MONTGOMERY, Ala. (WBMA/CNN/Gray News) – In the halls of Jefferson Davis High School, Justin Heideman is just like any other student.
An Alabama high school drum major is marching his way to success after a viral Instagram video. (Source: CNN)
But when the 17-year-old senior takes his place as the head drum major for the marching band, he becomes something unique – a white student leading a predominantly black band.
There’s no missing him. He’s front and center.
"You really can't help but see color,” said band director Brandon Howard. “Everybody that's not here with us on a daily basis stands out to them automatically. He is the first thing that they see."
The band calls him Vanilla Funk and he’s taking social media by storm.
A video featuring his moves has more than 2 million views.
"It went berserk, and I was like, ‘Oh wow. This is going nuts,’” Heideman said. “I had 800 followers that morning. I went to work and came back, and I had 10,000."
Justin said the attention has been overwhelming but is only possible with his drum major squad and fellow band members.
"Without this band, I wouldn't be the viral sensation,” he said.
Justin wants to march at the next level and expects to major in communications or education and music.
He's applied to Jackson State, Alabama A&M, Alabama State, Troy and Auburn.
All are schools with exceptional marching band programs.
Keep stepping, Justin. Keep stepping.
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