Dem White Boyz’s celebrity status still expanding

Published 11:20 pm Friday, April 25, 2014

4-25 BOYZ one web



For Dem White Boyz, it all began with a twerk.
Six seconds on Vine was all Baylor Barnes, John Stephen Grice and Cole LaBrant needed to propel themselves into the Weird Wide World of Internet Celebrity.
As if it were not enough that Dem “Twerking” White Boyz had four million worldwide followers and rising, widely acclaimed magazines are hot on their trails.
And, if the Boyz can’t go to them, the magazines will come to them.
That’s how it happened that Dem White Boyz are featured in the latest edition of New York Magazine that hit the stands just this week.
“The photographer wanted us to come to New York for a photo shoot but with schools and sports, we just didn’t have time,” Grice said. “So, the photographer flew down to us.”
The photo shoot was held at The Studio in downtown Troy. Dem White Boyz came with khakis, Hollisters and Polos thrown over their shoulders and promo muscle shirts and gym shorts in duffle bags.
The set was set and freelance photographer Brandon Nocito wasted no time.
“I know what I want,” Nocito said, with a smile and instructed the Boyz to “do what you do in the videos.”
And, Dem White Boyz did.
They jumped, kicked, slapped, slumped and pumped. They twerked and acted totally goofy and, at times, they posed serious.
They changed from khakis to gym shorts and from name brands to their brand.
The Boyz worked up a sweat and so did Nocito.
“Photography is hard work,” he said, laughing. “They are in better shape than I am.”
And that was understandable. After all the Boyz do twerk.
“It was a kind of a weird feeling being in front of the camera but it was a good kind of weird,” Grice said. “We had a lot of fun doing the photo shoot. We haven’t seen the hard copy of the magazine yet but we’ve seen the videos New York Magazine put up. The magazine has a description of us but there’s not an interview. But it’s great to be in the magazine.”
Dem White Boyz are not new to national and global publicity. In fact, they’ve almost gotten accustomed to their newfound fame but not complacent.
“We’re still having a great time,” Grice said. “We’re at three different schools and I’m going to graduate in May so we’re not doing as many Vines as we did. We used to do one a day. Now, we’re doing a couple a week.”
Grice will attend the University of Alabama in the fall so the three best friends won’t be able to spend as much time together.
“Even now, it’s not as easy for all of us to do things together,” Grice said. “We’re doing more meet-and-greets individually.”
Grice said it’s still hard to believe that Dem White Boyz are at the top of the Vine and their fame, as heartthrob sensations and teen superstars of the six-second videos, is spreading in all directions.
And, it all started last summer when Barnes, Grice and LaBrant took a break from playing video games and scrolled through the Vine.
“Dalaun Richardson (a Vine user) was having a twerking contest but it was just girls that were entering,” Grice said. “We decided to enter and do some twerking to kind of make fun of the girls.”
The three friends didn’t win the twerking contest but their entry netted them 10,000 followers overnight and they were on their way to global fame.
At Pike Liberal Arts School where Grice is a senior and around his hometown of Troy, Grice said he is John Stephen Grice, a regular guy. But when Dem White Boyz go out twerking, they enter the wide world of Internet celebrity.
“It’s fun but it’s also weird,” Grice said. “We were in Atlanta and were up on a block wall that was like a stage. There were about 2,000 girls there and they were all screaming and jumping around. We decided to go out in the crowd and they started grabbing us and pulling on us. It was almost scary.”
To accommodate all their followers, the Boyz have a post office box and they get fan letters from all around the country and other countries – from Boston to Brazil.
“We can’t answer the letters because there are too many but we do respond through the social media,” Grice said.
“Being one of the Boyz has been a lot of fun and it’s made my senior year really special. But we’re just three regular guys. We like to play sports and do goofy things.”
The fame of Dem White Boyz might wane but their friendships will endure. And, when he is old and gray, Grice said his grandchildren probably will not believe that he was ever a heartthrob who twerked his way onto the global scene.
But, he’ll show them the photos and tell them the stories of Dem White Boyz and the ride of their lives.