Man Behind 'What Are Those?' Meme Dies, 31, Hours After His Last Social Media Joke
Young Busco, the Internet comedian behind the “What are those?” meme, died on Sunday. He was 31.
Busco’s mother, Valerie Cooper, confirmed the tragic news on Facebook yesterday, writing in a post, “My only child…. My faith will not falter!!!! Lord be my peace.”
In a separate post, Cooper shared her devastation for the loss of her only son, whose real name was Brandon Moore. “I cant believe that the earth is still moving when I feel as though my world has stopped…..Lord be my peace…..” she wrote alongside a photo of the pair together.
A cause of death is unknown at this time.
The Berkeley, California native broke onto the scene in 2015 when he jokingly mocked a police officer’s shoes. As the cop was mid-arrest, Busco recorded himself asking “What are those?” in reference to his chunky boots.
The clip, originally shared on Vine, went viral and has been shared on several social media platforms since.
In August 2015, NBA legend Michael Jordan fell victim to the meme at his Flight School summer camp. During a question-and-answer session, a kid interrupted the basketball star and asked him the popular catchphrase. The line was even incorporated into Marvel’s 2018 film Black Panther.
In a profile with the Huffington Post, Busco explained that he was simply recording his friend Myesha get arrested after a public intoxication incident. Despite the instant fame he received from the short clip, Busco said he wished he had handled the situation differently.
“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 admitted to the publication in March. “…I would’ve put my watermark on the video. I would’ve put my face on the video when I did it. I would’ve copyrighted it. I would’ve done a whole lot of s— different.”
Added Busco: “I didn’t expect for it to do all of that. I didn’t know it was gonna do all that. So I didn’t know. It took off right underneath my feet.”
Months after his meme took off, Busco found himself in jail, arrested on a probation violation and a narcotics charge, according to Vice.
The father-of-nine later told Complex that he was forced to clean up his act to become more present in his children’s lives.
“My drug problem made it impossible for me to be an active father in my kids’ life,” he told the outlet. “I struggled for years. My grandma died last year, and that’s when I realized that I needed to make a change. I stopped using drugs and became active with my kids.”
A candlelight vigil has been scheduled for Busco, set to be held on Friday at 5:30 p.m. in his hometown of Berkeley, according to a family member.
Many fans have already paid tribute to the social media star, remembering him for the laughter he provided and the lives he touched.
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Just hours before his death, Busco had done the thing he was best known for: making others laugh on social media.
His last Instagram post, joking about a pair of sneakers, was shared on Sunday. That last post summed up Busco’s ultimate goal in life: to make a difference with comedy.
“Now I’m here, spreading happiness and joy by making everyone laugh,” he told Complex in 2015. “I get messages everyday from total strangers telling me how much I mean to them and how I get them through their day. They keep me going and help me realize what it is I’m here for: And that’s to change the world with laughter.”