Pop Culture, Race & Politics

That Ain’t The Harlem Shake, B

That's Harlem. And this is G.Dep. If he wasn't in jail for being an idiot, he'd be really upset about this.

That’s Harlem. And this is G.Dep. If he wasn’t in jail for being an idiot, he’d be really upset about this.

The “Harlem Shake” is not a story. It’s just not. But it still annoys the hell out of me all the same. And by “Harlem Shake”, I mean this trendy meme of 30 second videos where the first 15 seconds involves somebody standing there gyrating by themselves and the last 15 seconds are full of pelvic-thrusting, jumping on sh*t and basically going berserk to the backdrop of some song that I can only assume is called “The Harlem Shake.”

Again, I get it. It’s not a story.

But you know what? That ain’t the Harlem Shake, b. It’s just not. And for that reason I’m irritated.

Let’s nutshell this.

Reason Panama Is Irritated: This is yet another example of people, namely Black folk, creating something that gets jacked by other groups of people, bastardized, and then turned into some viral sensation, while the only people who remember the original are the ones bitching that the new one ain’t legit.

And you know what, this is fair. It’s a small scale thing and in the grand scheme it is nothing like jazz being bastardized and turned into elevator music (see G, Kenny; Coz, Dave, etc) or hip-hop being turned into the minstrel show it is today (yeah, we’ve had this convo…I do blame Black folks for this though…can’t lie), or hip-hop culture. I know, its the circle of life, Simba sh*t (btw, shouts to Mufasa who been dead like 18 years now…RIP my n*gga), once something gets more followers, its bound to get turned into a less pure version of itself. Then you add business and woosah.

But there’s something a bit more seedy at work here. Not just with the “Harlem Shake” thought I’ll get back to that. Let’s just call a spade a spade, other cultures, namely white America – as it were – comes in and makes things more palatable for itself. Jazz got watered down like a motherf*cker to the point where now its not even a truly viable art form. And I know, some of the greatest jazz artists are white. There was a respect for the art that existed that I feel flew out the window in later iterations. The same can be said for current hip-hop and the culture.

It’s like that great hip-hop dance video featuring the soccer mom trying to teach those kids how to be “hip-hop”. Add attitude and certain finger movements and you’ve got it. It’s like “the cool”.

Being cool is something you have or something you don’t. Everybody ain’t supposed to be cool. If everybody was, then nobody would be cool. The point is, you have to let what got you there be what keeps you there. And that’s the crux of why so many folks get irritated by bastardizations of the culture. Any culture. Which is where this “Harlem Shake” sh*t comes in. In the grand scheme of things, does this matter?

No.

Unless you’re from Harlem, where this all started from. I remember driving thru NYC and Harlem specifically by the Taft Houses in like 2000. I laughed so hard when I saw a bunch of dudes on the corner of 112th and 5th doing the Harlem Shake. It was like a scene out of a McDonald’s commercial. It was a stereotype gone live. And I loved it. It was authentic. It was real.

It was Harlem.

This “Harlem Shake” isn’t Harlem. It’s a bunch of folks doing something with a name for something that already exists. Except this is famous in mainstream America. Main Street knows what the “Harlem Shake” is now. To them Harlem is just part of the name of the dance. But that’s not all there is to it.

If I’m from Harlem. I’m annoyed. I’m pissed. They turned what was mine into some Kenny G sh*t. Wack, weak, unfamiliar at all to the original, and baselessly whitewashed. And I don’t care if Black folks are in on it too now. My father owns Kenny G albums and I still get upset about it.

The “Harlem Shake” is not a story. Naw. It’s just more of the same…old song, with a different meaning since you’ve been gone.

First “The Harlem Shake”. Next, Atlanta.

Stay woke, dog.

Wake up.

-VSB P aka THE ARSONIST aka THEY CAN’T BANKHEAD BOUNCE, THO aka GIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIRL HE A 3

 

Filed Under:
Damon Young

Panama Jackson is pretty fly for a light guy. He used to ship his frito to Tito in the District, but shipping prices increased so he moved there to save money. When he's not saving humanity with his words or making music with his mouth, you can find him at your mama's mama's house drinking her fine liquors. Most importantly, he believes the children are our future.

