, according to People. “I can’t believe that the earth is still moving when I feel as though my world has stopped.”

Moore, who shared videos to social media under the moniker Young Busco, shot to viral fame in the summer of 2015 after he filmed an encounter with Sergeant Sean Fenner as Fenner arrested Moore’s friend Myesha for public intoxication in Berkeley, Calif.

In the clip, Moore approaches Fenner and tells him, “Officer, I’ve got one question for you,” before zooming in the officer’s clunky black boots and shouting, “What are thooooose?!”

Moore later told Complex that “What are those?” is something he’s said since he was a kid to mock his friends’ footwear, and only decided in the “spur of the moment” to yell it at the cop.

“To be honest, I thought he was going to slap me with his night stick,” the comedian said.

Moore shared the clip to Instagram, but it only took off after user A-RODney King posted it to the now-defunct Vine app, where it’s since racked up nearly 40 million views.

The phrase quickly exploded, and even Michael Jordan fell victim to the viral diss; the NBA legend was hosting a Q&A at his Flight School summer camp when a teenager hit him with a “What are those?!”

“Hey look man, I’m lost on that Vine stuff,” Jordan responded.

Even years later the meme lived on, getting a shout-out in this year’s Marvel superhero flick “Black Panther.”

Despite the movie’s success, Moore admitted he wasn’t exactly a fan of the scene, as it served as a reminder that he had fumbled his opportunity to profit off his catchphrase.

“When I saw it, my girl was trying to record it,” he told HuffPost. “I slapped the phone out of her hand, because I was like, ‘I don’t want to f–king be a part of this.’ For real. Every time I see that s–t, I get depressed.”

Moore explained that shortly after “What are those?” took off, he got sick of the meme, as he believed he wasn’t getting proper recognition, and had missed his chance to copyright it.

“I feel good I created something that’ll be with the world forever, but then I feel bad because I didn’t handle my business part correctly,” he said.

The Berkeley native was a father of five, and spent time in and out of jail for selling narcotics before his viral fame.

One of his final posts came on Thanksgiving, when he expressed his gratitude for his son on his birthday.

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