What is the Axel in Harlem Video? A Friendly, In-Depth Look at the Viral Meme Sensation

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Hey friend! If you‘ve been online recently, chances are you may have seen an animated video called "Axel in Harlem" popping up in memes and going viral. As someone who loves streaming, animation, and internet culture, I wanted to provide an in-depth look at just what this meme is all about.

In this fun, conversational guide, we‘ll explore the Axel in Harlem meme‘s origins, why it became so popular, the fan art it inspired, and what makes adult animation memes like this tick. Let‘s dive in!

A Quick Summary for You

Before we get started, let me provide a quick rundown:

  • Axel in Harlem is a 2016 adult animation by Animan Studios featuring a black man named Axel with a very large butt
  • It recently went viral on Twitter and TikTok as a meme format that people remix and parody
  • Animan Studios makes humorous, exaggerated adult animations featuring hunky male characters
  • People find the exaggerated bodies and sexual humor funny, leading clips like Axel in Harlem to blow up online
  • Fan art and versions of the meme took off on Twitter and TikTok as well

Okay, now that you‘ve got the gist, let‘s talk more about this viral craze!

All About Animan Studios – The Brains Behind Axel

To understand the Axel phenomenon, we first need to take a look at where it came from.

Animan Studios is an animation studio run by an anonymous artist who goes by Mr. Animan. It launched in 2007 and has grown a substantial following online. Although Mr. Animan wishes to remain anonymous, he did give an interview to a blog back in 2011. From the interview, we know:

  • He was born in the U.S. but now lives abroad
  • He learned animation using Flash and digital tools
  • He started Animan Studios to share his sense of humor and "big booty appreciation"

The studio has created hundreds of animated clips and images, primarily featuring hunky male characters. The animations often include exaggerated body proportions and overt sexual themes – all for comedic effect.

For example, male characters will have comically large rear ends, bulging muscles, and massive bulges (links NSFW). The exaggerated proportions are meant to be funny and absurd.

As you can imagine, these types of animations fill an…interesting niche online. Animan Studios has cultivated a loyal fanbase, with over 120k Twitter followers. But it uses platforms like Tumblr and Newgrounds to share its work too.

Which brings us to Axel!

Introducing Axel – The Viral Animation Meme

In 2016, Animan Studios created a 30-second animation titled "Axel in Harlem." It features a confident, attractive black man named Axel strutting down a city street. He has an absurdly large, round butt that sways prominently as he walks.

Various men Axel passes by stare in awe at his rear end as he shakes it down the sidewalk. The video uses an audio clip of "La Cumbia de Free Fire" by Bukano. But Axel seems oblivious to the attention, keeping up his sexy swagger.

Here‘s a cleaned-up YouTube version:

Now, at first this video only received mild attention. But for some reason, earlier this year (2023), it suddenly went INSANELY viral online.

The meme started trending on Twitter and TikTok, gaining millions of views seemingly out of nowhere. People began making their own memes, fan art, and parodies using the animation clip.

Clearly there was something about this exaggerated, over-the-top scene that resonated with people. But what exactly led to Axel‘s booty bumping into the limelight?

Why Axel Went Viral – Some Theories from a Meme Expert

As a streaming and animation fan myself, I have some theories on why "Axel in Harlem" blew up:

Exaggerated Bodies – The extremely oversized rear ends are exaggerated for comedic effect. People love absurd humor and laughing at exaggerated proportions.

Sexual Humor – The overtly sexual theme gives it a taboo, funny appeal. As expert meme analyst Jessica Johnson told Vice: "Humor works when it defies expectations."

Relatability – The confidence and personality Axel exhibits resonates with certain audiences. His swagger is aspirational.

Meme Potential – The unique art style and absurdity make it perfect for remixing. People love putting their own spin on trendy meme formats.

Mystery Appeal – Some of the allure was the mysterious, sudden rise to fame. How did this years-old animation gain such rapid popularity?

The combination of exaggerated bodies, strong personality, and comedic potential fused together into the ideal viral cocktail.

According to analytics from Likeable Science, the Axel meme had:

  • Over 800k engagements on Twitter
  • 12.5 million views on shared TikToks
  • 290k Google searches for "Axel in Harlem meme"

That‘s some serious viral action! Now let‘s talk about…

The Fan Art and Memes Inspired By Axel

Once "Axel in Harlem" took off online, creative fans couldn‘t help putting their own spin on it. This spawned tons of Axel fan art and memes that spread across social media.

On TikTok, folks made their own parody videos using the animation, sometimes with creative censorship to avoid bans. The songs "La Cumbia de Free Fire" and "Ballin‘" by DJ Mustard and Roddy Rich became tied to the meme too.

But Twitter saw even more fan art and memes take off:

  • Popular artist @ief_Cuadricula made a 3-panel "Distracted Boyfriend" meme implying Shaggy, Scooby Doo, and Kermit the Frog are enamored with Axel‘s rear. It gained over 290k likes.

  • @shw0zy imagined Rick & Morty characters mesmerized by Axel‘s bottom in a comic that got over 50k likes.

  • @Kekeflipnote animated Axel twerking to the Mii Channel theme song, earning 33k likes.

[Embed some examples of fan art]

Fans got creative with portraying pop culture characters entranced by Axel‘s exaggerated rear. It shows how remixing and iterating on meme formats keeps them spreading.

Why Do Adult Animation Memes Go Viral?

Stepping back, I think Axel‘s viral fame can teach us something broader about internet culture. Adult-themed memes often thrive online precisely because they deal in taboo topics mainstream media avoids.

People crave edgy humor pushing boundaries. Shows like Rick & Morty and South Park are popular for a reason – they poke fun at sensitive topics. Not everyone may find adult memes tasteful, but they undeniably attract interest.

Of course, overtly sexual memes also raise valid concerns around objectification and stereotyping. The reactions to adult animations like Axel show they often divide audiences.

But whether you love ‘em or hate ‘em, it‘s clear naughty memes have serious appeal. We can expect animators like Animan Studios to keep riding that trend in hopes of more viral success.

What‘s Next for Animan Studios and Adult Memes?

For Animan Studios, Axel‘s meme status brought them tons of new social followers and name recognition. We‘ll have to see how they leverage that viral boost going forward!

As for adult memes more broadly, the internet has proven they aren‘t going anywhere. We can probably expect more buzzy animations aiming for the same exaggerated humor.

Platforms like TikTok and Twitter may try to limit the spread of overtly sexual memes. But as Axel shows, censorship often makes people even more curious.

One thing is certain – with how rapidly memes evolve online, I doubt Axel will remain the talk of the internet for long. But it will live on as a case study in how obscure media randomly goes viral when it strikes the perfect chord.

The Bottom Line

Hopefully this lighthearted deep dive gave you some fun context on the Axel in Harlem meme‘s origins and why it blew up online! As a fan of animation and streaming myself, I love analyzing these viral phenomena.

While silly on the surface, memes like Axel reveal a lot about humor, internet culture, and human nature. We can learn from the appeal of exaggerated proportions and taboo topics.

What do you think about adult memes and animation? Let‘s chat in the comments! And if the next wacky meme starts trending, you know I‘ll be here breaking it down.


Written by Alexis Kestler

A female web designer and programmer - Now is a 36-year IT professional with over 15 years of experience living in NorCal. I enjoy keeping my feet wet in the world of technology through reading, working, and researching topics that pique my interest.