WorldStarHipHop is a content aggregating video blog. Founded in 2005, the site averages 1.1 million unique visitors a day. Alexa ranks the site 247th in site traffic in the United States and 983rd for worldwide traffic. The site, operated by Worldstar, LLC, was founded by Lee "Q" O'Denat at 33, a Hollis, Queens-based hip-hop fan, and a dropout from Grover Cleveland High School, who describes himself as a "Haitian ghetto nerd". Described by Vibe as a "remnant of the Geocities generation", the site regularly features public fighting caught on video, music videos and assorted content targeted to young, black audiences. O'Denat refers to the site as the "CNN of the ghetto." In 2012, Alexa Internet stated "Compared with all Internet users, its users are disproportionately African-American and they tend to be childless, moderately educated men 18–24 who browse from school and home."
Lee "Q" O'Denat started the website in August 2005 with his wife Brianna Padilla as a distributor of mixtapes. Shortly after the website's beginning, hackers destroyed the website. O'Denat later restarted it as a content aggregator. Thereon, WorldStar focused on hip hop beefs, in addition to softcore pornographic video models, which were previously popular through "street DVDs" such as Smack, Cocaine City, The Come Up and other raunchier counterparts. O'Denat used the setup of OnSmash.com, a website which had already been distributing that sort of material. O'Denat said that this led to tension between the two websites. He added "Once we went 100 percent video, showing that original hood stuff, we prevailed."
The P. Diddy promotional video of Cîroc vodka premiered on WorldStar. By 2012, BET had voted World Star Hip Hop as the "top hip hop and urban culture website" for three years in a row. On August 5, 2014, Deadline reported that a Paramount was working on a film based on the site with Russell Simmons expected to produce the film.
Videos of fights
The website is infamous for posting videos of violent fights, public sexual acts, child shaming, and child abuse. Many of the videos of violent events have gone viral. For this reason, WorldStarHipHop has been classified as a shock site. The Gothamist blog describes the site as "an Internet cesspool that's cashed in big on senseless fight videos. The site's popularity has created a sort of voyeuristic feedback loop, in which disassociated bystanders immediately videotape violent incidents and act as if they're already watching a video on the Internet." Jeff Himmelman of The New York Times stated that the website "does many things but mostly hosts videos of fights."
David Zurawik of The Baltimore Sun said that "Now in its sixth year, WorldStar is seen by many critics as yet another example of the coarsening of American culture and life—another low on a downward continuum that extends from the Jerry Springer-style trash-talk shows of the 1980s and 1990s through to the TMZ.com and RadarOnline websites of today." Some media observers argued that, in the words of Zurawik, "because of its African-American identity, it has the potential to be used by some viewers to create or fuel stereotypes of urban America as an out-of-control, chaotic space dominated by young, violent, African-American men." Nsenga Burton, the editor at large of The Root and an associate professor at Goucher College, described the site as "basically shock video. They comb the pop cultural landscape for videos that are shocking on multiple levels and feed into peoples' voyeuristic tendencies."
As of 2012, in some videos of violent fights, people chant "World Star" in recognition that the video may be posted on the website.
One 2012 video, showing an Elyria, Ohio (Greater Cleveland) woman, Tashay D. Edwards beating another woman, went viral. Edwards became so well known that it trended on Twitter along with the name "WorldStarHipHop". The video received about one million views in a single day.
Bill O'Reilly attacked WorldStarHipHop and its president after watching a video of a kid talking about his plans on killing then-president George W. Bush. O'Reilly expressed his feelings by saying, "I believe the Secret Service should arrest the parents of this kid and the purveyor of the website (Q)", calling it a "crime" that this was allowed up after the video was banned on other sites.
WorldStarHipHop has been in cases involving lawsuits for copyright infringement. In one case, Scott v. WorldStarHipHop, a video surfaced of a fight between a man (Scott) and his current and former girlfriend. The video was recorded by a Mr. Seymour and posted to the site. WSHH names the video "Disgraceful: College Fight In NYC Breaks Out Between A Guy, His Girl & Another Girl In Class! (Man Strong Arm's [sic] The Student. Hitting Her With Body Shots)." Shortly after the video was posted Scott was given copyright to the video by Mr. Seymour. He filed for a takedown notice so that WSHH would take down the video. He explained that WS did not have his permission to put up the video of the fight.
Rapper 50 Cent also sued WorldStarHipHop in 2009 for using his image on their site without his permission. 50 Cent claimed that WorldStar and O'Denat used his images on the website which led people to the belief that he was one of the owners of the site. He explained O'Denat tarnished his image by having his image up on the site without his permission. After a five-year battle, 50 Cent finally won the case against WorldStar.
Beginning in 2013, WorldstarHipHop has increasingly gained a large following and recognition for its weekly Vine compilations. Using Vine's most popular videos from each week, WorldStar creates relatively short montages of explicit content showcasing acts of violence, sexual dancing, parody, and playful teasing of stereotypes. These compilations have become increasingly popular for their ability to encompass almost everything one desires to observe when browsing WorldStarHipHop.com, and organize this content into a condensed visual experience. These videos, although still titled "Vine Compilations", have expanded to feature clips from Instagram, and even select submissions from individuals. Because of the ability to enjoy the most popular Vine segments of each week through these compilations, many audiences simply resort to WorldStar rather than the Vine app itself.