Charles Ramsey’s account of his rescue of Amanda Berry, believed to have been held captive along with two other young women in a Cleveland home for a decade, already had gotten attention on the Web.
Now, Ramsey is being celebrated for his way with words the way only the Internet can do it: with a meme.
The hero's name has become a trending topic on Twitter, and his interviews have been catching notice on social media sites.
His overnight celebrity was cemented with quotes such as: “I barbecue with this dude. We eat ribs and whatnot and listen to salsa music.”
And: ”Bro, I knew something was wrong when a little pretty white girl ran into a black man’s arms. Something is wrong here. Dead giveaway. Dead giveaway.”
He also name-checks McDonald’s, saying he was just finishing his fast-food meal when he heard screams. Even the restaurant chain wants to reach out to the Web star.
Now his story, as told in a must-watch interview with reporters, has become a meme, capturing both Ramsey’s heroism and humor—with a little music mixed in. Above, check out the songified version by the Gregory Brothers.
But not everyone is happy about Ramsey getting the autotune treatment.
"Perhaps it's time for the world's meme artists to stop assuming that any black dude getting interviewed on local news about a crime he helped to foil can be reduced to some catch phrase or in-joke" Miles Klee writes on BlackBook.
"It's just baffling that we're trying to find a way to laugh about what is, in itself, a harrowing turn of events," he adds.
The Atlantic Wire also took issue with the Internet’s treatment of Ramsey, arguing that the neighbor became a Web sensation because “he's black and poor,” and ignores the horrible nature of the crimes committed against the women.
Amy Davidson of the New Yorker thinks otherwise.
She writes that he is “one of those instantly compelling figures who, in the middle of an American tragedy, just start talking—and then we can’t stop listening.”