Wearing animal onesies on late night TV is starting to be a real trend. We were recently blown away this August when Meghan Trainor and Jimmy Fallon wore giraffe and dinosaur onesies.
But that couldn’t possibly have prepared us for what happened next – members of the South African rap-rave group Die Antwoord showed up on “Jimmy Kimmel Live” in September wearing not one, not two, but THREE different animal onesies to perform their new hit song “Banana Brain” live on stage.
We were totally bananas after watching this video. And so were people around the world, judging by the number of views it has already received on YouTube – nearly 400,000 views and counting, ever since it was uploaded by “Jimmy Kimmel Live” on September 20.
What’s so glorious about the “Banana Brain” performance on “Jimmy Kimmel” Live is how it just so perfectly captured the whole spirit of the Zef counter-cultural movement that Die Antwoord has helped to pioneer back in Capetown, South Africa.
But what is Zef? Yo-Landi Visser, the blonde vocalist of Die Antwoord, recently defined Zef to the British media as “You’re poor but you’re fancy. You’re poor but you’re sexy. You’ve got style.”
That would just about sum up the Die Antwoord onesies performance, which featured the appearance of two backup dancers in kigurumis – a blue one and a green one – followed up by lead singer Yo-Landi Visser showing up in a Pink Gloomy Bear kigurumi and the tattooed vocalist, Ninja, showing up completely shirtless on stage. Add in glowing neon lights, a catchy club beat, musical samples from the Toni Basil song “Mickey,” a mix of hard-edged rap, soft vocals and irresistible dance hooks, and it all somehow worked. Not to mention – the kigurumis are originally from Japan, so there’s a lot to unpack here if you’re a culture critic.
So by now you’re probably wondering: Where can I pick up one of those Die Antwoord onesies? The good news is that two of them are available right now on the Kigurumi.com website (The third one, Doraemon, unfortunately, is not yet available in North America). Yo-Landi Visser was rocking the Pink Gloomy Bear onesie. And the backup dancer-raver was wearing the neon-green Gachapin onesie. (In case you’re wondering… Gachapin is a bucktoothed dinosaur and Pink Gloomy Bear is a naughty grizzly).
Watching that Die Antwoord performance on “Jimmy Kimmel Live” got us thinking: Was this the first time that this remarkably talented and creative South African group ever rapped in kigurumis? It turns out that in 2011, Ninja and Yo-Landi Visser wore them in a short film by Harmony Korine (who famously directed “Kids”) called “Umshini Wam,” which can be translated as “Bring the Machine.” (In Zef culture, “machine” refers to “machine gun,” and the video is about a disabled couple that loves gangsta rap) That video has picked up over 5.5 million views on YouTube!
And before that, there was “Fok Julle Naaiers,” a rap song by Die Antwoord featuring a music video in which Yo-Landi Visser again wore a kigurumi. That YouTube video was even more popular, racking up over 13.6 million views.
If “Banana Brain” turns out to be as much of a smash song as we think it will be (the VICE Noisey blog has already called it “one of the most club ready tracks in the Die Antwoord arsenal”) – we’re going to be seeing a lot of club goers and ravers wearing kigurumis when they go out this fall and winter!