Ryerson students dancing Gangnam Style in the filming of their parody video. PHOTO: Nicholas Unazoi

Ryerson takes on Gangnam Style

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By Harlan Nemers

Ryerson students are creating a parody of the most liked music video to ever hit Youtube: Gangnam Style. Currently standing at just over 470 million views and four million likes, the “Gangnam Style” video broke the Guinness World Record for most liked YouTube video.

“Gangnam Style” is a satire in which rapper-singer PSY, a Korean pop sensation, makes fun of Gangnam, Seoul’s wealthiest district in South Korea where young people party. In the video, PSY tries to attract girls by telling them that he has ‘Gangnam style.’

But what has really captivated viewers is the ridiculous, trotting dance the video features. It has been compared to this era’s Macarena since both dances involve quirky moves, catchy lyrics, and represent a stylistic fad of the day.

In response, the parody phenomenon exploded, seeing American universities, such as Ohio, Maryland, and Oregon universities mocking the original video. In Canada, York, McMaster, Carleton and Calgary universities have followed the trend.

“We saw that the whole song was going viral,” said Furqan Nawaz, a second-year engineering student and the creator of Ryerson’s parody video. “So we said, ‘Why not, as Ryerson students, we [can] do a much better job than York and show off some Ryerson spirit.'”

Along with a group of friends, Nawaz has spent over 30 hours rehearsing, planning and shooting the video, which is to be released later this month.

Nearly 500 people are expected to gather on Wednesday to dance for the final shoot, according to the Facebook event page.

Nawaz originally created the Facebook group in the spur of the moment, with the goal of nabbing a few close friends. But thanks to word-of-mouth and a proposed marketing plan the creators have high expectations.

“We want this thing to go viral like the original video,” said co-creator Jeff Nham. He hopes Ryerson will be able to achieve in one week what York University achieved in four weeks: receive 250,000 views.

“It would be nice to have a million views,” he said.

But it’s not just the creators who think the video will do well. Ryerson’s student life programs coordinator, Lesley D’Souza, also supports the project.

“Ryerson supports student initiatives like this creative video as they help create our vibrant campus community,” she said.

Michael Forbes, Ryerson’s chief media spokesperson, agrees.

“This video only confirms how strong the student spirit is, how committed the students are to being creative and positive.” For Ryerson, joining the parody race late in the game was beneficial.

Other videos have become a great way of gaining feedback on what not to do.

According to Nham, Ryerson’s video will be different in that it will have something uniquely authentic about it. But he says it is a secret that he isn’t willing to expose.

“It’ll be worth [it]. It’ll be our big finale,” Nham said. “Students will just have to wait and see.”

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