Thursday, March 14, 2013

Funky Y2C (African American Vernacular English In YouTube Comment Thread)

Edited by Azizi Powell

This post is Part I in a three part series of posts on the "Funky Y2C" (Hey Little Mama) record. This post presents selected comments from this video's viewer comment thread and, as such, is part of an ongoing pancocojams series that documents the use of African American Vernacular English in certain YouTube comment threads.

UPDATE: March 29, 2015 - The account for the video/discussion thread that was used for this post has been withdrawn. Consequently, I posted another video of the "Hey little Mama" and retained the selected comments that are found in this post.

Click for Part II of this series.

Part II provides my transcription of the lyrics for the song "Funky Y2C".

Click for Part III of this series.

Part III provides my interpretation of certain lines from the song "Funky Y2C".

The content of this post is presented for historical, folkloric, and cultural purposes.

All copyrights remain with their owners.

FEATURED VIDEO: dj nadinho funk the puppies hey lil mama funky y2c

nadinho vieiraPublished on Feb 5, 2013

While some of the comments that are presented below feature the use of African American Vernacular English grammar, many more of these comments feature African American slang, and/or alternative spelling that I believe are closely associated with and/or closely influenced by Hip-Hop culture.

It's my theory that this contemporary form of African American Vernacular English that I've described above is used on purpose. This conscious code switching from Standard American English African American Vernacular English is in contrast to the belief that people use African American English grammar and alternative spellings that are part of African American English because those people don't know the standard American English spelling or the Standard English words.

I believe that the primary reason for using the type of African American English that is found in most of these comments is to signal to other commenters or readers that you are "hip" (with the word "hip" here meaning "up to date" with the latest Black street culture).*

Another reason for commenters knowingly using the type of African American Vernacular English that is found in this YouTube comment thread, and in other YouTube comment threads, is that the person writing the comment wants to signal to other readers & other commenters that she or he is Black. However, that reason may not be as pertinent now because an increasing number of YouTube commenters have added a photograph of themselves as an icon which is posted in front of their comment. Therefore, presumably, a commenter's photograph could be used to determine his or her race. Admittedly, every person belonging to a particular race doesn't fit the physical images that that society has for members of that race. Also, I believe that people can belong to more than one race. That said, I still believe that it's still easier for people to identify a commenter as Black or as White now that YouTube commenter photographs are being used than it was before that time.

*I'm not a linguist, but I would categorize the majority of the comments that I have selected from this viewer comment as being representative of what I call "contemporary" (or "Hip Hop") African American English. There is also one comment below that includes an example of what I call 20th century Southern African American English (such as "I'm not finna") which I believe is the same as "not fixing to" (not getting ready to).

Click for more of my comments about what I call "putting on the Black", the purposeful use of African American English in YouTube comment threads.

As mentioned above, I'm not a linguist, nor did I play one on tv (inside American joke).

This post is not meant to be a comprehensive listing of all the comments in this viewer comment thread that use African American vernacular English.

I want to be clear that don’t mean to imply that African American people are the only people using these terms. As is the case a part from the Internet, non-African American people-including non-Black people, also use African American vernacular. Given that fact, some of the commenters who are quoted in this post may be non-Black. Furthermore, some of the vernacular words & phrases that are used in these comments may not be of African American origin.

Also, although this video’s comment thread is full of comments on this issue, I’m not taking any position on whether this type of dancing was appropriate for children then or is appropriate for children now.

These comments are from [Inactive link for a withdrawn YouTube account]

The commenter's name is given first and is followed by the comment that he or she wrote. I‘ve also included what I believe is the Standard American English equivalent/s below the comment. I also included some additional information after a few examples.

WARNING: Many comments in this viewer comment thread are NSFWOCV (Not suitable for work or children's vieweing) because of profanity, racist, explicit sexual references, etc.

