Its Just a Prank!
Youtube is a growing platform that results in various types of videos being shared. The range is from musical covers to people video blogging about their lives. A key motivation for most of these videos are from the amount of views and likes they get. To become a video with a big amount of hits, people often create new and interesting topics to ways record. However, there is a handful of people who are willing to push the boundaries between interesting and dangerous. A prime example of this is 20 year old Dennis Cee, “CEO” of DennisCeeTv. He is known for making prank videos. However, one of the many that go too far are the ones entitled “Pranks in the Hood.” For instances, there is a video titled, “Stepping On Jordans In The Hood Prank!” Obviously, an invasion of someone’s personal boundaries is going to bring nothing but trouble, but Cee still proceeds with the prank. The very basics of the prank is to step on someone shoes, but obviously the prank backfires and the person pranked becomes upset. Cee and his friend step on the shoes, but the moment the victim becomes aggressive, they cry out it is just a prank or a joke. A curious question to ask is why do the victims care so much about their shoes being stepped on? Where Cee decides to film is the less extravagant part of New York, understandably buying a nice pair a shoes (note Jordans can be around $150 and as a broke college student I would treat them as my children) is very much like a luxury. Think about the high crime rates, and how nice shoes are stolen. To the black community Jordans are more than just shoes, there are a symbol. They are a physical representation of what it is to be the man or cool. Still if you don't understand or you don't value your shoes, imagine a person slapping your phone out of your hand for the sake of a prank video. Is it really that funny? Of course not, and Cee takes this fact and tries to make it funny. In order to get attention, Cee makes videos taking advantage of others in order to get a popular response. The worst part is that it works. This video has received over 4.5 million views. Also, regardless of whether a person likes the video or not, if they watch it, Cee gets the attention he wants. If he were to go to the rich side of New York, the reactions would be different. Also notice that Cee isn't just picking people who live in the "hood," but he is picking on black people. So does this mean Cee is picking on low-income communities, or just where there is a lot of young Black men around? If so then he is obviously looking for a certain type of reaction. Even when asking if he can step on their shoes there is a tone of superiority. It is like I know I am joking, but you don't, so you look stupid ahah Then changes into a whiny baby when the clueless victim is on defense. He is taking things that matter to this community and mocking it. He goes as far as to justify his means the moment he gets attacked. Mr. Cee, if you going to go as far and invade someone's personal space, you might as well embrace the consequences. He also made another video called "Selling Water Guns In The Hood Prank!!".
When looking at the comments of these videos majority of people watching are probably not from the "hood.” They can't even understand why people would get so mad as to why someone is offering them a gun. To understand why this pushes the boundaries of a prank video, you need to understand that if some random person comes up to you asking if you want a gun in this community, you would be very suspicious. The black men sound threatened in the video, and even the ending where a young man pulls out a gun. To them this could be both a trap or a threat. It is important to note that both the viewer and the prankers understand the position of the person asking if someone wants to buy a gun. However, the ones who get pranked don't get this. They use various slang for guns, and in no way alluding to it being a joke. How can anyone see it as a joke if the pranker is in no way suggesting that he doesn't actually have guns? Just like with the Jordans, these groups of boys are only trying to receive a certain type of reaction. There is an understanding that violence gets attention. You look at Bloody Knuckles, a very great fighter, who gets paid to fight people. This could answer why fight videos and Cee's pranks get so much attention. There is a glorification of violence, or an interest at the most. Aside from the prank being a really stupid idea, Cee seems to be having a preconceived notion on what it means to live in the “hood.” When you Cee and many others attempt these kinds of pranks, they have a privileged world sense of what the “hood” actually is. They probably watched Boys in the Hood or listen to NWA and thought they understood that life. Or maybe even, just because they are not white they can take joke about other races. Constantly making black people the victim of his jokes are revealing something about Cee. He really does not understand the situations he puts himself in. They may seem to be funny to him, but this is very serious to the victims. In one section of the video there is one man who asked the pranker if he had a wire on. Cee tries to create a script where selling “guns” (hardly alludes to the fact that they aren't even real) as a prank is funny. Of course, when trying to joke about something serious to this community, there is a serious backlash that often results in the prankers getting beat up. Although DennisCeeTv has strayed away from “Pranks in the Hood,” the videos are still up, and they still garner a lot of attention. In the long run, these videos are made to attract attention, being very stupid, I doubt they were made to create a dialogue among the viewers. These videos are clearly made for attention and popularity. Luckily DenniesCeeTv found a different way of gaining attention without making a group of people looking like angry and wild idiots.