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Lil Duval Tweet to Teena Marie: “Hey, r u dead?”Posted by Jacques "Jooks" Morel on 01/05/11 | Filed under Features, Lil Duval
2010 was a year that saw Twitter grow into a formidable force. The drawing factor, being the true personal experience of the service. Many celebrities have tweeted announcements and ideas that has drastically changed the way we view them. Twitter made celebrities, atheletes, and scholars…people.
Essentially, Twitter has become a place where pop culture is created at an instantaneous basis. We watch it play out in front of our eyes daily as sites such as TMZ , MTO, and TheYBF slowly grow obsolete.
Lil Duval, relatively unknown before Twitter (I live in Long Island. Not ATL. I'd like to visit though.), has slowly risen to be one of the figures in daily constantly changing pop culture. Duval tweets continually (engulfing some with laughter and others with aneurysms) to his 400k twitter fans. On 12/26, due to the rampant rumors on twitter announcing R&B singer Teena Marie's untimely death, he tweeted her well known personal account saying, "Hey, r u dead?"
Instantly Twitter was inflamed with #unfollowLilDuval chants and numerous accounts insisting of his death. Duval has proved that Social Media has officially reached its apex for 2011.
Celebrity death rumors are extremely popular and always have been. However no celebrity death rumor prior to 2008 ever had the legs Twitter fields. Previously we'd have to wait on Hip Hop and Music news sites to update and notify us of these rumors to follow with a death confirmation. Now, with Twitter, all we need to do is follow known associates of the "deceased" and the answer will be known.
However, the only way to know for sure is to check the twitter of the deceased themselves. Twitter has blessed celebrities with the ability to come out from behind the publicists and tabloids to speak to us directly. They are real people just like you and I – except there names and images just precede them.
Lil Duval did something that other Twitter followers of @MsTeenaMmarie did. Tweet the source and ask if she is dead. The exception to Duval is that he is a famous ordinary person - thus subjected to extraordinary consequences. Duval's tweet exemplified what gathering information on culture has become. Instead of waiting for the institutions (such as CNN, FOX, MTV etc... sighting “sources”) to give us information that we can then dispel to others, we cut out the middle man and interact directly with the “sources” themselves. During Michael Jacksons death we tweeted around him without actually hitting the subject. Jackson did not have a Twitter to answer this question: Are you dead? Instead people close to him tweeted his passing.
With Duval, he sought the answer to thousands of YOUR worried tweets by asking the source. His tweet mirrored thousands others, but it was different because it was the most valid tweet. Many famous accounts only interact with other famous account - If Teena Marie was in fact alive and using Twitter at that instant, she most likely would have answered Lil Duval instead of every other random account asking her the same question. Also, the uproar that followed in the wake of Duval’s tweet she undoubtedly would have seen the random followers tweeting away in anger.
Duval’s tweet is the Tweet of the Year because it symbolizes the melding of the two worlds. Increasingly celebrities are becoming realer people to us. Whereas years ago they were regarded as almost untouchable, we can now reach out and digitally touch them. Who needs a phone number, when they can *theoretically* see your tweet.
While Lil Duval’s tweet may be considered crass and immature - it cannot be taken as such. With Twitter we have the power to speak for ourselves. This is 2010.
P.S - If you hear a rumor of my death, tweet my account.
If I do not answer in a timely fashion…confirm it.
(Editor's Note: This article originally appeared on IFuxWithThat.com.)