Viral Video Tells Newsweek ‘Bye Bye’

Grand Rapids residents show the life in their city

Grand Rapids, Mich., successfully told the media to shove it. Residents took to the streets in response to a list naming Grand Rapids one of America’s dying cities. Their single-shot elaborate lip-sync extravaganza of Don McLean’s "American Pie" is quickly going viral. More than 770,000 people have viewed the video in the past three days.

In response to the Newsweek article, organizers said, "We disagreed strongly and wanted to create a video that encompasses the passion and energy we all feel is growing exponentially in this great city."

The strong response from Grand Rapids makes sense. The city, of around 190,000 residents, is very much alive. But why have the video's views proliferated? All Things Digital surmises a perfect storm among the impressive feat of organizing that many people, a well-timed release before the holiday weekend, and a great David and Goliath-type back story.

Organizers of the production say the video involved 5,000 Grand Rapids residents, and for all intents and purposes shut down the city during filming. The production cost $40,000 and was financed through local sponsors.