“I got my ass whoopings posted on Facebook so many times, I just started to embrace it. I made me an intro that plays before the videos start. It’s 2Chainz saying “what’cha done did now?!” Since then I been getting way more views. It looks more professional,” surmises 14-year-old Jerel McGee.
A self described “delinquent,” Jerel has been on the receiving end of “ass whoopings” from his mother all his life, but now they’re being recorded and posted on social media. Instead of being embarrassed of the leather belt beatings, Jerel’s decided to welcome the notoriety. Barely a teenager, Jerel already knows, “there’s no such thing as bad publicity these days.”
Two of his videos were among the top 10 most viewed on Facebook in 2015.
“I’m a big-ass star now, people see me, take their belts off and wave ‘em at me. It’s humbling,” Jerel says.
Jerel’s mother Constance McGee says she first decided to record herself beating Jerel in a bid to teach him a lesson.
“He was messin’ around in school, [and] smoking, I didn’t know what to do. So I figured if I embarrassed him in front of the whole world he’d decide to correct himself,” Constance theorizes. Unfortunately, the opposite happened as Jerel found himself the butt of jokes in school, fighting every day. Ironically, those fights—based on his mother’s decision to record his beatings—led to more recorded beatings.
The first so called “e-beatings” didn’t find their way to Facebook, as Jerel’s technological prowess outsmarted his mother.
“He would do things like unhook the cords or change settings so the webcam didn’t play,” Constance says. I would be on the verge of whooping him, then I’m suddenly on the computer troubleshooting video drivers.”
In those instances, Constance would make Jerel go to sleep early instead of beating him. Constance says she eventually realized Jerel was behind the webcam mishaps, and made him configure the webcam in front of her before every beating. In one instance, Constance even made Jerel visit a local Best Buy to purchase a USB cord needed for the webcam.
“In my day, you had to go out on that tree and get your own switch, so I’m continuing the tradition,” Constance says with her arms crossed.
Initially uneasy at the prospect of essentially being beaten in public, Jerel would schedule the videos on his Mother’s Facebook account in the early morning hours, when fewer Facebook users were online. Constance noticed his deception and beat him.
“I was asking myself ‘if I have 501 friends on Facebook, why did those videos only get two likes?’ I can’t lie, I took a little bit of frustration at my so-called friends out on Jerel,” Constance says with a chuckle.
The first video to go viral was on the heels of the Floyd Mayweather-Manny Pacquiao boxing match. In the video, a kneeling Jerel protects his legs with his arms and shakes his head at his mother’s lashes, imitating Mayweather’s famous “nope” rebuff of Pacquiao’s punches.
The video ended up on Worldstarhiphop.com, and Constance’s Facebook account gained hundreds of thousands of followers. The duo eventually created a Facebook page specifically for the beatings.
Controversy arised as many outraged Twitter users sought to have Child Protective Services (CPS) called on Constance. The circumstance became surreal when Twitter user BitchardFuckMeRight posted a phone conversation she allegedly had with Fulton County CPS officer Peter Buttercrumb.
In the recording, Buttercrumb noted, “we don’t have time or jurisdiction to get into domestic disputes between a man and his wife.” When told that the 5’11” Jerel wasn’t Constance’s husband, but her child, Buttercrumb paused and said, “5’11” Black kid..he’s a man.”
Constance says she was incensed by the comments, noting, “[Buttercrumb] was only comfortable saying that ’cause his ancestors had no problem lashing young slaves to discipline and control them. I only beat my son to discipline and control him.”
The controversy is lost on Jerel. “It’s messed up he would say that. I am just a kid,” he says.
Jerel notes his increasing size, and the fact that his mother knows the leather belt doesn’t hurt him anymore. Is he having second thoughts about being beaten?
“No, I’m just gonna buy my Mom a poolstick to level the playing field.”
Sitting on his couch, icing the purpling welts on his arms, Jerel talks more expansion:
“I read that the newest trend for social is crossmarketing. I’m gonna apply that to my videos. I’m gonna make Vine videos, where I do things like trip her, or read her hemorrhoid medicine out loud while her friends are over here. Then that’ll lead into the longer Facebook beatings a day or two later.”