  • iamnotakata

    Interesting take! I was feeling some kind of way about all these white folks going schizo in a video for a few seconds…..and then turning around and calling that ish the Harlem shake? I remember the Harlem shake and it def wasn’t that sh!t they are doing…. But….even though I feel you, I’m actually not that bothered by these white folks 30 seconds of delusions made into a video…

  • Rayne

    Kind of sort of like Chipotle Mexican Grill….

    and Taco Bell….

    • nillalatte

      A lot of those videos look like they need to run to the border!

    • SweetSass

      Or… the Redskins?

      Hypocrites much? Bwahahaha.

      Black people who cry about racism and then root for the Redskins piss me the heck off.

      • mansbestgirlfriend

        Came out of lurking to comment on this…I’m Black and Native American and I freaking LOVE the Redskins. My Grandmother is 3/4 Native American and the fandom of the Redskins in my family starts with her. I know many Native Americans and they are not offended by the name, and neither am I. It’s been the team name for YEARS, and it isn’t going away. Team name had nothing to do with the topic…you must be a Skins hater. 2 cents added and I’m out!

        • http://commentarybyvalentina.wordpress.com Val

          And there are Black people who refer to other Black people as ni**ers. So, your little anecdote doesn’t really mean anything. Amongst every group there are always ones with no pride and no standards.

          I totally agree with SweetSass.

          • bfree2k

            To mansbestgirlfriend, perhaps if you knew the history of how the former Boston Braves came to be the Washington Redskins, you would be bothered–do some research. If you are familiar with how the name “Redskins” came to be and are not bothered, the you are truly a pathetic half-native American.

  • Kaname

    It’s not just white people that are enjoying this meme so…

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0QkUKymKcWY

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?WYm092-jd3g

    • http://www.alltherightquestions.com T.Q. Fuego

      Yeah he covered that

      ” And I don’t care if Black folks are in on it too now. “

      • Kaname

        Yup, saw it, responded below.

    • Kaname

      And I know you said you don’t care that black people are doing it too – if anything they too are reacting to the crazy energy level in the song that inspires the off-kilter dancing/awkward body movements (had to actually google what the Harlem Shake actually looked like). I’m confused as to whether you take issue with the fact that all the people in the videos are not doing what is “officially” sanctioned the Harlem shake, or that you think that they (1)know what the Harlem Shake actually was and (2)are mocking it?

      • nillalatte

        White folks in the video’s I watched have NO CLUE what the Harlem Shake is. Hell, some of them still haven’t learned the Cabbage Patch! >:|

      • http://www.alltherightquestions.com T.Q. Fuego

        The common sense analysis for me is that they could’ve named it anything else in the world, why else would they be piggybacking off a name that earned its cultural weight the right way (original identity and no gimmicks)? I’m sure the real Rick Ross feels the same way about fat boy stealing his name (in fact he’s said it himself) People these days just don’t seem to have any shame or respect when it comes to this kind of obvious sh*t either. It’s not exactly the same, but I shook my head in disgust at the “Tupac’s back” song too. Are people that lame where they need to steal other people’s names or name drop to get popularity? The sad thing is that I liked the concept of the videos and found the gyrating sorta funny, but can’t get past the fact that they straight jacked the name and acted like it wasn’t a big deal. Smh, I honestly wonder if this would’ve gone viral if they used an original name…

        • http://www.alltherightquestions.com T.Q. Fuego

          No need for moderation, I was just explainin and sh*t

        • IcePrincess3

          +1 F*ck officer Ricky. He’s a fraud & a lame. He betta watch out b4 dem GD’s finish the job.

          • Charcoal Burnt Brother Lover

            I l.o.v.e. RICK ROSS/ROZAY, and his tirries. Shourr ourrs to him and his gorg girlfriend. Lawd knows I have questions, many-and very inappropriate ones at that.

            • camilleblue

              lol!! not the tirries, tho

              • Charcoal Burnt Brother Lover

                girrrrl, if he looses those tirries I’m done loving him. They are the sole reason I fell in love with the bawwwwse!

