Question: is it only me who is slightly irritated by the sudden rash of so-called ‘Harlem Shake video’s popping up on some social media sites; I don’t mean to sound like a bore (note: yes I do mean to and in fact I don’t care if I do) but I just don’t get the fad.
I don’t know when or where it started but all of a sudden everyone from UK soap ‘actors’ to sports figures to random members of the public have decided it would be fun/funny to shoot and post short videos of themselves jerking, writhing off-beat, masked and jumping around. *blinks* Ok so nudge me and let me know when to laugh-_-
Sadly I found myself watching some of the videos (willing one, just one of them to make me even just raise a smile). Anyhow what got on my nerves more than the fact that I didn’t find any of the videos funny, was that many of them were being described as “*insert name* does the Harlem Shake”. *looks quizzically to camera 1*
Now hold on just a….
I may not be a dance extraordinaire but I know my moves and I know that, whatever this foolery dance move is that I’m witnessing in these videos, it is NOT the Harlem shake!
Now I get that some of you may think that this is mere pedantry and might say it’s being called the Harlem Shake because of the line in the song, those who seem to have jumped on the bangwagon of the current “Harlem Shake” fad may argue that it’s all just a bit of fun, but my problem is – What about the real Harlem Shake?!
Are we just going to forget that a dance move called the Harlem Shake already developed, grew and still exists? Is that how it works nowadays, in with the new out with the old and forget it ever existed? No, nope, nu-uh!!
What kind of message were we putting out to ‘the old school’ (or should that be skool?) by simply allowing this young pretender of a craze just swoop in and act like it’s the real deal Holyfield?
All jokes aside I do take issue with the seemingly casual disregard of the real Harlem-shake by all these new so-called shakers; perhaps why it irks me is that it speaks volumes to me about the state of modern pop-culture where everything is looked at as being expendable, fads come and go without so much as a nod to their platforms of the past or a thought to the precedents that may be set for the future.
Misappropriating any art form be it (a) dance, music or a fashion or simply “creating” a new version of something which has no connection to its predecessor and without any acknowledgment, homage or credit being paid to its predecessor, if left to merely ‘slide’ (not to be confused with the ‘Electric Slide’) in my view sets a dangerous precedent for all things creative and artistic. Where do you draw the line?
Personally, as a discerning (and #bougie) consumer of ‘creativity’ and creative endeavours I want to know where to pay my due credit, financial or otherwise.
Tell them Jourdan
Update – What do you guys think of the points made by US host and author Prof Melissa Harris-Perry here: