Why Are People Posting Pictures of Justin Timberlake? The "It's Gonna Be May" Meme, Explained


May 1 2023, Published 12:21 p.m. ET

The rise of internet culture has led to many hilarious memes and in-jokes that resurface yearly. One that continues to amuse the general population on May 1st annually and features a photo of musician Justin Timberlake saying, "It's Gonna Be May." While it's not the most outrageous meme, people take to the internet every year to figure out what Justin has to do with spring.

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For those that weren't around in the '90s to experience Justin's rise to musical fame in the boy band NSYNC, keep reading for what you need to know about the "It's Gonna Be May" meme, explained.

Members of the band *NSYNC attend the 2001 Grammy Awards.
Source: Getty Images
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Here's the "It's Gonna Be May" meme, explained.

According to Know Your Meme, the meme first surfaced around 2012, created by Tumblr user amyricha on Jan. 29, 2012. The phrase comes from a misheard lyric by NSYNC vocalist Justin Timberlake performing the song "It's Gonna Be Me" in 2000. Because of Justin's distinctive vocals, some users believed the lyric to be "It's Gonna Be May," and thus, a meme was born.

Users can see the meme crop up the last week in April to usher in the beginning of May, but some people on the internet have mixed feelings about it. One wrote, "I’m gonna need all of u boomers to put that tired “it’s gonna be may” justin timberlake meme on ice this year PLS," while another said, "I know some find the "It's gonna be May" jokes annoying, and that's valid! Personally I love our little annual memes. It feels like an inside joke except everyone gets to laugh."

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Whether or not you participate in the annual "It's Gonna Be May" jokes, May seems to be a very meme-able month. The pop culture holiday "May the Fourth" or "Star Wars Day" is also the first week of the month, mixing the influx of NSYNC memes with photos of Luke Skywalker and friends.

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