It’s gonna be May

[its guh-nuh bee mey]

What does It's gonna be May mean?

It’s gonna be May is a meme that turns NSYNC’s 2000 hit single “It’s Gonna Be Me” into a humorous celebration ahead of the month of May.

Examples of It’s gonna be May


Examples of It’s gonna be May
it’s gonna be May the fourth be with you
@shqne, April, 2018
I have deep love for the “it’s gonna be May” meme.
@lochnessia_ March, 2018
So much had changed since then[…] The rise and fall of ‘NSYNC, the invention of smartphones, [Justin Timberlake’s] solo career, lots of new flavors of Hot Pockets, his acting career, Jessica, Silas. But still, the line echoed, not only in his head, but across American culture[...] “It’s gonna be May.
Sarah Aswell, SheKnows, May, 2017

Where does It’s gonna be May come from?

It's gonna be May

The late 1990s boy band *NSYNC’s “It’s Gonna Be Me” was released on their second album, No Strings Attached, in 2000. The song boasts that a man will get a jaded woman to love him. As its chorus goes: “Baby when you finally / Get to love somebody / Guess what / It’s gonna be me.” For the final line, band-member Justin Timberlake notably stylizes his pronunciation of me to sound more like may.

In early 2012, Tumblr user amyricha played with this pronunciation, posting a meme of a young Justin Timberlake with the text It’s gonna be may. Later that March, BuzzFeed notably posted a picture of the meme as printed out and pasted on the last day of April on a calendar. The short article was titled “Wait, What Month Is It Going To Be?”

It’s gonna be May quickly spread on the internet, becoming so popular that by April, 2014, President Obama captioned a picture of himself with Justin Timberlake in the White House with It’s gonna be May. The post received almost half a million likes. In 2016, Justin Timberlake canonized the meme when he tweeted on April 29th: “Everybody…It is ACTUALLY GONNA BE MAY! #canyoumemeyourself.” Over 50,000 people favorited the tweet.

It’s gonna be May further spread in popular culture, with media outlets such as Good Morning America, Time, and Entertainment Weekly commenting on the meme in 2017. By then, former *NSYNC member Lance Bass described the meme as an “annual tradition.” Rival boy bands joined the fun in 2017, too. The Backstreet Boys posted a response meme featuring the face of member Nick Carter and As long as you love May, playing on the band’s 1997 single “As Long As You Love Me.” Other songs have gotten similar meme May treatments: You’re Gonna Love Mayyyyyyyy, a play on a lyric from Jennifer Hudson’s 2006 “And I Am Telling You I’m Not Going” and May Yeah May, from Joan Jett’s 1982 cover of “I Love Rock ‘N’ Roll.”

It’s gonna be May has become so annually viral, as Vox media has reported, that YouTube plays of “It’s Gonna Be Me” have spiked near the end of April since the meme started. As is common in contemporary internet culture, many people have self-referentially “remixed” the meme. One variant fuses It’s gonna be May with the “May the Fourth be with you” catchphrase on Star Wars Day. Another plays on the short Roses are red poem, featuring a picture of Timberlake captioned: “Roses are red, April is grey, but in a few days,” with the meme text left implied.  

Who uses It’s gonna be May?

It’s gonna be May is widely used in the months leading up to May as a fun and knowing internet tradition. People may post the original meme, its simple text, or subsequent variations on it, including GIFs.

The meme has become so popular that it’s often referenced ironically, used to comment on meme and internet culture more generally. Its popularity has also led some people to reference It’s gonna be May in colloquial speech.

Members of *NSYNC and the entertainment industry and media often take advantage of the It’s gonna be May meme when discussing the boy band, which has experienced a nostalgic resurgence in the 2010s. For instance, in March, 2018, the Hollywood Walk of Fame announced it was unveiling its “star” for *NSYNC on April 30th that year, prompting Lance Bass to tweet: “How fitting this ceremony will take place on It’s Gonna Be May Day! See y’all there!”

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