Sometimes TikTok trends are impossible to predict, like when a 22-year-old rap from a documentary series by a British journalist became the novelty song of the summer. Other times, it’s easy to tell something will go viral from the moment you lay eyes on it. Case in point: Horace, the dancing, bald figure that has recently taken over the platform thanks to a popular new filter.
In most of the videos, Horace is dancing around perfectly in time to Drake’s “Feel No Ways,” wearing orange pajamas with cerulean trim. Sometimes, his bizarre appearance is something of the punchline, with creators using him as a stand-in for all the weird guys you meet out, like the old guy who buys you drinks at the bar then continues to demand your attention. Much of the time, however, Horace is just in the videos, vibing. His moves have captured the hearts and minds of a nation: the #Horace hashtag has more than 155 million views.
Horace is more than just a great-looking guy and a good dancer, however. He is also a symbol of the anti-censorship movement, according to his creator, 23-year-old artist Jackson Quinn Gray, who told Insider he modeled Horace more than two years ago after an elderly man who posed for one of his sculpting classes. Though a naked version of the character was originally rolled out on Facebook and Instagram to moderate success, it was later removed, with Gray receiving an email saying Horace violated its guidelines against “content of an adult or sexual nature.” Gray then recreated the character with his iconic pajamas, telling Insider he wanted to revive the character “in a way that was not just acquiescing to the censorship culture of social media. Instead, it would feel like Horace is really taking a stand, and his life can’t be cut short.”
Jackson now sees Horace as a totem fighting against social-media censorship. But at Don’t Let This Flop, Rolling Stone‘s podcast about internet culture, cohosts Brittany Spanos and Ej Dickson see him as Himbo of the Week, a designation they award to hot, lovable idiots on the internet. Also discussed on this week’s episode are OnlyFans creators Carley and Mercedes, a lesbian couple who may or may not be half-sisters; the Gentle Minions trend, and men we actually don’t want to see standing up for abortion rights.
DLTF is released Wednesdays on all audio streaming platforms, including Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Amazon Music, Stitcher and more.
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