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Events / Federal government / Health / Social justice

Brooklyn startupper leads swag surf on White House lawn, video goes viral

“I dont think y'all understand the importance of this video,” a fan tweeted. “The white house will never be this cool again.”

Million Swag Surf x #SXSL. (Photo via @amznjsn on Twitter)

Yesterday in the nation’s capital there was a swag surf on the south lawn of the White House.
It was the work of Jason Mowatt, the creator of Million Swag Surf, Trap Karaoke, and part of the team at Williamsburg-based startup Thunderclap. Mowatt created Million Swag Surf in order to bring awareness — and donors — to bone marrow cancer. The goal is to bring people together doing something fun and communal for a purpose. Mowatt says there are about 560,000 African-Americans on the national bone marrow registry and his goal is to raise that number to a million.

If you’re not familiar, swag surfing is like a group huddle set to rap music. The dance comes from the 2009 kinda hit “Swag Surfin’” by F.L.Y. (Fast Life Youngstaz). Since then, the dance has taken on a life of its own. It’s been called by BuzzFeed “The dance of our generation.”

The swag surf came during the South By South Lawn festival at and around the White House yesterday, the Obama administration’s own take on South by Southwest. Billed as a “festival of ideas, art, and action,” #SXSL featured a day of talks and music capped off by President Obama talking with Leonardo DiCaprio and Katharine Hayhoe about climate change.

Back in April, we talked to Mowatt when he started Million Swag Surf. He explained that his vision for it is that it becomes a cultural staple that puts bone marrow donation toward the forefront of people’s minds.

When reached for comment via Twitter DM Tuesday, Mowatt said of the event, “It was incredible ????”

“When I look at the social good space, you see the AIDS Walk and the Susan G. Komen 5K and you ask like, ‘What does a walk have to do with AIDS or breast cancer?’ But really it’s just an event that builds community and friendships,” he said back in April. “When I look at my generation I’m like, ‘What would we do?’ We might not do a 5K or an ice bucket challenge but we could do a swag surf.”

The idea seems to be catching on.

Mowatt’s tweet of the swag surf video on the White House lawn got more than 700 retweets and over a thousand faves. A video tweeted by writer and speaker Tyree Boyd-Pates got more than two thousand retweets. People are certainly paying attention.

Series: Brooklyn

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