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A Pop Culture Case Study
Written on 08.26.04, at 9:24 pm
At this point in popular culture, we are all aware of the claim that Kelis' milkshake brings all the boys to the yard.

Yet, is that actually the case? Could one milkshake be that powerful, as to bring all the boys to the yard?

Below, I will examine the validity of Kelis' argument, and attempt to discern whether or not she does, in fact, wield such power.


Were we to take the words of Kelis literally, it would stand to reason that she could bring the entire population of the world's men to the yard.

The current population of the world is 6,388,971,752 people.

Taking a fairly standard assumption that males make up roughly 49% of world population, that places their number at approximately 3,130,596,159.

This presents a problem, as three billion men are apt to consume a lot of "milkshake." The liquid aside, assuming that each man can consume one pint of the ice cream needed for said milkshake, that amounts to over 1,565,298,245 quarts, or 391,324,519 gallons of ice cream. In the year 2000, the US produced 1.6 billion gallons alone, so this task would call for nearly 1/4 of the ice cream in the United States.

To be more sensible, let us work upon the idea that she merely means all the "boys" in America.

This lowers the number to a mere 143,037,260.

Now, Kelis uses the term "boys" in a very loose sense. While she does intend to convey the message that her offering brings those of the male persuasion, it is safe to determine that she does mean "boys" as men of legal age, e.g., those over eighteen years of age.

Kelis herself is in her mid-twenties, so for the purposes of this study, we will place the ages of Kelis' boys in the range of those 20 to 30 years of age only. This is not to say that Kelis is not apt to bring those older than 30 to her "yard", it merely narrows our parameters.

This now gives us the number of males in the United States, aged 20-30 years, which is 20,436,627.

Twenty million "boys" would fill the Las Vegas Convention Center (the largest in the country) more than tenfold, so this number is still too high to rationally work with.

As many musicians draw upon their upbringing for inspiration, one may come to the conclusion that the "yard" would be in Harlem, where the singer grew up.

Applying this variable gives us 729,534 males in New York County, where Harlem resides.

To again keep with an age demographic, the number of men 20-30 years of age is 451,826.

We are still working with near half a million men, so as Kelis has been romantically linked with the rapper Nas, it can be hypothesized that she enjoys the company of African-American men.

New York county's racial breakdown places African-Americans as 17.4% of its total population.

Applying that to the male population of 451,826, we get the approximation that 78,618 of these men are African-American.

While feasible, this is still a grossly large number. To alleviate a macro scope, it may be sensible to localize this to a specific neighborhood.

One square mile in New York county holds a staggering 66,490 people. Applying our previous variables for race and gender, we are finally left with the number 5,689 African-American men within a square mile of what we are working with to be Kelis' neighborhood.

Street fairs and other outdoor events in New York City routinely draw thousands of people, and Central Park, at about 1.3 square miles has nearly 55,000 visitors per day, so 5,689 in a "yard" may not be outrageous.

The area however, is difficult. Providing that each "boy" has a barely comfortable 2 square feet of space, Kelis' "yard" would have to be 11,378 square feet, or roughly 1/6 of the area that Bill Gate's home and accompanying buildings cover.

Giving her the benefit of the doubt, we will say that the "yard" is in fact 11,378 square feet, and continue.

In the song's lyrics, "milkshake" is never pluralized, so it can be concluded that this is a singular item.

A standard milkshake glass has roughly a 16 ounce (1 pint) capacity, and weighs about 1/2 a pound (0.8oz).

I'd like to imagine that the "boys" are fairly body-conscious, especially to be courting a celebrity, so let's operate on the belief that each "boy" will be tempted by only 1/2 a standard serving of the "milkshake" - which would be 8 ounces.

This gives us a "milkshake" with the volume of 45,512 ounces, or 356 gallons.

A glass needed to hold 356 gallons of "milkshake" would need to be 47 cubic feet, or, this:

Applying the formula that a standard glass is 0.8 ounces, and it's volume is 16 ounces, we can put together an idea that a 45,512 ounce milkshake would take a glass weighing 22,756 ounces, for a combined total of 68,268 ounces, or 4,267 pounds, or just over 2 tons.

Which is about the weight of a Ford Explorer Sport Trac.

As the current world record for a milkshake is is 6,000 gallons, the 356 gallon shake is highly probable.

Finally, to break down the three most important variables in the lyrics, we can, based upon our limiting the parameters, conclude the following:

Kelis' milkshake could, in fact, bring all the 5,689 boys to her yard, which would have to measure 11,378 square feet, provided, of course, that it was a 2 ton, 356 gallon confection.

The flavor of which - is up to her.


Your Host and Emcee...dizboy.

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A Pop Culture Case Study - 9:24 pm , 08.26.04


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