What is TikTok's 'Vanessa!' song? Lyrics and meaning revealed

20 July 2021, 14:00 | Updated: 20 July 2021, 14:02

What is TikTok's 'Vanessa!' song? Lyrics and meaning revealed
What is TikTok's 'Vanessa!' song? Lyrics and meaning revealed. Picture: TikTok / HBO Max

By Emma Clarke

Unless you've been living under a rock lately, you will have no doubt heard the sound bite on TikTok.

Here's everything you need to know about the TikTok trend...

What is the TikTok 'Vanessa!' song?

The sound bite actually comes from a song called 'Blackout', from the 2021 musical drama, In The Heights.

Adapted from the hit Broadway show of the same name, the film is about the residents - and bodega owner - of New York City's Latinx neighbourhood, Washington Heights.

The movie stars Anthony Ramos as Unsavi, Melissa Barrera as Vanessa, and is currently showing in selected cinemas across the UK.

And the lyrics?

¿Oye, qué pasó? Blackout! Blackout!
Vino el apagón, ¡Ay dios!
¿Oye, qué pasó? Blackout! Blackout!
Vino el apagón, ¡Ay dios!
We are powerless, we are powerless
We are powerless, we are powerless

Somebody better open these goddamn doors
Somebody better open these goddamn doors
Somebody better open these goddamn doors
I can't find Usnavi!

Vanessa! (Nina where'd you go?)
Has anyone seen Benny? (Nina where'd you go?)
Vanessa! (Nina where'd you go?)
Usnavi! (I can't find you)

It's getting hotter in the street, everybody is nervous
Hey yo, we gotta be at Usnavi's street, lights out of service
Because we're powerless, our hour is at hand (It's you and me)
You know what we gotta do (Illuminate the community)

When this box ignite, we gon' light up the night
Bottle rockets don't go locus everybody let's focus
Gather round, these are free, grab your ammo and stack up
Gimme a light till the power comes back up, back up! Back up!

Look at the fireworks, look at the fireworks, fly
Light up the night sky (light up the night sky)
Look at the fireworks, look at the fireworks, fly
Light up the night sky (light up the night sky)

Mira, mi amor, házme un favor (Oh god, so much panic)
Despiérta la abuela y a lo mejor ella tiene una vela (The crowd was manic, with everybody screaming-)
Estuve bailando cuando vino el apagón (And shoving and shouting and slapping and everyone's frantic)
Aqui hay gente pero no sé quienes son! (What's happening with you?)

Usnavi (Yeah! Vanessa)
You abandoned me (Yo, what are you talking about?)
Usnavi all night, you barely even danced with me
Don't make me laugh, I've been trying all night
You've been shaking your ass for like half of the Heights (Real nice)
You barely gave me a chance all evening (What?)
Do I get another dance? (I'm leaving)
Vanessa!
I gotta go!
Don't walk away from us tonight (I don't need anything tonight)
I can find my way home (Keep running away from home)
Without you
Without you

Look at the fireworks
Abeula, are you alright?
Light up the night sky
The stars are out tonight
Look at the fireworks
You're not alone tonight
Light up the night sky
You're not alone tonight

Look at the fireworks (look at the fireworks)
Look at the fireworks (look at the fireworks)
Light up the night sky (light up the night sky), en Washington
Look at the fireworks, look at the fireworks
Light up the night sky (light up the night sky)

What do they mean?

As the song name suggests, the musical number references power outages in the Washington Heights area.

In the show and movie, the residents have to endure a summer without power.

IRL, while blackouts are pretty regular in the Big Apple, there wasn't one in the Washington Heights neighbourhood during 2008/2009.