Pink morph suits and tearful ballads: How Joji went from a meme legend to an acclaimed musician
"I'd like to share with you a little story."
“You watch Filthy Frank?” questioned my 17-year-old brother.
He’d caught me at an odd moment.
Researching for this very article, I was immersed in Patrick Cc:’s YouTube video about the artist Joji’s unique rise to fame over my morning coffee.
I’d heard of the star’s alternate YouTube persona, “Filthy Frank,” but watching the guy who made you violently sob to “Glimpse of Us” make a “churro” out of three deceased baby rats really put this joke into perspective.
Filthy Frank was not just one viral YouTube video or the success of the “Harlem Shake.”
TVFilthyFrank was a rancid, vulgar lifestyle for Frank’s 7.85 million subscribers.
A glimpse of George Kusunoki Miller
George Kusunoki Miller’s diverse background reflects the success he had in drastically different career platforms prior to his profession as an artist.
Miller was born to a Japanese mother and Australian father in Osaka, Japan, and attended Canadian Academy in Kobe, Japan. He later moved to the United States to enroll at the New York Institute of Technology.
During his college career, Miller skyrocketed to stardom through the creation of counterculture YouTube icon Filthy Frank, Pink Guy and his numerous other fictional characters.
After watching a video of Miller forcing a guest star to consume flour and eggs out of a funnel, throw it all up and then make a cake out of the vomit, I could not believe that Joji and Filthy Frank were the same person.
My brother expressed the same thought.
He had no clue that Miller was now an acclaimed musician, and he refused to believe my word until I showed him his verified Spotify account.
To my brother, Miller was a “meme god.”
To me, Joji was a No. 3 Billboard album charter.
Therein lies an innate problem with human nature: our obsession with compartmentalizing an individual’s purpose in life.
A global obsession: labels
It’s an obsession that gives us a reason to wake up in the morning and start our day.
It helps guide us through college and our adult lives.
It helps us find something unique within ourselves to cope with the reality that there are seven billion people in the world who are just like us.
It helps us find a purpose.
We assign arbitrary labels to ourselves, ridiculing others when they step outside their fictitious stereotypes.
She has a natural affinity for the sciences. Therefore, she should study medicine in college and become a doctor.
I enjoy watching the news and writing for Rowdy Magazine. So, I am majoring in journalism and focusing solely on the path to becoming an investigative journalist. All other hobbies or interests I possess are obsolete in the face of fulfilling my “purpose.”
We spend years of our lives trying to find our exact place in the fold of reality, and how we can contribute to the greater good in the span of our lifetime. And the easiest way to comprehend our purpose is to define ourselves by our accomplishments. When we stray from our accomplishments that’s when things begin to get messy.
How Joji’s success could have been his downfall
In 2015, Miller began releasing songs on SoundCloud under his future musician title, Joji. And despite his massive cult following, he was ridiculed for pursuing other hobbies outside his successful career as a YouTuber.
Miller’s fans loved him as a comedian and a large portion of them refused to view him as a creator.
Miller did what most people struggle to do in their everyday life: place a greater value on strengths and interests instead of accomplishments. He worked against the tide of what his fan base wanted and instead followed his passions.
As humans, we struggle to define the line between work and play — but what if there was no line? What if we pushed the boundaries of our labels and instead focused on components of our personality that allow us to find happiness in various aspects of our lives?
George Miller is not just a comedian or an artist. He is an individual who can engage audiences through his ability to curate relatable content (humorous or heartbreaking). He is someone who is successful at not marketing a product, but himself.
While it is virtually impossible not to characterize ourselves or others, it’s important to remember that people are more than their accomplishments.
Humans are not meant to be creatively restricted or simply have one purpose in this lifetime.
And one thing I know for sure is that George Miller, Joji, Filthy Frank or whatever you know him as will continue to push his creative boundaries without the toxic concept of a singular purpose or assigned labels.
Allie Sinkovich is an Online Writer for Rowdy Magazine. When she's not studying, she's probably asleep or looking for cats or injured wildlife to foster.