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Antoine Dodson is for real, y'all

The subject line of the e-mail read, “Criminals beware.” Because it was coming from my friend Chad, I just knew it would be hilariously off-kilter. But, man, I wasn’t prepared for what I saw when I clicked the YouTube link. A very serious news report from Huntsville, Ala., about an attempted rape contained one of the funniest interviews I’d ever seen. Antoine Dodson, who came to his sister’s defense, has become an instant Internet sensation because in this age of fake reality TV, he puts the real in reality.

I sat agape during the two-minute story as Dodson took over the screen. What did he just say?! What did he just do?! What on earth is he wearing?! It was the same reaction my friends and I had when we saw “Showgirls” (the best worst movie ever made!) for the first time. But I digress. Dodson's cringe-inducing performance was something I -- and whole bunch of other folks -- thought only existed in the comedic minds of Eddie Murphy and Tyler Perry.

Some viewers called into WAFF-TV to complain that “interviews with people like Antoine reflects poorly on the community.” Another person who received Chad’s email replied with that classic African American phrase of exasperation, “My people. My people.” And I’ll admit to thinking “Lawd, have mercy” while watching the story, especially after he said, “Y’all need to hide your kids, hide your wife and hide your husbands 'cause they rapin' errybody out here.”

But other than a few memorable lines expressed in colorful ways, we must put aside our judgments and remember that we don’t know Dodson, his family or their story. Like millions of families across this country, the Dodsons appear to be proud people who are making their way the best they can. They crave security and comfort. And no matter where you live, when that sense of safety is shattered, you lash out. Fo’ real.

By Jonathan Capehart  | August 3, 2010; 10:24 AM ET
Categories:  Capehart  | Tags:  Jonathan Capehart  
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Jonathan, I think you should check out the remix!

And so a new internet meme is born!

Posted by: NiceTryMisterBond | August 3, 2010 11:22 AM | Report abuse

i think he is great, since when having a personality's a crime? he was awesome in a Lafayette(True blood) kinda a way - which is a a rarity.. Now so many remixes (the original and best) and and so many others...

anything that has that effect is worth appreciating..

Posted by: dodsonsson | August 3, 2010 1:08 PM | Report abuse, if you thought this type of personality and grammer only existed in comedy, perhaps you need to take a trip to some of those DC neighborhoods that warehouse the poor and have the most crime. You know...some of those places in SE or NE.

It was funny in a painful way for me since I know that for far too many people this is the reality. I give him props for being there to take care of his sister and putting the community on notice. Only by getting everyone involved will this sort of violence begin to decline.

Posted by: | August 3, 2010 2:25 PM | Report abuse

I can't help but think that if he wasn't poor and black, that young man would be going places.

Posted by: marshallrule | August 3, 2010 2:31 PM | Report abuse

I laughed until I cried at the original and the Autotuned remix but then i thought about something that's missing in the coverage.
Is rape a common problem in this particular housing complex that has been ignored by the local media until they have a good sound byte? Is rape a bigger problem in the projects and what is being done about it? A bigger and better story could come out of this tragic comedy.

Posted by: chrissym83 | August 3, 2010 3:00 PM | Report abuse

"...snatching your people up, tryin' to rape 'em, so ya'll need to hide your kids, hide your wife, and hide your husbands 'cuz they're raping everybody out here".

Freakin' awesome! Antoine, you are the man! And, yes, the remix is an absolute top 5 radio worthy hit. I've listened to it 30 times and the song is still great! Just another reason to love the interwebs.

Posted by: cartmaneric | August 3, 2010 4:00 PM | Report abuse

I agree that the outrage at this assault is more on message than the way it was conveyed. Someone breaking into your home while you're there sleeping is terrifying.

Posted by: Raiche58 | August 3, 2010 4:30 PM | Report abuse

What really happened here is the usual editing hack job was not performed here for the news broadcast. Antoine's outrage at the events is quite apparent. He is mad as hell and he's not going to take it any more. I love how he looks right into the camera to give the perpetrator a piece of his mind. So Antoine's anything but shy. What's wrong with that? The Autotuned version is actually quite wondrous to behold and doesn't take away one bit of the gravity of the attempted rape. I hope he realizes that a great many of us are right there behind him all the way. He IS a hero. Viva Antoine!

Posted by: LHenn516 | August 3, 2010 9:44 PM | Report abuse

Ha ha ha, yuk it up. An attempted rape -- well, that's not the story here, laughing at the guy who helped his sister against a rapist is.

Great show, Mr. Capehart.

Or not.

