Is Bed Intruder Song insensitive?

Antoine Dodson in the video on which the “Bed Intruder Song” was based. Photo credit

Alyssa Heater
Staff Writer

Type in “Bed Intruder Song” into any search bar and you’ll find yourself instantly among an array of videos featuring the ever charismatic Antoine Dodson.

Dodson with the help of the creative mast minds, The Gregory Brothers, and his sister Kelly Dodson, released the iTunes smash hit, instantly creating a catchy pop song with a head bobbing beat, memorable lyrics, and rocketing Dodson into stardom.

The song is based on a news report from WAFF-48 about the alleged attempted rape of Dodson’s sister in their hometown of Huntsville, Alabama. Just two days after the news report the Gregory Brothers uploaded an Auto-Tuned remix to YouTube, and the rest was history. Ask any great artist and they’ll tell you that fame does not come with out controversy; Dodson’s over night, though be accidental, success was no exception.

Listeners with delicate ears quickly posed the question; is the song insensitive? Jason King, a professor of music at NYU, thinks so. Although the song is catchy, and has a great hook, the aesthetics of black poverty, which are portrayed in the news report, become fodder for societal humor, he told the National Public Radio.

Fellow mild eared listener Baratunde Thurston of The Onion, told NPR that he was uncomfortable with the listeners’ separation to the underlying meaning of the song. “A woman was sexually assaulted and her brother was rightfully upset. People online seemed to be laughing at him and not with him (because he wasn’t laughing), as Dodson fulfilled multiple stereotypes in one short news segment” he said.

Although the underlying story is a serious matter most people find the song hysterical, making the question of insensitivity obsolete. With over 14million views on YouTube, several remixes, and covers, to say the Bed Intruder Song is popular is an understatement. The song is the only iTunes download to ever reach the Billboard Hot 100, peaking at number 89.

Dodson and his sister are listed as co-writers of the song, says Billboard, creating a very positive financial outlook for the siblings. Splitting the profits 50/50 with the Gregory Brothers, Dodson is expected to make a ton of money of his Billboard hit, says NPR. Commercials, tee-shirts, and other merchandise are bringing in the dough at a high rate, and Dodson’s offers keep coming in.

Drummer, Michael Gregory, admits he questioned the appropriateness of the song, according to Billboard, but realized “it’s taking a terrible situation and making at least something positive out of it.”

“Some people do take it to be a joke, I don’t, and neither does my sister and neither does my family. It’s funny. We laugh at it all the time and listen to the song over and over. But that doesn’t change the fact that this was a serious event.” Dodson told NPR when asked about the controversy.

With the radio exploding with catchy songs about violence, drugs, and sex, perhaps the “Bed Intruder Song” isn’t the most inappropriate or insensitive song out there. I tend to wonder if Marilyn Manson, Eminem, or Madonna ever questioned the “appropriateness” of their music. If the “Intruder Song” raises concern, I severely caution listeners like King and Thurston to never pick up an Eminem album.

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