The Kermit Tea Meme History & Meaning — Explained

Photo: youtube
The Kermit Tea Meme History & Meaning Explained

As a long-time fan of The Muppets, nothing made me happier than seeing Kermit the frog being introduced to a whole new generation in the form of a meme: The Kermit sipping tea meme.

Chances are, if you're a person who uses the internet and you have visited sites other than CNN or Boring News Dot Com, then you've visited a place where someone has either shared the Kermit tea meme or shared the Kermit tea GIF, pairing it with the hashtag #ButThatsNoneOfMyBusiness. 

Either way, Kermit sipping tea has two different but similar meanings.

It can be used after dishing out an insult, or pointing out something insane and ridiculous to put a sassy cap on your point. It can also be used to indicate that, while you have no intention of gossiping yourself, you're happy to sit back and let the "tea" (gossip) wash all over you.

Where did the Kermit sipping tea meme come from?

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The meme started to evolve in the early days of the year 2014. By now, it seems like such a long time ago! And by June of that year, Instagram feeds like "@kermitbelike" and "@thatsnoneofmybusinesstho" were already popularizing the meme in a major way. 

Then, a hashtag began popping up as the meme grew in popularity. Tags like #kermitmemes and #butthatsnoneofmybusiness spread across the internet, and a Tumblr was created for memes on a large variety of subjects. Its popularity even spread to YouTube, with the now-deleted video gaining 100,000 views.

The meme later went viral again in June 2016, not quite petering out like many viral memes.

When LeBron James, who was then playing for the Cleveland Cavaliers was spotted wearing an "Ultimate Warrior" t-shirt after winning the NBA championship, he also was sporting something peculiar: the Kermit sipping tea meme on his hat!

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The next day, James's post went viral. And the internet did not disappoint.

Because it was during that same game that James was seen crying after the win, leading to the Crying LeBron meme. Good Morning America even discussed it on their show, calling it "tea lizard," and giving way to another popular hashtag.

The response from the internet went down in history as the biggest overreaction, with Twitter users making jabbing remarks towards the show. People were also quick to correct GMA, reminding us that a frog is an amphibian, and a lizard is a reptile. Come on, get it together, GMA!

It's also important to explain, for those who are living under a rock, exactly what "spill the tea" or "that's my tea" means.

For decades, women in the south would gather at tea parties where they would enjoy tea, sandwiches, desserts, and gossip by the bucketful. To "spill the tea," as such, became a parlance for engaging in gossip.

Later on, this phrase was adopted by the drag community. In the book (and movie) Midnight in The Garden of Good and Evil, Lady Chablis (a transgender cabaret performer) refers to her gender identity as being "my T, my truth." (As is often the way with all amazing cool things from the LGBTQ world, straight people took a couple of decades and then decided to make this saying their own.)

Now that you know what this meme means and where it comes from, it's time to wallow in some of the best Kermit tea memes that the internet has to provide.

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If you're worried that the real Kermit might not approve of engaging in throwing some super-shade, take solace in the fact that the frog has been in love with Miss Piggy for decades, and you know that pig loves to dish the dirt with the best of them. 

1. For the grammar police out there...

2. Ouch! He's calling you out.

3. Well, Kermit does have a point.

4. Another burn coming at ya!

5. This is a little too real.

6. We're all thinking it.

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Rebecca Jane Stokes is a writer living in Brooklyn, New York with her cats, Batman and Margot. She's the Senior Editor of Pop Culture at Newsweek with a passion for lifestyle, geek news, and true crime.