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If you're on TikTok, or if you live with or love someone who's on TikTok, you've probably heard the "berries and cream" song by now. It goes something like this: berries and cream, berries and cream, I'm a little lad who loves berries and cream! (And if you haven't heard it, yes, it's as unhinged as it sounds. Just listen to it.) (opens in new tab) Maybe you've heard the million and one "berries and cream" remixes on TikTok, or maybe you've just heard your roommate bellowing about being a little lad from the next room. Maybe you're like me, and it's been stuck in your head for five days and you have no idea, no idea, what the hell this song is, where it came from, or how you'll ever get away from it. Welcome to the "Berries and Cream" TikTok community—we're happy to have you.
What is the "Berries and Cream" song?
It all started with an innocent-enough Starburst commercial. Back in 2007, Starburst released a "berries and creme" flavor (which you can still buy, (opens in new tab) if you're so inclined) and a moderately unhinged commercial to go with it. The commercial featured actor and writer Jack Ferver (opens in new tab) (who uses they/them pronouns) doing a little dance about, well, being a little lad who loves berries and cream. Behold:
The "berries and cream" song went viral quickly, even though "going viral" had a very different meaning in 2007 than it does in 2021. Mostly, according to Know Your Meme, the song and its various remixes existed on YouTube. Starburst responded by releasing a second, extended commercial with Ferver called "The Little Lad Dance":
Ferver says in the extended clip, "When I was a little lad, if I wanted berries and cream, Mummy made me do the little lad dance. Now Mummy's gone. But I still like to do the little lad dance." If those lines sound familiar, it's because those are the lines often remixed on TikTok, in addition to the "berries and cream, berries and cream!" song featured in both the original commercial and the extended clip. And by "song," I mean "line that is now stuck in your head forever."
Know Your Meme (opens in new tab) explains: "Over the late 2000s, YouTubers would create multiple remixes and mash-ups of the original commercial." It goes on to explain that "berries and cream" mostly faded into obscurity...until 2021.
What is the "Berries and Cream" TikTok trend?
Per Know Your Meme, podcaster and comedian Justin McElroy kicked off the trend with this TikTok in January:
@hoopsmcelroy (opens in new tab)
Berries and cream♬ original sound - Justin McElroy (opens in new tab)
It took a few months for the trend to catch on. By mid-September, however, per Mashable, (opens in new tab) tens of thousands of TikTok videos featured variations of the "berries and cream" song, with the tag #berriesandcream boasting more than 300 million views.
At first, it was just creators singing and dancing or posting captions with the original song. The "berries and cream" song and the Little Lad are a catchy combination of cottagecore (opens in new tab)—the bowl haircut, the embroidered collar— and nostalgia. So at first, the joke was mostly that those creators were giving off big "little lad" vibes.
@kait_kenn (opens in new tab)
i dont think my confidence will ever recover. #berriesandcream #haircut♬ original sound - EdroomBedroom (opens in new tab)
@bretmanrock (opens in new tab)
I already y’all gonna say I look like I like berries and cream♬ original sound - Justin McElroy (opens in new tab)
@dyane_vidaurre (opens in new tab)
berries and cream anyone?♬ original sound - EdroomBedroom (opens in new tab)
@alexanderchristian (opens in new tab)
Paper towel #berriesandcream #imalittlelad #coconuthead♬ original sound - EdroomBedroom (opens in new tab)
@howe_about_no (opens in new tab)
Having this hair cut but not styling it... #berriesandcream #foryoupage #ginger♬ original sound - Justin McElroy (opens in new tab)
And then the trend...evolved. When creators began mashing up popular songs and well-known audio clips with the "berries and cream" song, and other creators began posting videos with the new audio they'd found, that's when "berries and cream" really took off. Some creators (opens in new tab)dedicated their TikTok accounts to creating new "berries and cream" remixes. Other creators (opens in new tab) went viral rating the "berries and cream" remixes.
@finnfslater (opens in new tab)
#berriesandcream♬ Appleberry Jeans - Cursed Mashups (opens in new tab)
@_lizzywest (opens in new tab)
Ngl I did predict this would happen 😭 #berriesandcream #berriesandcreamremix #abba #mammamia #plshelp♬ original sound - Jacob Sutherland (opens in new tab)
@arianaj0919 (opens in new tab)
could barely hold it together these are all too good - creators tagged in comments! #berriesandcream #littleladdance #mashup♬ original sound - ari (opens in new tab)
@kellyry (opens in new tab)
I mean it’s so good #berriesandcream♬ Gimme More BERRIES AND CREAM by skinnermusicuk - Skinner (opens in new tab)
@marisamcyummy (opens in new tab)
Berries & cream 🤠#berriesandcream♬ original sound - Frzy (opens in new tab)
@amyricanidol (opens in new tab)
#berriesandcream♬ suono originale - amy and all her characters🧿 (opens in new tab)
@flufffymonkey (opens in new tab)
You just have to say that you're fine but you're not fine #berriesandcream♬ You have to tell them that your little lad - Cursed Mashups (opens in new tab)
@luluandmayo (opens in new tab)
If you’re reading this… you good? #fyp #berriesandcream #mentalillness♬ What Does it Mean x Berries and Cream - Cursed Mashups (opens in new tab)
What has the "little lad" had to say about it?
Per Insider, (opens in new tab) Ferver created a TikTok account—@thereallittlelad (opens in new tab)—and thanked fans old and new of their "berries and cream" song. Their TikTok tagline? "I love Berries and Cream. Do you want to dance with me? Mummy’s gone." Already, they have 1.5 million followers and counting.
@thereallittlelad (opens in new tab)
1 million ! on TLL day ! WOW! Thank you #berriesandcream #littlelad #dance♬ original sound - The Little Lad (opens in new tab)
They also posted new songs with the same theme of "Mummy's gone":
@thereallittlelad (opens in new tab)
mummy’s gone dance #berriesandcream #littlelad #dance♬ original sound - The Little Lad (opens in new tab)
A personal favorite about "Mummy":
@thereallittlelad (opens in new tab)
!!!!!! #berriesandcream #littlelad #fashion #origin♬ original sound - The Little Lad (opens in new tab)
Ferver also made a cameo on Catfish host Nev Schulman's TikTok:
@nevschulman (opens in new tab)
Made a new friend @thereallittlelad 🍓🫐🥛 #berriesandcream #littlelad♬ original sound - Justin McElroy (opens in new tab)
As for McElroy, who started this whole fever dream-slash-nightmare, he's well aware of what he's unleashed on the world:
if I delete the sound would we all be free?September 19, 2021
Adweek also touched base with the creators of the original ad, (opens in new tab) with creative director Gerry Graf explaining: "It’s made for TikTok. It’s the first TikTok dance—that we just happened to create for YouTube.”
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