“Happy,” the joyous hit song by American musician Pharrell Williams, has been an international success, topping music charts in 24 countries around the world. The music video for the song, which features Pharrell and others walking and dancing down the streets of Los Angeles at different times during the day, has spawned a number of remakes by fans, which have been shared through YouTube.
This fan remake initiative has not been confined to the United States. Recently, South African media station eTV spotlighted some of the best “Happy” videos from several African countries, including South Africa, Benin, Burkina Faso, and Algiers. These videos are all shot in a style similar to the original “Happy”, but alter the format to highlight the local people, dance, and culture. This shows how, despite the proliferation of an American pop cultural artifact, glocalization makes it relevant to the culture of these specific countries.
Happy in Cape Town, South Africa, which has gained nearly 200, 000 views on YouTube:
Happy in Cotonou, Benin, which has gained over 168,000 views on YouTube:
Additionally, the global popularity of the song was also recently recognized by the United Nations, when the UN Foundation partnered up with Pharrell for their annual “International Day of Happiness.” Established in 2012 by the United Nations General Assembly, the day acknowledges that “the pursuit of happiness is a fundamental human goal” and recognizes “the need for a more inclusive, equitable and balanced approach to economic growth that promotes sustainable development, poverty eradication, happiness and the well-being of all peoples,” according to the resolution. Pharrell encouraged fans to tag their videos with the hashtag #happyday and on March 20th, highlighted several videos from around the world on the website 24hours of happiness. This initiative exhibited a convergence of media producers, international politics, and active audience participation.
[Original Happy Video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=y6Sxv-sUYtM%5D
[Slate Article Featuring #happyday compilation: http://www.slate.com/blogs/browbeat/2014/03/20/a_pharrell_happy_supercut_for_international_day_of_happiness_video.html%5D