You Need to Leave refers to a popular TikTok sound, containing the mild uproar of a crowd, followed by the voice of a high-pitched lady exclaiming “You Need to Leave!”
The sound became viral on TikTok as a reaction sound, paird by people to funny videos, where one acts or speaks in a controversial manner.
Although many online assumed, the line “You Need to Leave” was exclaimed by a random Karen, the story is more nuanced, as it was a reaction to a racist comment, uttered at a community meeting, revolving around racism, inclusion and bullying at a high school.
This fact was the first kickstarter, that brought public attention to the video, with many reacting to the views heard at the meeting. The sound was turned into a meme only a year later.
The “You Need to Leave” meme originates from the video content captured at a community meeting at the Saline Area Schools, in Saline, Michigan. The meeting was held due to the fact that students from ethnic minorities were frequently harassed and bullied in white majority schools.
At one point during the meeting, a local businessman, Adrian Iraola was telling about the impact of harassment on his child, when one of the parents Tom Burtell loudly posed the question “Then why didn’t you stay in Mexico?”. This outburst resulted in a shocked uproar, with most parents present gasping unanimously. Almost immediately after that, a lady with a high-pitched voice raised her voice, telling Burtell “You Need to Leave.”
A video of the moment was uploaded to YouTube on February 3rd, 2020.
While the moment didn’t instantly turn into a TikTok sensation, reactions quickly spread onto Twitter, after the incident made national news.
Memes were also created at the time, although they mainly focused on Tom Burtell’s resemblance to George Costanza, from Seinfeld. One thing we can definietly agree on, is that Burtell would receive No Soup at Ali Yeganeh’s place.
Despite the fact, that the “You Need to Leave” incident broke national news in February 2020, it needed until March 2021, to turn into a TikTok phenomenon. It was at that time, videos with the sound were starting to swarm the platform. There are several edits to the sound, although the most popular was the one with two pops, followed by the sound of the crowd gasping and saying “You Need to Leave.”
Since March 2021, countless memes and creations were shared, removed and reposted online, mostly originating from TikTok and being reuploaded to sites like Twitter, YouTube and Reddit.
Despite the passage of time, “You Neet to Leave” remained a popular meme worldwide, with its popularity peaking in March 2022, one year after the beginning of the TikTok trend. Since then, the format has been slowly declining, although it is still widely embraced both on TikTok and elsewhere online.