Good Morning Naturalistas!
This is not something that I do often. But I have to talk about this new dance craze (if you want to call it that). As I prowled the internet this morning, I found a part of Melissa Harris-Perry’s show/talk about this so-called Harlem Shake craze that is going around. If you do not know who she is, Melissa Harris-Perry is a Professor of Political Science at Tulane University; founding director of the Anna Julia Cooper Project on Gender, Race, and Politics in the South, served as a faculty member at the University of Chicago and Princeton University, and is host of MSNBC’s “Melissa Harris-Perry.” The show airs on Saturdays and Sundays from 10AM to noon ET. She is an awesome sister and also happens to be a natural. I love her show and normally catch up on them on weekends, because I have graduate studies in progress.
Here is Melissa Harris-Perry’s clip from her MSNBC show.
But, to get to my point about this
Harlem Shake Craze I refuse to call it that because it is not the Harlem Shake. I am turning 40 years old this year, so I know when the “Real Harlem Shake” was introduced and it was not in 2013. As Ms. Harris-Perry states this another instance of people taking something from one culture and dismissing its orgins and those who contributed to it. My son, who is 15 years old has said that many of his friends are talking about it and saying that it is the Harlem Shake. I tell him to just show them the Harlem Shake, the dance group “The Harlem Shakers” (who happen to actual be from Harlem where this originated in the 80’s), and then let it go. They can choose to do what they want with the information but cannot say that they don’t or did not have it. Yes, we live in a predominately caucasion community in Texas. But, I want him to understand that some people really don’t know, especially if they are younger.
This is a video of the Original Harlem Shake performed by the Harlem Shakers
When a culture or group creates some type of art, movement, or music even that can be attributed to their life experiences that should not be discounted and turned into something else for the benefit of others. I am not even sure how they came up with the name Harlem Shake for their new dance? It seems that it was just pulled out of a hat and no thought was given to it and who may have already claimed or created something with that name.
My point is this post is to ask people to just stop and think about the creation of art (all kinds such as music, movie, dance, literature, and painting) and give those who created it credit for their creation. Don’t give in to this dance thing inaccurately named the Harlem Shake, because it is not. There is actually no dance experience needed because you just flail around, dressed in anything stupid you can find. With that being said I know that we all don’t have the skill and talent that The Harlem Shakers have, but there is something for everybody and you have to find your thing. Even if you do make an attempt at the real Harlem Shake and you can’t do it like Diddy or those in the Missy Elliot Videos. Just don’t take something away from those who crafted, created, and birthed an art that stems from their cultural experiences.