Maybe you should try living in that neighborhood for a week or two, and to get by on the incomes of an Antoine Dodson or his sister? Of course, that just might hamper your own sartorial splendor a little.

Posted by: sembtex | August 4, 2010 4:45 AM | Report abuse

I don't think this at all reflects on black people poorly. Antoine has become an internet celebrity due to his over the top-ness. He is a "real" character as you said, from the ghetto. You don't get too much of that on the internet. You only really get glimpses.
This is one of those glimpses, and this guy is a character, and he is very angry, and is speaking his mind.
It's awesome. It's comical. It's refreshing. And the remix is so ridiculously catchy.
I only see people looking to Antoine as being awesome, not embarassing. I hope he is not embarassed. He was just angry and he spoke his mind.

Posted by: killertofuuu | August 4, 2010 9:49 AM | Report abuse

You better believe "Antoine Dodson is for real, y'all". If more people were as real as Antoine this would be a better world for all of us: My hat's off to Antoine!

Posted by: mryfrtsn | August 4, 2010 10:30 AM | Report abuse

I agree - this does NOT reflect poorly on the black community, Antoine is just being honest and direct. I felt the genuine anger and frustration he shared with us - someone tried to hurt his sister! Who wouldn't want a brother or friend like Antoine.

I hope this leads to something great for him!

Posted by: AutumnBanter | August 4, 2010 2:07 PM | Report abuse

The auto-tune remix is surprisingly catchy.

As far as the racial angle goes, the kind of people who are going to see that as a confirmation of a stereotype -- and not the reaction of one man -- aren't likely to change their attitudes anyways.

I could definitely see some reality TV show though, trying to sign Antoine Dodson to a contract. He's got camera presence and based on the short clip he doesn't seem to hold much back.

Of course, it should go without saying, but hopefully the authorities nail the perpetrator of the break-in and attempted rape too. If the clip increases that likelihood, and reduces the risk to others, it's served its purpose and Dodson will have done a public service.

Posted by: JPRS | August 4, 2010 5:04 PM | Report abuse

This story is a story because of the message more than the medium. Yes, his language and mannerisms can be seen as entertaining. But there are many more entertaining clips to watch than this one. This man has a message that transcends all lines, classes, nationalities, gender and race, it's about putting and end to rape. Refusing to hide and play the game of keeping quiet.

Rape doesn't get talked about. Black, white, rich, poor, people don't talk about it and they don't make it personal. Usually they're women or girls. Usually they turn inward and hide. It's the crime victims blame themselves for too often, even still. And often the damage after the crime by those around the victim is the determining factor in how well those victims recover.

This time the tables turned. This is a real encounter with a victim and her brother, both with the balls to look directly at their attacker and promise justice.

It's not a policy statement for what it means to be African-American in Alabama in 2010, or to live in a certain neighborhood or be from a certain sexual orientation or family configuration. It doesn't represent anything more than a victim who refuses to hide and demands that their community do the right thing.

Posted by: mizelle | August 4, 2010 10:49 PM | Report abuse

To be the number one downloaded video on YouTube, it is clear that this video is being viewed, interpreted, and reinterpreted now by persons outside of the Black experience. This can be dangerous ground because while many of us may be able to laugh at this video, we can still commiserate with Dodson and his sister’s experience. Because race remains such shaky ground in this nation, it often feels that in these kinds of situation the outsider is not laughing with us but as us. Leading me to wonder to what extent a video like this confirms widely held stereotypes about the entirety of Black identity, and furthermore affirms the exceptionalism that many outside our race assign to President Obama and other articulate, intelligent, and successful Black people.

Posted by: desprice | August 4, 2010 11:53 PM | Report abuse

Just because a person is poor and "black" does not mean that they're not going places everybody wasn't hand fed with a silver spoon as they were growing up...Everyone has a choice in life to do whatever they choose and if you choose to do nothing that's you...I don't think we should judge in anyway...I love this brotha, he is as real as it gets!!! Just because someone doesn't talk, dress and live the way "WE" think they should doesn't give anyone the right to say they are beneath them, I've always said, nomatter how high up the ladder you choose to go don't treat anyone like they are beneath you, treat them like they are right there beside you and guess what, you will always feel good about yourself...

Posted by: plom | August 5, 2010 8:17 PM | Report abuse

Antoine IS awesome. Keep in mind, he is a very young man, so a certain amount of verbal flamboyance is understandable. Think of how overwrought anyone would be in those circumstances. Check back in five years; Antoine might be working for Huntsville law enforcement. Antoine; you did pay that jaywalking ticket, right?

Posted by: English_as_she_is_spoke | August 6, 2010 2:53 PM | Report abuse

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