I loved dis song when it came out, Lord I pray my Daughter never finds out bout dis song PLEASE LORD Dont let my Daughter dance funky like dis.
"dis" = "this"

In the context of this sentence "dance funky" means "to dance in a sexually provocative way." But I don't think that's what the word "funky" in that title means. I think that "funky" in song title means that this song is spicy, exciting and not straightlaced or bland.

The "Y2C" in that title is a nod to the 1962 R&B song "Watusi" by the Orlons. In both those songs "Watusi" (Y2C) refers to the Watutsi (Tutsi) people of Central Africa. However, neither the song nor the dance movements have anything to do with the Tutsi ethnic group. I believe that that record title reflected the renewed interest in and appreciation of African culture that African Americans felt in the during the 1960s, in large part because at that time so many African nations were achieving their independence from European colonization.

"Funky Watusi" means that that old school song has been re-made with a funkier tempo.

When the crowd of children say that the girl [Little mama/Tamara] is so "funky and hot", both of those words are compliments that mean that they really like the way she looks - both her physical appearance and her style of dressing.

I'm almost 25 and if my mamma saw me dancing like this today she would still whoop my butt!!!lol
"whoop my butt" means "to give me a spanking on my backside".
oooh u so hot...GUUUUUUUUUuuurl u need to stop"....CLASSIC! lol
In this sentence "hot" here = "very physically appealing".
Hilarious. This song and vid still cracks me up. The 90's was a colorful era. I remember having similar jumpsuits and outfits like the ones in this vid. LOL
"cracks me up" = "makes me laugh"
Jasmine Carter
hahaha omg im 20 now and I remember me and my brother used to absoultly JAM to this song.. couldn't tell us nothing
"Jam to this song = "dance to this song"
This is whats wrong with our youth smh
"smh" (or SMH) = "shake my head", a body gesture by shaking the head back & forth which signals that the person making the gesture is disdainful, annoyed, aggravated, disappointed, and/or disapproves of something said or done, or of some person or persons. Sometimes the actual action isn't done. Instead, the person writing this may just want to register his or her feelings about the matter or about the person. Particularly in the Caribbean, smh can be combined with the sound & motion of "suck teeth" (kiss teeth).
remember back then when we use to b on d blk dancin like that n ya mama would catch u dancin like that n she'll drag u by ya shirt and say "get ya lil ass up stairs u think u grown..." lol d good old days
I think that "b on d" means "to be on down"
"n" means "and'
"d good old days" means "the good old days"
man i love dis video and song so for all da haters yall need to back back y y
"da" = "the"
"haters" - people who "hate on" (dislike, insult, think negatively about and/or try to impede the actions of) someone or a group of people because of jealously or for no discernable reason

"y y" - I'm unsure what this means
lol, even though this song is so remember this song and i loved it..right now i am just laughing...i am not finna look deeper into this song which some people are trying to make it, when all on the television that got shows of young people getting pregnant and being fast and they win awards so whatever, enjoy the darn video and laugh a lil.
"finna" = "fixing to" which means "getting ready to" do something:
OMG this was my jam lol this brings back memories
"this is my jam" = this is my favorite song. A Caribbean way of saying the same thing is "Tune!" (or "Chune!").
nowadayz people would trip on this cuz thats the first thing that comes to people sick mind but when you grew up to this it was all fun and this came out along time ago. its just a dance but better than having miley cyrus as a teen idol dont ya think
“trip on this” – would get upset about this. Another way of saying this is that "people would get on a set about this" [on a set=upset], or people "would get all bent out of shape about this."

Also, notice the lack of capitol letter in this example and the fact that punctuation is hardly used. And notice that "z" are used in place of the “s”. All of these are commonly found in Internet writing and in text messaging. These writing styles may be done to because speed is more important on the internet & in texting than grammatical rules. They may also be done because such styles of writing signal that you are "hip".
U r so rite.. i was out durr doin all of dat.. LOL! aint nothin like dat ole skool music.
“You are so right. I was out doors doing all of that. Laugh out loud! [There’s] nothing like that music from long ago.
Also notice this commenter’s user name: “otha” = “other”.

