Creators Explain Inspiration for Popular “Happy Grand Rapids” Video

Posted at 6:43 PM, Dec 26, 2013
and last updated 2013-12-26 18:44:19-05

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich.– It’s an internet video, based in Grand Rapids, that’s quickly making the rounds across the country.

A local photographer and his friends have recreated a popular song by making it unique to Grand Rapids.

The video was posted 12 a.m. Christmas and already has thousands of hits.

The song is called “Happy” and is performed by rapper Pharrell. It takes place in downtown L.A. But Atikh Bana could only picture one city as showing the true meaning of being happy.

“I came across the 24 hour video Pharrell made and if it was any other music video, I don’t think I would have been that inspired,” said Bana.

“But, because it was promoting so much positivity, I just instantly became connected with that project and I was really inspired.”

Using Pharrells song, Bana and his friends recreated the video featuring people and places around downtown GR. 

They shot the video over the weekend of Dec. 21. The Rosa Parks ice rink, blue bridge and GVSU’s downtown campus are all prominent.

“There wasn’t much as far as direction involved in terms of directing people because it’s all about self-expression,” explained Bana. “It was just a matter of getting a variety of people, a diverse group of people who can showcase Grand Rapids and showcase this vibrant persona.”

The crew was pretty surprised by the talent they came across.

While the weather may have been less than desirable, Bana says it only reinforces the message of the song.

“Seeing it on that TV screen kind of brought tears to my eyes because on that TV screen, the people you see are your friends, they’re your family,” said Bana. “It’s not really about us, it’s about how connected we are and how happy that can make you when you see your friends showing their happiness on-screen.”

Bana said they’ve reached out to Pharrell’s team. While they havent heard from them directly, they did get a shout-out on Twitter.