Column: Why All the Hype Over Harambe?

Column: Why All the Hype Over Harambe?

During the first days of school, along with all the talk about construction and the dread of having homework again, students can be heard spewing about HARAMBE.

The deceased gorilla has become a household name — not only at BASH, but across the nation.

“He was so good looking,” says sophomore Dylan Moyer.

For those who have been living under a rock, Harambe is the 17-year-old western lowland gorilla who was shot at the Cincinnati Zoo on May 28, 2016, after a young boy fell into his enclosure. Many were outraged that the gorilla was shot, although the zoo has come out fiercely defending itself for taking proper action to save the boy.

So why all the hype? A group of girls in open campus said students are so obsessed with harambe because, “We like making memes of him.”  (Again, for those living under a rock: Memes are a humorous image, video, piece of text, that is spread rapidly by Internet users, and they have begun to define our culture as a whole.)  



Hundreds of memes about Harambe have popped up on social media. Some of them are political, such as showing a picture of the gorilla with the saying “Black Lives Matter”, or a “white” version of Harambe with the question, “Would I be alive if I was white?”.

Some reflect the anger directed by some toward the mother of the child who wandered into the gorilla cage. One shows a picture of Harambe and the sentence, “I was a doing a better job of watching that lady’s kid than she was.”

Some are just simply humorous plays on pop culture, such as one that makes a Beyonce reference, showing a gorilla with a pink wig and the words, “Harambe’s Side Chick: Becky with the Good Hair”.

The memes about Harambe got to the point where the Cincinnati Zoo deleted their Twitter page, saying that they were “not amused” in reference to the Harambe memes people were sharing to their twitter feed.

Thane Maynard, director of the Cincinnati Zoo, was quoted by The Associated Press as saying, “Our zoo family is still healing, and the constant mention of Harambe makes moving forward more difficult for us.”

Obviously, everyone is having a hard time moving forward.

RIP, Harambe.