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Is the Face of TikTok's Controversial "Jamal" Meme Dead? Here's the Scoop

Bianca Piazza - Author
By

Dec. 5 2022, Published 12:22 p.m. ET

Sociopolitical satire is one thing, but blatant racism? That's in an entirely different category. We know, your eyebrows are probably raised higher than the ceiling, but we'll explain. For those who don't know, TikTok's "Jamal" meme took the short-form content app by storm in October 2022 after creeping its way in during April of the same year.

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The Jamal meme typically involves some sort of suspect lineup — whether it be a video featuring real people or hand-selected photos stitched together — subsequent to a robbery or a mugging. A handful of the suspects are often white, not to mention guilty, and the last suspect is almost always a photo of a Black boy named "Jamal" — aka actor Abraham Clinkscales (Boo! A Madea Halloween). (It's not clear how he initially got dragged into this.)

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The white suspects could be wearing ski masks and literally holding the stolen item(s) — whether they be paintings, a wallet, or "chicken from KFC" — but in the end, innocent Jamal is always said to be the culprit.

While the meme was intended to touch on white privilege and outrageous racial stereotypes, it rubbed some people the wrong way for obvious reasons. Now, in December 2022, the controversial saga continues, as people are claiming that Jamal is dead. Let's get into this mess.

Don't worry, Jamal's death was all a hoax.

As mentioned, the signature Jamal photo is actually a photo of actor and athlete Abraham Clinkscales, who's alive and well. Though he's only a baby-faced boy in the viral photo, Abraham is now said to be 20 years old. And yes, he's in on the Jamal joke.

In a hilarious Dec. 4, 2022, TikTok video captioned "after getting blamed for everything on TikTok," Abraham is seen running away. He's a good sport.

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As for this death hoax, where did it come from? Well, many users are uploading TikTok videos featuring an edited photo of "Jamal" stamped with a fake news headline that reads "Breaking News: Jamal shot dead in Houston." Considering one TikTok also features a video of Christian Bale (The Dark Knight) as his iconic American Psycho character, Patrick Bateman (who may or may not be a serial killer) it's pretty obvious that Jamal's death is a joke — a twisted one at that.

The very-much-alive Albany State University student frequently joins in on the Jamal "fun," so be sure to check out his TikTok contributions.

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