It's like someone set the Zapruder film to a Miami bass beat: Speculation over Obama's "cameo" in the music video for Tag Team's 1993 single "Whoomp (There It Is)" has taken the Internet by storm. It's even on Wikipedia!
A man who looks strikingly like Obama appears at 1:01 in the music video below. This past weekend we examined the evidence for and against an Obama cameo and reached the conclusion that, no, Obama did not take time out in 1993 from his career as a community organizer in Chicago to film a 2-second cameo with an Atlanta rap duo.
But this is the Internet, where conspiracies die harder than Bruce Willis in a series of 1990s action films. Over 200,000 people have read our original post; thousands of other outlets picked it up. CNN actually asked the White House for a comment. They "did not immediately respond." A suspicious silence! And Obama's potential cameo is now in the Wikipedia entry for "Whoomp (There it is)" which means it is a true fact for all of eternity. Pandora's box has been opened, and the Whoomper Conspiracy will probably never die: Says commenter patlippert "I won't believe it's not him until he shows us his resume, which if he did and it proved me wrong, I'll claim it was faked."
Even after we debunked it, readers flexed their paranoid muscles. Many agreed that it wasn't Obama, but then spun that into a premise for an entirely new conspiracy theory! Heywhat thinks this was all a publicity ploy by the real extra. Tamara C said in an email that screencap above "looks digitally altered to look more like Obama... Is that possible? And if so, why?" WHOOMP: There is how you turn a conspiracy theory about Obama into one about people who hate Obama. Some thought the entire thing was a conspiracy of racists. Wrote Bearsvillemusic: "So, this is essentially an article saying that all black people like the same. Brilliant."
Others still believe. (We'll call them "Whoompers," per OrneryBabe's suggestions) We argued that a high-quality version of the video showed the man didn't really look like Obama at all. But ShruitBorus accused us of masterminding a coverup: "Funny how one of your affiliated sites had a post about how internet video degrades over repeated use. Just setting the stage for your debunking of this video?" And CID_VICIOUS eviscerated our assumption that a cash-strapped, 31 year-old Obama wouldn't have taken time out of his schedule for the shoot… and a quick payday: "That video was almost certainly shot in one day - I've been in a few dozen. So Barack could have gotten a call from a friend, 'hey, you want to make a hundred bucks and be on a music video?'"
While the most enthusiastic Whoomper, Ismith, offered biblical proof of Obama's role in the video:
Revelations 3:45: "And the anti-Christ will appear in a music video reaching the masses. It shall tell the masses to shake their derrieres. And thus will begin Armageddon"
Clearly, there is only one way to definitively debunk Obama's cameo: Find the real domino-playing extra. The director of the video is one VJ Beedles. His Google footprint is tiny (suspicious!) but he was apparently once the assistant scoutmaster of Boy Scout Troop 2020 in Atlanta. We'll reach out to the troop, but if anyone ideas for how to reach Beedle, send them along.
Whoomp (The truth is out there).