May 13, 2021

Prospect Sconsultation

The health experts

UCSF School of Medicine students make parody video of ‘WAP,’ ‘Tik Tok’ and ‘Formation’

3 min read

Last year, the world at large, or at least fans of Cardi B and Megan Thee Stallion, were introduced to the very NSFW acronym “WAP.”

But in a recently released UCSF School of Medicine parody video, the acronym has a very different meaning.

As part of a longtime tradition at medical schools across the country, the first-year students at UCSF typically produce a music video to show their school pride and identity, unveiled during Accepted Student Week in April when prospective enrollees tour the campus.

This year, UCSF dropped perhaps its most ambitious video ever, a seven-minute medley that combined Ke$ha’s “Tik Tok,” Beyonce’s “Formation” and Cardi B and Megan Thee Stallion’s “WAP,” which in a medical school context translates to “we aid patients.” The video was directed by four first-year students: Kiranjot Kaur, Neha Pondicherry, Richard W. Kim and Audrey Mvemba, who began working on the project together in October 2020. 

“We just wanted accepted students to get a taste of our class since they weren’t able to come here during interview season,” said Mvemba. 

Before choosing to attend UCSF in 2020, each of the four directors had watched videos made by other prospective schools. For Kaur, UCSF’s history of consistently ranking in the top five nationally for both research and primary care was her main motivator, but the school’s culture also played a role. Obviously the production value of a parody of Ariana Grande’s “7 rings” wasn’t a make-or-break factor, but these types of videos show the personality of the student body. The students at UCSF wanted to reflect their own identity in this year’s video too.

A photo from UCSF School of Medicine’s music video shoot.

Courtesy of Audrey Mvemba

“UCSF really stands for diversity, and the city itself is such a diverse city. So we wanted to express that through the video with not only the students who starred in the video but also the song selections as well,” said Kim.

To pick the songs, the team polled the student body. A professional music producer named Chris “YOSHIH” Shih and music director Emmanuel Agu helped create polished instrumentals of each track, recorded vocals sung by students in a home studio and mixed them together into a seamless medley. A cast of 40 to 50 dancers took part in the video.

Most in-person acceptance week events were canceled for health reasons, so the associated budget savings allowed the students to hire a professional cinematographer who used a drone in addition to multi-lens cameras to create a final product more akin to a big-budget rap video than a DIY student project. 

A behind the scenes photo from UCSF School of Medicine's music video shoot.

A behind the scenes photo from UCSF School of Medicine’s music video shoot.

Courtesy of Audrey Mvemba

Although they’ve yet to score a retweet from Cardi B, the video has generated lots of love online, with 20,000 views on YouTube.

Creating the video was a highlight in what’s been a tough year for students of all kinds, let alone freshmen at a high-ranking medical school. UCSF’s hybrid-learning model included primarily Zoom lectures for larger classes.

“Zoom fatigue was real,” says Kaur.

Once or twice a week they did attend physical class for clinical skills workshops and didactic exercises where students interacted with patients. But the experience was still isolating, especially for students who had just moved to the Bay Area. 

“Having to interact with my classmates over Zoom was kind of tough because it got to the point where I was only really seeing my roommates,” said Mvemba. “I think the music video was actually something that really brought our class together because so many people got to meet each other who hadn’t met in person before.”

A screen capture from UCSF School of Medicine's parody video of

A screen capture from UCSF School of Medicine’s parody video of “WAP, “Tik Tok” and “Formation.”

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