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‘It is what It is’ meme: Unveiling the Origins and Popularity

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The “It is what it is” meme originated from a viral video of a teenager laughing and saying “It is what it is,” with his friends repeating the phrase after him. The video gained popularity on TikTok and Instagram, where it was used to express satisfaction with an imperfect opportunity or result. The exact origin of the video is unknown, but it was first posted on YouTube in December 2019 and later gained significant spread on TikTok in March 2020. The meme features a group of teenage boys in a circle laughing, with one saying “it is what it is” before the camera pans and they all repeat the phrase. The meme is often used to convey a sense of resignation or acceptance in various situations.

In the vast realm of internet culture, memes have become a ubiquitous form of communication, transcending borders and language barriers. One such meme that has recently gained massive popularity is the “It is what it is” meme. This article aims to delve into the origins of this meme and explore the reasons behind its widespread usage.

The Birth of the Meme

The exact origin of the “It is what it is” meme remains shrouded in mystery. However, its first appearance can be traced back to a YouTube video uploaded by user Dr Prominent on December 18th, 2019. The video features a group of teenagers laughing and repeating the phrase “It is what it is” after one of them utters it in an African accent. Despite initial obscurity, this video would later serve as the foundation for the meme’s viral success.

The Rise of the Meme on TikTok

Although the “It is what it is” video had been circulating on YouTube for several months, it wasn’t until March 2020 that it gained traction on the popular social media platform, TikTok. A TikTok user known as @thehodgmeister posted a meme based on the video, which quickly garnered over 182,400 likes within two weeks. This marked the beginning of the meme’s exponential spread throughout the TikTok community.

TikTok users soon began utilizing the “It is what it is” video as an exploitable for lipsync memes. The video’s format lent itself well to comedic effect, with users often employing a clone effect to enhance the humor. These humorous renditions of the meme resonated with TikTok’s predominantly young user base, propelling its popularity even further.

The Memetic Expansion

Not limited to TikTok, the “It is what it is” meme also made its way onto other social media platforms. Instagram, in particular, witnessed the meme’s proliferation as users created reaction memes utilizing the video. Memeprotector, an Instagram user, shared a meme featuring the “It is what it is” video, receiving over 9,800 views and 2,900 likes within two weeks. Another Instagram user, nova_xeno, created a Toilet Paper Crisis meme based on the video, which garnered over 52,700 views and 15,900 likes in just five days.

The Meaning Behind the Meme

The phrase “It is what it is” holds a unique power in its simplicity. It serves as a powerful expression of acceptance and contentment in the face of imperfection or unfavorable circumstances. The meme’s popularity can be attributed to the relatability of this sentiment, as individuals often encounter situations in life where they must come to terms with things beyond their control.

The Enduring Appeal of Memes

Memes have become a language of their own, allowing people to connect and communicate through shared experiences and humor. The “It is what it is” meme, with its universal message of acceptance, taps into the collective consciousness of internet users. It provides a lighthearted escape from the challenges and uncertainties of everyday life, offering a moment of levity and camaraderie within the online community.


The “It is what it is” meme has undoubtedly made its mark in the vast landscape of internet culture. Its journey from obscurity to viral fame showcases the power of memes to captivate and unite people across various platforms. This meme’s enduring appeal lies in its relatability and the universal message of acceptance it conveys. As internet culture continues to evolve, memes like “It is what it is” will undoubtedly remain an integral part of our online interactions.

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