How 2 Harvard Students' Campaign Music Video Became a Viral Sensation

It may also lead to a new career path for some of the students featured in the video.

They wanted to snag the votes of Harvard students, so James Mathew and Ify White-Thorpe, who ran for president and vice president of Harvard’s Undergraduate Council, decided to make a music video.

“Basically, coming into this campaign, we knew we wanted to do something musical, something that was going to separate us from every other ticket. We had a capacity to do something unique in that sense,” Mathew told

A few phone calls to friends and a few hours of filming later, the video was done. 

"This video encompassed everything that we were running on. It encompassed diversity and inclusion,” White-Thorpe told

The video was already generating buzz on campus. Then Ify’s brother, Uche White-Thorpe, tweeted it, and it took on a life of its own. At this point, it has more than 5 million views.

Even though celebs like Dwyane Wade, Chris Paul and Kerry Washington couldn't vote for them, they still threw their support behind the college juniors.

"We are not necessarily the most stereotypical students that you think of when you think of students who are running Harvard. You might think of the stereotypical white student with a button-up and a tie," White-Thorpe said. 

"James is a brown boy hitting 'The Whoa.' I’m a black girl with twists down to my hips. So we are not what you necessarily think of, but I think people really enjoyed that," she added.

Mathew and White-Thorpe's hard work paid off: they officially take over as the president and vice president next semester. One of the main things they're pushing for is an all-inclusive space on Harvard’s campus, like a multicultural center.

The video may lead to big things for their friends, too. Its popularity has caught the attention of some record label A&Rs, and Mathew said they are now "trying to position every one of our people in the video in the best way possible and just kinda using this platform that was truly unexpected and maybe jump-start a couple careers." 

They also want to find a way to let people know that civic engagement can be fun and potentially life-changing. It remains to be seen if they’ll be releasing a follow up track. 

“Everyone is benefiting from a situation no one really expected to get too much out of. But if we release another track, I might have to jump on it,” White-Thorpe joked.