Barack and Michelle Obama Cameo In "Whoomp There It Is" Video Demonstrates Power of Viral Rumors

By Megan O'Neill Comment

Hip Hop ObamaIt looks like Hip Hop Obama may be the latest Internet craze, as rumors fly about the President’s alleged appearance in Tag Team’s 1993 music video for ‘Whoomp There It Is.’ We take a look at how the rumor got so big even though it was was first revealed over two months ago, and also for a bit of fun, we called Tag Team’s record label to get the inside scoop on whether it’s real.

Everyone is talking about it, from political bloggers to Gawker, but is that really Obama? Check it out below. Thousands of viewers are claiming that the President makes his appearance at 1:01 and that you can catch a glimpse of the First Lady at 0:47. It’s true, it does look like Michelle and Barack Obama, but nobody has been able to confirm at this time.

I contacted Mark Watson, President of Bellmark/DM Records, who provided the following comment via email:

“I cannot confirm that President Obama is an extra in the above referenced music video. I can confirm that after reviewing the master video, the video on YouTube has not been edited. The same person appears in the original 1993 music video.”

When a screenshot from the video is compared to a current picture of the President there is definitely a striking resemblance:

Obama Tag Team

But what about claims that in 1993 Obama was busy in Chicago in his role as a community activist? When would he have had the time to be an extra in a hip-hop video? YouTube has been filling up with comments all day from people who think this is Obama as well as people who are certain it isn’t. What do you think? Is the young man in the video, blinged-out and holding a Saved By The Bell-sized telephone the President of the United States?

Whether it really is Obama in the video or not is irrelevant in the end. What’s important is the lesson about the sheer power of social media that this rumor illustrates. A single person looking to reminisce by watching an old Tag Team video sees an extra that looks like Obama, tell their friends or posts about it and before you know it the entire the social web is abuzz with people asking if Obama was really in a Tag Team video in 1993. People are Tweeting about it; it’s making its rounds in the blogosphere and has even been covered on CNN.

However, interestingly enough it appears that a Digg user submitted a link of the video months ago, in December of 2009. With only two Diggs it didn’t catch on until Gawker posted about it today. I guess that just goes to show that it’s much easier to get content to go viral when you have an influential blog like Gawker behind you.

It will be interesting to see the effect that this rumor will have on DM Records and Tag Team. Will iTunes sales of ‘Whoomp There It Is?’ shoot through the roof? What will the effect of this viral frenzy brought about by this rumor be? Only time will tell.