While last year's Democratic National Convention propelled Charlotte onto the national stage as a maturing city that deserves the spotlight, a recent YouTube video that's gaining national attention is showing the world that we're not above a good throwdown.
The "NoDa Brawl," as it's being referred to on social media and local news stations, broke out at a fashion show at the annual North Carolina Awards Ball in February after someone in the crowd did not agree with a judge's decision. The contest featured male cross-dressers competing in different events, such as one mandating that a participant's face be completely concealed.
A five-minute clip, called "Catching Chairs & Tossin Tables: Big Brawl at NC Awards Ball!" on YouTube, gained nearly 125,000 views in two weeks, hit social media, local news stations and created a star: a female Biggie Smalls lookalike who threw a table across the room at a group of hostile men like she belonged in the next Avengers film. Charlotte's Infamous B.I.G. can take as well as she gives, apparently: After the table toss, she catches a flying chair with one hand while clutching her purse in the other.
But the fight, which took place at NDemand, a venue on 28th Street that the ball's organizers rented for the night, reached the pinnacle of American viral videos on March 12, when a few seconds were shown at the beginning of a new episode of Comedy Central's TV and Internet video clip show Tosh.0. Not a huge surprise, since the video feeds into Daniel Tosh's homophobic and racist tendencies. (He made an all-too-easy Precious reference).
So I got to thinking: What are some other famous viral videos to come out of North Carolina?
Mark Mathis, Fox's funny weatherman – Charlotte
This is the viral video that birthed all viral videos in Charlotte. Mathis started as a weatherman on Fox Charlotte a little more than 10 years ago, and anyone who watched the channel during his on-again-off-again employment remembers his goofy antics, including rapping on live TV and calling out people behind the camera. About seven years ago, someone put a montage of Mathis' craziness on YouTube. Since then, clips have been shown on Late Night with David Letterman, MTV, VH1 and E!'s clip show The Soup. I remember watching this guy live when I was in high school and enjoying it, but even I had to watch the YouTube clips through clasped fingers. It's just plain uncomfortable. Mathis checked into rehab in 2004 after admitting he had a drinking problem and that he used coke a handful of times. He also has a reputation for being charitable and active in his community — reportedly, he's now in El Paso, Texas.
Akon does the mall – Charlotte
The description of this YouTube video explains that you're seeing R&B singer Akon "shut down" SouthPark Mall. Apparently, shutting down a mall means walking through one with a frappuccino and 70 or 80 giggling preteen girls. More than anything, this video should scare the shit out of parents in Myers Park; not because their young daughters are so excited to touch an older man, but to touch one who ran into problems for simulating sex with a 14-year-old girl on stage at a concert in 2007.
Local pastor calls for encampment, death of "queers and homosexuals" - Maiden
Pastor Charles Worley of the Providence Road Baptist Church in Maiden gained national notoriety in May 2012 when he called for lesbians and gays to be isolated from the rest of the world using a "great, big, large fence." Not just a fence, but an electric fence. Not straying from his good Christian values, Worley said they could still be fed but will eventually die off because they can't reproduce. What Worley doesn't seem to realize, however, is that gays and lesbians can spring from the loins of straight people who, under his rules, would be left to roam free.
Dad shoots daughter's laptop over Facebook post - Albemarle
In "Facebook Parenting: For the troubled teen," Tommy Jordan, a disgruntled father and IT tech, reads a "letter" his daughter posted on Facebook, complaining about her daily chores. Apparently this isn't the first time she's vented on Facebook: Last time she did, Jordan threatened to put a bullet in her laptop. He finally made good on his promise — and caught the attention of ABC, Dr. Phil and millions of parents. With how angry he appears in the video at his daughter's cuss word-filled letter, it's not hard to imagine where he really wanted to aim the gun. Hopefully all that press gave the girl a free pass to unlimited therapy.