Additional comments about how African Americans use “little mama” as a referent for girls as young as toddlers can be found in Part II of this Y2c series.
This was my joint back in the day. LOL
“joint”= same as “jam” – favorite song
The Caribbean terms “tune”, “chune” have the same meaning.
lol i feel you. good old days
[“I feel you” – I agree with you. Technically means I feel just how you feel]
I still love this song. i dont care how old i am. this was it back in the day. (80's baby)
"this was it" = this was the most popular song or the song that everyone danced to

"back in the day" means the same thing as "way back then" or "in the olden days".
i still have this on tape single....they are killin it lol
[“killin it” = dancing really good]; “breakin it down” - taking something down to its very essence, would result in that thing dying, this may be where the phrase “killin it came from.
Kaitlyn johnson
ahahah why.. i fell you but i dont..theres a time and place for at a play ground unexceptable depending on the situation ...feel home by nherself in her room or gettin crunk wit mom its cool as loing der aint no lil boy behind her we all cool
"feel me" - agree with me (technically "feel the same way I'm feeling"

In the context of this comment, I think that "getting crunk" means "partying" & dancing wildly

My translation of this comment to Standard American English:
[Laughter]. Why? I agree with some of what you wrote but not all of it. There’s a time and a place for everything. A playground is an unacceptable place to be dancing like that. Hear what I’m saying. At home by herself in her room, or partying and dancing with her moon, that type of dancing would be alright as long as there’s not any boy behind her, everything’s fine.
Another way of saying “we all cool” is in the context of this sentence is “It’s all good”.
OMG I have this on my IPOD it is my JAMMMMMMMMM!!! OOhhh I'm so funky and hot...I used to kill this!! LOL
"kill this" – dance really well to this record
The name ‘shortaye” may be a form of the word “shorty”. "Shorty" is an affectionate African American general referent for children.

Yo this is just what is was back then. Miami was booty shake central....i mean this was the same era of Luke. And the kids were going to do it anyway so why not make something they could really dance to instead of letting them listen to 2 live Crew. the song is fun....booty shakin is a type of dance please know everybody cant do it.
In the context of this sentence “Yo” means “Hey” and/or “Listen up”.

“booty shake central" = the main location in the nation where Black people were known for doing butt shaking dances. That was in contrast to other parts of the United States, for instance, Chicago where Black people were [are still] known for dances which emphasize fast foot work dance.

"Luke" refers to Luke Campbell, the manager & lead vocalist in the Hip-Hop group, 2 Live Crew ("too live [rhymes with hive] crew" is African American Vernacular English for "a group of people who are hyped {full of energy}". 2 Live Crew was known for records with very sexually explicit themes. Several commenters wrote that Luke Campbell is the uncle of the duo that made up the Puppies (Calvin "Big Boy" Mills & Tamara "Dee" Mills).
Luke Bosco
Am i the only that thinks this is dope? lol the beat is fire and the flow is hype. theyre just shakin their lil behinds. they're not wearing thongs or anything. chill out everyone. this is fun.
In the context of this sentence, "dope" = really very good

In the context of this sentence "hype" = exciting, very good

"Chill out" = "relax"
lol so old skool
so old skool = so old school means "this was a hit song a while ago. ("old school" is usually a compliment.)

luv dis song
"luv" is a Hip Hop spelling for "love"
girl this song is so ghetto
"girl" is a general referent for females.

"So ghetto" means so lower class.
Memba thiz joint....oldy but a gudy
My translation of this comment into Standard American English:
[I] remember this song... [It's an] oldy but a goody (it's a classic.)

Notice the various types of user names that are found in this post. Such made up user names are less often found on YouTube since June 2012 because of the strong suggestion YouTube administrators have made to commenters and uploaders to switch to their first & last names. Posts about YouTube user names can be found on this pancocojams blog and on my website.

Thanks to the Puppies for this old school jam. Thanks also to the commenters for their comments. Thanks also to the uploader of this video.

Thank you for visiting pancocojams.

Visitors comments are welcome.


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