Chad Prather’s bio calls him an entertainer and a storyteller, but it’s an op-ed piece that’s getting him a lot of attention these days.
Prather, the host of Ride Television Network’s It’s My Backyard, grew up in Augusta, Ga., and has called the Fort Worth area — “not Dallas!” his bio stresses — home since 2003. He has a YouTube page where he’s been posting videos regularly for at least a year.
If you stumbled onto his page, you’d spot him for the pro he is — his delivery is as smooth and quick as a top-notch DJ’s or a stand-up comedians, and he knows how to talk to the camera, even in a two-minute take of just him talking in the front seat of his truck.
Except that one viewer suggested he didn’t sound “smart” enough, because of his Southern accent, and that led to a now-viral clip titled “Unapologetically Southern.”
“Somebody said, ‘Chad, we’re offended by your Southern accent,” Prather begins in the clip. “ ‘It proves to us that you’re not intelligent.’ ”
“I wish that I could articulate my thoughts and enunciate my words as well as you master communicators must be capable of doing,” Prather enunciates articulately before pointing out that where he grew up, a Southern dialect was about the only option and that nobody in his adopted home state has ever stopped him for using a phrase such as “y’all” or “gonna” or “fixin’ to.”
“Yet you say it makes me sound less than intelligent,” Prather says. “You can stop listening. In fact, nobody ever invited you into the conversation. It’s OK,” Prather adds with a hint of menace in his grin. “Just walk away.” Prather goes into a spiel about Southern etiquette, chivalry, open-mindedness and respect for other people.
“I’m sorry if the way we talk offends you,” Prather says before adding just a little more quietly, “Not really.”
The video, which has been around for a couple of months, is up to more than 1.6 million YouTube views at this writing. For comparison, another 2-month-old video you’d think might get some traction, titled “Disrespect our flag? Here’s a challenge for you then,” has just over 204,000 views.
Prather appeared on Fox and Friends Weekend this weekend to talk about becoming a “YouTube sensation.”
“I think that we’ve been in a time where the South in a lot of ways has been ostracized, made fun of and even polarized,” Prather said on the show. “It’s pretty easy to stereotype folks from the South and hear a dialect. They hear slang and they want to make fun of it. I felt the [video] was a way to speak back and say ‘This is who we really are and how we really think.’ ”
Prather also pointed out on the show that he thinks that people should embrace other cultures and that people are trying to be offended as quickly as they can.
Prather’s most recent video is titled “Let’s Fix the Real Problems” and springs off the mass shootings last week at a community college in Roseburg, Ore. It’s about bigger issues than Southern accents.