I have been lately contemplating the utter disingenuousness of a certain genre of “viral video.” If you have had the unhealthy experience of spending any significant amount of time on social media, you’ll know exactly which one I mean. It’s the category of manufactured feel-good clips I will heretofore refer to as the “Different Drummer.”
Love the free spirit of this 6th grader Trevor Bolling at his Dothan Highlands graduation ceremony! 👏 His teacher Tara Singley(video credit), tells me “he’s an amazing kid. Everything he says and does is theatrical.” You do you Trevor! pic.twitter.com/JSKftrqWXP
— Mike Dubberly GDA (@MikeDubberlyGDA) June 8, 2021
The newest entry into the market of internet-manufactured sensations involves a charming 12-year-old boy named Trevor Bolling from the town of Dothan, Alabama. Trevor’s sixth-grade teacher posted his spontaneous outbreak of joy during the Highlands Elementary School graduation ceremony on Facebook. While the other cement-footed kids mouthed the words obligatorily to “I’m Good” by The Mowgli’s and cringed in the spotlight, Trevor sang it like he meant it. He gesticulated. He waved his hands here to there. He waved ’em like he just didn’t care.
And he belted out with unabashed feeling:
“I’m good; I’m good; I’m good; I’m good / Livin’ life just like I should / Wouldn’t change it if I could /
I’m good; I’m good; I’m good / Tryin’ to figure out who I am / Or who I’m supposed to be / Feel good about where I stand / So I can make the most of me /
… It’s been a long time livin’ this way / Worrying what people say / Feelin’ like I don’t fit in / But I won’t give up; no, I won’t give in / We’re looking for something more / What you’re really looking for / Has been with you since you were born.”
The Facebook video now has more than 4.1 million views, 82,000 likes and 16,000 comments in celebration of Trevor’s carefree performance. His teacher pushed out the hashtag “#BeLikeTrevor” and praised the middle schooler’s independence. All hail the Different Drummer, marching to his own beat:
“It didn’t matter if everyone else thought it was cool or funny,” Trevor’s teacher told the local Dothan Eagle newspaper. “He simply wanted to be himself, and that’s what we want for our students, to be themselves. They don’t have to be what they see on TikTok or other social media platforms.”
A parade of Different Drummers came before Trevor. There’s 6-year-old Loren Patterson from Dickson County, Tennessee, who stomped her feet and let the spirit take over at First Baptist while singing with her Sunday school classmates to Zach Williams’ “Old Church Choir.” Her video clip quickly racked up more than 40 million views in 2017.
6 year-old Loren Patterson is moved by the music pic.twitter.com/adwY2NaC6A
— Tom Pohs (@tpohs) November 8, 2017
Then there’s 5-year-old Lily from Ohio whose grandma taped her breaking free from the rest of her robotic, mortified preschool peers while unleashing her best dance moves to kids’ classic “Tooty Ta.” The clip topped 12 million views in 2019.
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