Education

Film Club: ‘“Old Town Road”: See How Memes and Controversy Took Lil Nas X to No. 1’

How and why do songs go viral today?

‘Old Town Road’: See How Memes and Controversy Took Lil Nas X to No. 1” is a seven-minute film that profiles Lil Nas X, the producer YoungKio, Billy Ray Cyrus and a few social media influencers as they explain how the song rose to the top of the Billboard charts seemingly overnight.

Students

1. Watch the short film above. While you watch, you might take notes using our Film Club Double-Entry Journal (PDF) to help you remember specific moments.

2. After watching, think about these questions:

• What moments in this film stood out for you? Why?

• Were there any surprises? Anything that challenged what you know — or thought you knew?

• What messages, emotions or ideas will you take away from this film? Why?

• What questions do you still have?

3. An additional challenge: What connections can you make between this film and your own life or experience? Why? Does this film remind you of anything else you’ve read or seen? If so, how and why?

4. Next, join the conversation by clicking on the comment button and posting in the box that opens on the right. (Students 13 and older are invited to comment, although teachers of younger students are welcome to post what their students have to say.)

5. After you have posted, try reading back to see what others have said, then respond to someone else by posting another comment. Use the “Reply” button or the @ symbol to address that student directly.

6. To learn more, read “‘Old Town Road’: See How Memes and Controversy Took Lil Nas X to No. 1.” Joe Coscarelli writes:

Lil Nas X was an unknown, unemployed 19-year-old college dropout when he bought a slightly twangy rap beat from a Dutch stranger on the internet.

“Old Town Road,” the one-minute and 53-second song that he uploaded to SoundCloud and YouTube not long after, has since become an almost cultural phenomenon, bringing together a cross-section of unlikely characters including Nine Inch Nails (whose instrumental track was sampled for the beat), Billy Ray Cyrus (who recorded a chart-topping remix) and the Texas Tech college basketball team (who wouldn’t stop dancing to it).

_________

More?

• See all the films in this series.

• Read our list of practical teaching ideas, along with responses from students and teachers, for how you can use these documentaries in the classroom.

• This is our last Film Club for the 2018-19 school year. See you next year!

Source :nytimes