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May 8, 2021

Bloomberg School of Public Health goes viral again with help from the Mental Notes

By GRETA MARAS | December 21, 2020

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COURTESY OF THE MENTAL NOTES

Cardi B retweeted the WAP parody video by the Mental Notes, encouraging fans to wear masks.

The Hopkins School of Public Health (SPH) posted a parody of Cardi B and Megan Thee Stallion’s hit song and video “WAP” on their social media accounts on Dec. 15. The video featured members of the Mental Notes, a comedy a capella group at the Homewood Campus.

The parody song, titled “Wear A mask Please,” was thought up by Aliza Rosen and Nick Moran, the social media managers for the University (@johnshopkinsu) and the SPH (@johnshopkinssph), respectively. Rosen told The News-Letter that she and Moran have worked very closely since the beginning of the pandemic, as both accounts have played critical roles in sharing COVID-19-related content.

Moran had posted about the importance of getting flu shots for the SPH, using various song lyric parodies, and the two of them wanted to keep with the theme of musical parody for further content.

“We first floated the idea around the time when the WAP dance was trending on TikTok, but ‘WAP’ still stood for something too inappropriate,“ he said. “At one point in late October I just came up with ‘Wear A mask Please,’ and we knew right away that we got it.”

After coming up with the idea, Rosen and her team opted to include student performers in the process. 

Music Director for the Mental Notes Millan Patel said that the group was enthusiastic to take up the opportunity.

“I was very excited, and it was not something we were expecting to happen,” he said. “Once they reached out and told us, we were immediately interested and wanted to get involved as soon as possible.”

The Mental Notes worked with Rosen to refine the lyrics of the parody and arrange the parts for members of the group. The video was shot in November with four Mental Notes members (Sara Pardee, Noah Johnson, Nikki Ucheya and Patel) and the Blue Jay mascot. Operating in compliance with social distancing and public health protocols, unsurprisingly, all participants wore masks throughout the filming process. These even included masks made by ClearMask, a company founded by Hopkins graduate students and alum.

The final video features two other Mental Notes members, Veric Tan and Harrison Le, who submitted their contributions from home. 

As of publication, the video has received over 134,000 views on Instagram and over 471,000 views on Twitter. It was retweeted by Cardi B on Dec. 17, much to the excitement of the video’s creators, stars and Hopkins students at large.

“I was ecstatic and absolutely floored when I saw that Cardi B retweeted it,” Patel said. “We were joking about her seeing it for the longest time, but for it to actually happen was incredible. I didn’t even think it was possible.”

Freshman Class President Kobi Khong believes the video represents the spirit of awareness, which he appreciates about Hopkins. He was pleased with the reactions that members of the incoming Class of 2025 have exhibited.

“We sent that video in a group chat we set up for the newly admitted class, and some of them are drawing fanart of Jay doing the WAP dance,” he said in an interview with The News-Letter. “This is their first impression of the school, and I wouldn’t have it any other way.”

Rosen appreciates that the video has been shared widely by students and the general public, especially considering its strange and comical nature.

“Some people think it’s really cringy, but I love cringy content, and I think [the silliness] is part of its appeal,” she said. “Peer awareness has also helped it spread because having someone you respect spread a social message makes you much more likely to click on it.”

The video’s success joins other popular posts that have launched the SPH Instagram into stardom.

Rosen hopes that the video brought some comedic relief among an otherwise difficult year.

“Everyone has been through so much this year, so if this video is able to bring smiles and joy and laughter to people, I’m happy to make that happen.”

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