17 Apr 2014

‘Because I’m happy’: UK Muslims to typhoon survivors

Videos of people dancing to Pharrell Williams’ “Happy” are pouring onto the web: most recently in a “viral” British Muslims video – but videos are also emerging from the most unlikely of places.

Happy - from Haiyan to British Muslims

Above: a Typhoon Haiyan survivor (left) and a British Muslim (right) dance to Happy.

The video, Pharrell – Happy British Muslims! #HAPPYDAY, has been viewed nearly 300,000 times since it was posted two days ago.

It was made by the Honesty Policy group to counteract “negative press, stereotypes and discrimination”.

A blog post about the video says: “We Brits have a bad rep for being a bit stiff, but this video proves otherwise. We are HAPPY. We are eclectic. We are cosmopolitan. Diverse. Creative. Fun. Outgoing. And everything you can think of.

“This video is to show the world despite the negative press, stereotypes and discrimination we are burdened with we should respond with smiles and joy, not anger.”

The video is one of a large collection inspired as a part of a campaign by Mr Williams and the United Nations Foundation.


For the annual International Day of Happiness last month, people around the world we invited to post videos of themselves dancing to his song and post them to Youtube with the hashtag #HAPPYDAY.

The campaign was designed to raise money for the UN Foundation to help it support humanitarian efforts around the world.

Two of these videos have notched up more than one million views on Facebook – a video from people in Paris and a video of people with Down’s Syndrome.

Videos have also come from surprising places. Survivors of the devastating Typhoon Haiyan, which killed more than 6,000 people and destroyed communities, have released their own version, four months after the catastrophe (see video, below).

The video is shot in Tacloban, one of the worst hit cities, and shows people dancing through the rubble that continues to litter the streets.

The video ends with the words “Never Give Up”.

Another video was shot with Ukraine’s Maidan protesters around the barricades of Kiev’s Independence Square before the ousting of President Viktor Yanukovych.

On top of the impressive dance moves on show, the backdrop shows the same places were violent clashes took place between police and protesters, and dozens of people were shot.

The film also features Ukrainians talking about what would make then happy – freedom, dignity and not being scared of militias.

In Brazil, a group of students have used the song to create a protest video about the damage construction for this year’s world cup is causing to their city.

The film is shot in Porto, and shows the students dancing around various construction sites.

Also, these kids are excellent…