From his family’s Memphis, Tennessee, dining room, 6-year-old Sam White rapped his way through all 26 letters of the alphabet and racked up nearly two million video views along the way. While Sam has gained fans all over the world, his parents admit they’ve learned a few lessons about instant fame.
The first grader and his father Bobby White, chief public policy officer at Greater Memphis Chamber of commerce, teamed up to create the inspirational — and now-viral — “You Can Be ABCs” rap in October.
With Dad on beatboxing duties, Sam educates fellow kids about the variety of career possibilities waiting for them through each letter. “You can be a G, gastroenterologist, deal with problems in the gut!” the child raps in the YouTube video as his father Bobby rubs his belly in the background.
“With all the things that my husband has done, he’s worked a life of politics, to become famous over what I say is spitting on my kitchen table is quite interesting,” said Sam’s mother, Stephanie White.
Bobby and Sam posted the video to Facebook on Oct. 24, and it had gone viral by the next morning, Stephanie says.
“I mean, it’s really kind of funny because you start off with ‘Can y’all please stop beating on my table?’ to waking up to over a million views,” the mentor and educator told Atlanta Black Star.
Her intelligent son’s unique hit isn’t your typical rap song. From firefighting and engineering to nursing and video game design, Sam raps the different career paths that kids like him can aspire to take one day.
“I want kids to start thinking about all the great things they can do,” Sam said.
It didn’t take long before the “You Can Be ABCs” song gained immense popularity.
It caught the attention of famous figures like Beyonce’s mother, fashion designer Tina Knowles-Lawson, former first lady Michelle Obama, and media mogul Oprah Winfrey.
With the sudden wave of attention, it’s been a whirlwind couple of months for Sam and his family. The best part for Sam?
“I get to talk to people I don’t even know,” he’s shared.
The bright child has spoken with a lot of people since going viral. The White family’s educational song has landed them interviews with TV show host Ellen Degeneres and “NBC Nightly News” anchor Lester Holt. Sam also recently appeared on ESPN.
Sam says it took him two weeks to memorize the whole song, and that it feels “really good” to know people across the world are enjoying his song.
“Stephanie has gotten invited to speak at a conference in Canada, we’re hearing from people in the United Kingdom, Ireland and South Africa,” Bobby shared of the exposure the hit song has provided his family.
The “You Can Be ABCs” song starts off with the letter “A” for “architect, ”which is the career path Bobby says his son hopes to pursue when he’s older.
“He loves to build and play with blocks and Legos since he was very small,” Bobby said.
By the end of their video, he joins in on his son’s inspirational rap.
“Now take that X, you can make your own mark, leave an impact on the world,” the father and son rapped in unison.
Bobby notes that even though he and his son are rapping, they hope that the song shows other Black children that there are additional career options available to them.
“We were rapping to remind Black little boys that look like Sam that they don’t have to rap as a career when they grow up, you can be a whole lot of other things,” the proud dad said.
The family says the unexpected viral experience has taught them a few lessons that they hope to share with others who might find themselves facing instant fame.
“Make sure that you remember, especially when you have smaller children, to try to create as much of a norm as you possibly can, because it can be extremely overwhelming with so many interviews or appearances,” Stephanie recommended.
“Take advantage of the moment,” Bobby added. “We’re trying our best to take advantage of the moment, and you know, we’re in it for the right reasons.”
Sam continues to use his newfound fame to inspire others. The child loves reading, so he started his “Storytime with Sam” bedtime series on YouTube.
The “You Can Be ABCs” rap song is also available to download on Spotify, Apple Music and other streaming platforms.