TikTok creator posts viral video revealing controversial history connected to James Charles’ new song

By Charlie Sawyer

Published Jun 20, 2024 at 12:29 PM

Reading time: 1 minute

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James Charles has been on the internet for almost a decade, and during that time he’s been at the centre of countless different controversies. Most recently, the influencer found himself in hot water—quite literally—after he announced the upcoming release of a new song, titled ‘Bring Me Water’, due to be released on Friday 28 June 2024. While most of us took the bizarre and unhinged move as simply a way for Charles to recapture relevancy online, some keen-eyed netizens made a rather astute observation.

For anyone who isn’t familiar with James Charles lore, there’s a viral video/meme from back in the day where Charles is singing to a group of fans, and he’s singing the song ‘Bring Me a Little Water, Sylvie’.

@jamescharles

BRING ME WATER 🔥💦 Pre-Save my next single now, coming June 28th at midnight 🤭🫶🏼

♬ original sound - James Charles
@allanthedoll

Replying to @nad James has so many hits #jamescharles @James Charles

♬ original sound - Allan

Shortly after Charles announced the song’s release date in an awkward green screen video, one TikTok user, Annette, pointed out that the song in question has a long history associated with the Black South and also with enslavement plantations.

@annetteswrld

From the Black South, enslavement, to Huddie William Ledbetter “Leadbelly,” to Moira Smiley, to James Charles. Lets talk about Bring Me Water Sylvie and the icon of folkmusic Leadbelly. #jamescharles #leadbelly #jamescharlespalette #blackhistory #blackhistorymonth #blackartist #musichistory #historynerd #ericclapton #musiclives #louisianacheck #louisianatiktok #americanhistory

♬ original sound - annette

The creator goes on to note: “This is due to none other than legendary folk singer and musician Huddie Ledbetter, his name informally was referred to as ‘Lead Belly’. Lead Belly had quite a tumultuous life, this video by James made me want to talk about this piece of history and where ‘Bring Me a Little Water, Sylvie’ comes from.”

Annette continues to explain how the origins of the song refer to a man working as a labourer calling his wife Silvie to bring him water. Other reports also suggest that the song has direct links to plantation work.

“‘Bring Me a Little Water, Sylvie’ was definitely a song that was influenced by the workings of that plantation and so I just wanted to talk about that and I hope that James Charles and others who might sing this song keep that in mind and keep that impact in mind when they sing it as well,” the TikToker concluded.

Other social media users also made these observations on X:

At the time of writing, Charles has not responded to the comments online regarding the song.

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