ohAn often overlooked aspect of the current pandemic is the effect it has had on brands. The poor brands, which have long since stuck with a cool sounding name for having co-opted it through a deadly health crisis once a century. Remember Corona, the beer people drank before the association with illness and death became too difficult to take? Remember Delta, the airline people used to use before reminding everyone that the new Covid mutations are destined to doom humanity to a shaking wreck for decades to come? These are the real victims.
So far, the Omicron variant has escaped such a fate. This is because Omicron is such a stupid word that the only people who have ever adopted it as a name are a imposing German electrical diagnostics company and one Belgian death metal band, and neither of them seem particularly bothered by the association.
However, if you squint your eyes hard enough and pretend you can’t read, the word “Omicron” looks a bit like “Omarion.” And that’s bad news for the R&B singer of the same name who was once part of the B2K group. Because, for almost a month now, Omarion has found himself at the mercy of Twitter’s fire hose. To a whole bunch of people online, Omicron is now “the Omarion variant”. If you catch him by surprise, you tweet a gif of Omarion on The Masked Singer. If you want to show how the virus is spread, you tweet a video of Omarion dancing in the streets after a woman. If you are forced to isolate yourself, you dance an Omarion TikTok on the tip of a side-flow swab like a particularly perky bogey.
During the height of the outbreak, Omarion himself apparently remained oblivious to this association. However, he eventually released an official response. On New Years Day, Omarion uploaded three TikTok videos to help clear up any misunderstandings. “Hi, this is Omarion. I am an artist, not a variant, ”he explained. “So please know that if you meet me on the street you don’t have to isolate yourself for five days.”
“While it’s important not to touch me and to keep your distance, because you know it’s supposed to be like that, you don’t need a negative test to dance to my music,” said Omarion continued. On another video referring to his former boyband, he added that “The last time I had to do this was in 2000, when everyone confused Y2K with B2K”.
Perhaps this is Omarion’s lot. Maybe every 20 years a terrible catastrophe will befall humanity, and it will look a bit like something loosely related to something Omarion did. Maybe in 2040 we’ll be crushed by an asteroid that will become colloquially known as Fat Albert, in reference to the 2004 Omarion movie. Or maybe aliens will arrive from the planet Kourtney and Khloe Take Miami, named after the reality show Omarion appeared on for a single episode in 2019. Perhaps we’ll even be hit by a second pandemic, and science will inexplicably choose to name each new variant after a different R&B album. and disappointing, and The Deadliest Wave will carry the title of Omarion’s 2014 record, Sex Playlist. What a way to go.
Still, we have to imagine that deep down, Omarion must be quite happy that his name is now synonymous with an unimaginably virulent strain of Covid. Because now when you google the word Omarion, you are overwhelmed with the results regarding its wacky clarification. And that means all of the other news on Omarion has suddenly become a lot harder to find. This time Reuters ran a report on Omarion asking his fans to pray for him because he was in London – unharmed and inconvenienced – during the terrorist attacks of 2005? Very difficult to find now. Not impossible, but very hard.