Lately, I find myself worshipping at the Church of Orlando Jones.
The 46- year old, self-proclaimed (and with street cred to back it up) fangirl has won the internet, and if you don’t know, now you know. With articles published within the last year or so on The Daily Dot, BuzzFeed and Vulture–basically the pop culture top 3–focusing on his positive interactions with fans and fandom in general, it’s hard not to know who Orlando is and what he means to those whom take this fandom life seriously. I’ve loved Orlando since Evolution (oh, yeah, I went there). The man gets around when it comes to random roles across the genres, but he seems to have found a home on the hit FOX television series, Sleepy Hollow as Captain Frank Irving.
I’m going to admit right now, Sleepy Hollow is on my mental queue of shows to watch. It wasn’t on my radar til the Christmas hiatus, and now, of course, Hulu and Fox.com only have episodes 7 through the season 1 finale but I MUST watch from episode 1 DUH. So, I suppose the show will have to wait until A) Someone I know downloads it and I can watch it that-a-way or B) I actually purchase at least the first 5 episodes on iTunes. That being said, I can still love the man, can’t I? If it’s wrong, I don’t wanna be right, and here are 10 reasons why.
10) He’s a fan and doesn’t care what you think about it
The fandom can smell fake a mile away. Don’t mess with our feels, friends, or we will devour you! That being said, Orlando doesn’t need to prove his “true fan” status to me. He trolls Tumblr, Twitter and WhoSay because he legitimately enjoys getting emotional over popular culture, just live every other fangirl/boy out there. Don’t believe me? Check out his tags on Tumblr. They’re literally the best thing since forever.
9) He asked fans to donate to jrCEOs for his birthday this year
On Orlando’s birthday (April 10), instead of posting drunk pics of himself all over the interwebs and partying like a fool, he asked fans to donate to jrCEOs, a youth mentoring program that “promotes positive outcomes such as improved self-esteem, improved social skills and knowledge of career opportunities that foster success later in life.” Stay classy, OJ.
8) #SuperSleepy Tweets
So, apparently, OJ enjoys a bit of season 9 Supernatural. Fans found this out November 2013, when he pioneered the #SuperSleepy hashtag on Twitter and live tweeted during a few episodes with fans and stars of the cult acclaimed most awesome show ever made (I’m not biased). The pic below (which I’m pretty sure he made himself) will live on in infamy.
Also, these tweets are fairly epic.
7) He is a Transformative Works advocate
I recently woke up way too early on Saturday March 29, 2014 to live chat with Orlando Jones and the geeks over at the Organization for Transformative Works, also known as the mama bear of Archive of Our Own (AO3), for a serious sit down discussion about fan produced works. This interesting and somewhat intimidating conversation between a few fierce advocates of fan-created work covered everything from the Jason Gordon Levitt project “Hit Record to an on-the-fly slash ship between Bach/Tchaikovsky (championed by OJ) that I was not really following but still loved watching unfurl. Not only can Orlando hold his own with some seriously intense fanfic authors/readers/writers in discussion, but he openly advocates the validity of sites such as Tumblr as a way for fandom to gain “mainstream acceptance” as a “social movement”.
Fanworks should not have specific/undue influence over the creative choices that “creators” make. It needs to continue to function as its own ecosystem that co-exists with canon but also has autonomy to be critical, to explore themes and ideas that creators cannot (or will not) make due to the commercial nature/necessity of premium IP. In addition, critical/academic analysis is useful and places original works in a larger social and cultural construct but when it crosses the line into confrontation, acrimony, and accusation that pits one group of fans against another in a circular echo chamber of one upmanship, shaming and outrage it reinforces the negative perception of fans and their occasionally myopic perspective.
6) He has a meme for every situation
Live tweeting with the #SPNFamily? He’s got a meme for that.
Notices me obsessively posting about him on Twitter? He’s got a GIF for that, too.
The man is funny, don’t try to deny it. Combine a wicked sense of humor, vast useless Tumblr knowledge with perfect comedic timing and you get Orlando Jones’ memes. He is a purveyor of awesome.
5) He’s a comic book hero
I am an admitted novice in the comic book world, but it seems that Orlando Jones is not. A man of many flavors, check out the first episode of Tainted Love, the graphic novel/YouTube sensation created by Orlando Jones and directed by Avi Youabian on the Machima YouTube Channel. This shit is insane.
4) The swag, son
So, not only is OJ a full time cast member of Sleepy Hollow, consistently participating all sorts of talk shows, web and magazine interviews, but he tweets a shit ton. So much so, that when he hit his 10,000th tweet, he created this oh-so perfect parody video to the tune of “No Diggity” to celebrate and also created some hype around his Shorty Award nomination.
Ok, so my husband loves this movie and, when I told him I was writing about Orlando Jones, the first thing the hubs said was “He’s hilarious in Evolution,” and yes, yes OJ really is. This 2001 funny alien flick starring David Duchovny, Julianne Moore and Orlando Jones (among others) is nothing but pure, silly fun. I think I might watch it again, tonight.
2) He’s a black writer of popular culture (my hero!)
Check out his IMBD. This dude has been penning television shows since 1991 and A Different World and doesn’t look to be stopping any time soon. His work is edgy, funny and always true to popular culture. I’m impressed and jealous and swooning all at the same time.
1) HE TOTALLY SHIPS DESTIEL
I’m just going to let the images speak for themselves here.
I love you Orlando. Follow me on Twitter, mmkay? We can exchange snarky comments about wankers and trade fan fic recs.
The Collectiva Diva
Update 12/2014: OJ totally follows me on Twitter and you should too @collectivadiva
Find Orlando on Twitter, Tumblr and Fox’s Sleepy Hollow, which was recently renewed for a second season, so I have at least the summer to catch up.