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Local highschoolers create viral sensation

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(PHOTO/Caleb Hicks)

 

Alyse Nelson
Staff Writer

 

With millions of Vine followers, talent contracts and screaming teenage girls following them across the country for ‘supervines,’ the trio from Troy behind Dem White Boyz is currently enjoying plenty of attention.
Vine is a smartphone app dedicated to users creating and uploading seven second videos on a variety of subjects.
Over the past three months, the “Dem_White_Boyz” Vine profile run by Cole LaBrant, Baylor Barnes and John Stephen Grice, all highschoolers in the Troy area, has accumulated an astounding 2.4 million followers.
“We try to do a video daily,” said Cole LaBrant, a junior and a member of Dem White Boyz. They have posted over eighty videos as the circle of fans and professional contacts has grown.
While playing video games one night in mid-July, the boys saw a contest on another Vine channel. “We thought it would be funny if everyone in Troy saw our video,” LaBrant said of their first video, which was posted to another account before the one currently used was created. “We thought it was a silly app.”
Little did they know just how much attention the ‘silly little app’ would gain them.
“At first I was like ‘whatever,’” Professor LaBrant, a Spanish professor at Troy and Cole LaBrant’s father, said of the boys’ quickly acquired fame. “When it hit a hundred thousand I couldn’t believe that it had taken off like that. I didn’t believe it until Atlanta.”
In Atlanta, a ‘supervine’ had been organized. These events involve a popular Vine star telling fans to meet at a certain location and time to be featured in a Vine.
With the event organized in Centennial Park, dozens of fans showed up with homemade shirts and posters, screaming and chasing the cars. “We had no security,” said Cole. Not fazed by a much larger crowd than expected, the boys still enjoyed the day. “It was a fun experience.”
Signing a contract with Water Bluff Clothing Co., black tanks are currently being produced with “Dem White Boyz” emblazoned across the front. These can be purchased online. “All the money has gone toward flights to California,” Cole said.
“We went out there and did a music video and sang a song,” he said of California. The three signed contracts with both BMI Records and LA Models while there, proving it to be no modest achievement.
None of this attention has gone to their heads, though. “We’re not famous,” Cole said. “I still have a normal life.”
Nor is he dreaming of Hollywood just yet. “I’ve always been interested in the weather,” he said. Becoming a meteorologist is his current career goal.
Earning this level of popularity has not been easy; a seven second video is harder to plan, coordinate and record than it would seem. “That’s the part that people don’t understand,” Cole said. “It has taken four hours to do one Vine before. It’s usually the dances that take so long, though. The comedy ones can take less than an hour.”
The Vine channel has not turned into a job, though. The boys have fun with every video that they make. Cole said “the ones that involve pain” are the most fun videos to shoot.
“I’m normally not the one getting hurt. It’s always entertaining to see your friends hurt,” he said.
One of their most popular Vines to date is similar in nature. “It was really late at night. We came up with this idea of falling off a treadmill. We realized that pain is what people love,” Cole said with a laugh. “It has over 600,000 revines.”
Recent videos include their own adaptation of “Grind on Me,” as well as comedic videos featuring antics like setting off air horns in Subway and running into each other while holding exercise balls.
Gaining about 100,000 new followers a week and teaming up with Hollywood giant Tim Miner, who has worked with artists Justin Bieber and the Backstreet Boys, the future is bright for Cole, Baylor and John.