This dude needs a Paypal button and some Antoine Dodson strategic advice. I predict this video will blow up, and he could probably make some good coin on it, but there's no real data on who or even where this is. Where's my web forensics team?
I've sent a YouTube email to the person who uploaded the video, but I feel like this dude could really ride a wave of public interest. It's the new busking, and it's online. I hope we find him before the video's too far gone up the charts.
For the record, I first saw this on Monday October 4, 2010 when it had just over 9,400 views
Update 01:34 on 5 October 2010.
Apparently dude isn't homeless. Seems to be an actor named Sky Soleil. Could be trying to "raise awareness" of homelessness. Could just be messing around. I'm annoyed whoever is behind this won't just be straight about it and explain what's going on. Fooled again by lying liars on the Internet. Major thanks to Mark Horvath for the information.
Now for a mild rant. First, Jenny Whiteboard. Now this?
You don't post a video of a person and claim that person is homeless and imply that the video is made to raise awareness of homelessness. There are, sadly, plenty of homeless people in the United States, and many of them are hustling and have serious talent.
If you look at the YouTube comments, many of them are (against all YouTube experience) compassionate. People are offering to help this man. They are offering to set up donation buttons or help him find a job. This is the type of attitude we should welcome toward our homeless brothers and sisters, but when folks find out this man is a working actor, they will be rightly upset. Homeless people already have a tough time being taken seriously without folks now assuming they may be actors doing some sort of web performance art.
The video concept is cool without me having to believe the performer is actually homeless. Muppets are always cool. David Bowie is always cool. Muppets plus David Bowie is coolness squared. Why the deception? If this was truly about raising awareness of homelessness, there are better, more honest paths available. If this was about the cool performance, why muddy the waters with a lie?
Now the video has ads on it. Where does that money go? A homeless charity? If so, great, but be clear about it. If not, then this person or group is making money off sympathy for homeless people. And as I understand YouTube's terms of service, you can't monetize videos for which you don't have all the rights. In this case, that means music rights.
Finally, if I find out this is some sort of "viral video" campaign from an advertising or marketing agency for some new toothpaste or a donut or something, I'm seriously going to lose my shit. I bet "Sky Soleil" isn't even a real human. That name sounds as fake as the premise of the video.
I still think the video is great. I just wish it were also honest.
Update 14:00 on 6 September 2010
Ok more stuff. So the video description has been updated to say the following
As I said this is a performance. I don't want there to be any doubts about my situation. I am a performer. I have a roof over my head and I have yet to start my own family. But this video isn't about me. This is for the men, women and children on our streets who don't have bright green puppets on their hands. The people who aren't always as easy to see. This is for you.
That's all I wanted was some information cause the title made it sound like this guy was actually homeless. I still love the video and now feel a lot more comfortable about promoting this. Thanks Internet!