                • camilleblue

                  you.are.killing.me.

                  lol…girl…the thought of his tig ol’ bitties if my face just makes me gag…BUT!!! the original black n’ ugly as ever…B.I.G.G.I.E. – yeah…all day…go figure?? *shrugs and pops in i’m fukcin you tonight*

      • Shana

        It’s like businesses that protect their intellectual property from infringement, particularly when the infringer misrepresents, damages, or dilutes the brand. Misappropriation.

      • http://verysmartbrothas.com Panama Jackson

        I think my biggest issue – and I realize that dedicating a whole post to it makes it seem like I care that much when the truth is I’m not super duper pressed or upset about it – is that its just a reminder how easy sh*t that already exists gets jacked, repackaged, re-presented, as something else and erases what once was from existence and becoming what folks think of when they hear words like “harlem shake”. While it is just a dance, it was a something that invaded the black community. In a significant way. It was a trend, but for it to become something altogether different. Like jazz, rock’n roll, or many other entities, just irritates me. At least for 5 minutes.

        • http://www.nolabelsunleashed.com No Labels

          I definitely agree with your views on this. Can’t we just have something stay our own without it getting hijacked and repackaged to the point where it’s just no longer familiar? It seems the answer to that question is no.

        • YUM.

          Completely agree.

  • T.Q. Fuego

    Hollywooooood Divorce, Hollywood Divoooorce smh. I liked these reactions to it though

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IGH2HEgWppc

    • Ms. Bridget

      My favorite line in this video…”he’s humpin’ his man…that’s no good”.

  • http://www.iamyourpeople.com I Am Your People

    @ThePBG hasn’t posted around these here parts in a while, but here’s a great conversation between her college freshman daughter, Tee, and Tee’s white roommate (who totally doesn’t see the cultural appropriation)

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=tJYnimqnCys

    • AfroPetite

      How you gone sit up on this bed and tell me what NOT to be offended by? White privilege is one of the best problems to have. Tee is a good one, I would have had to leave the room for a while to gather myself.

    • DQ

      I think her room mate is on some bull$h!t but I’ll be honest and say that, yes you can categorize this one under white privilege, but I think it’s more driven by a character flaw in all human beings where we we can’t understand why people around us won’t view the world as we view it.

      She wouldn’t be offended by the video so she can’t understand why others would be offended. It only becomes privilege (IMO) when she refuses to consider the possibility that she may be wrong or that other views might be viable.

      • AfroPetite

        Was she even entertaining the possibility that others may be offended? She just kept going on and on about how funny the videos were and that her black roommate was creating argument for argument’s sake.

      • nillalatte

        I think the whole idea of being offended over a dance that white people perform ignorantly is not ‘white privilege’. But, then again, as you said, we see things from a different lens.

        I can understand both sides of the coin tho. But, if a Black person was making fun of the Country Two Step, for example, would I be offended because “country” is viewed synonymous as ‘white’? Not in the least. And, in reality, this happens frequently on both sides, but I don’t take it personally. *shrugs

        • http://commentarybyvalentina.wordpress.com Val

          The difference, Nilla, is when a majority culture is mocked it really has no affect on anything. But, when a minority culture is mocked it weakens that group even more.

          Example; a jock BMOC being mocked by people doesn’t do much harm to him. While some skinny nerdy kid might be crushed by mocking.

          It’s all about power.

          • Charcoal Burnt Brother Lover

            Hiya, Val!! :)

            Who is being mocked?! This is just a stupid meme that everybody and their mothers is getting on. People are reading way too deep into it, in my opinion. I just want to see one where there is atleast one white person who is rhythmic and coordinated to the music.

            • http://commentarybyvalentina.wordpress.com Val

              Hiya, AM!

              *waves*

              Yeah, I guess we’re talking about mocking in general more than about this Harlem Shake thing.

              • Charcoal Burnt Brother Lover

                gotcha!! :)

            • nillalatte

              “People are reading way too deep into it, in my opinion.”

              Me too Mami, but what da hail do I know. ;) And, girl, I’m tempted to make a video for you just to prove some white folks do have rhythm! Trust. When I see white folks with no rhythm trying to dance, I’m embarrassed! I want to say to them, “please, sit down.” LOL

          • nillalatte

            I disagree Val. Sorry, but I don’t see it like this. Even in your example, the BMOC isn’t effected by mocking. You’re right, but, -it isn’t about power. It is about confidence. He is confident in himself to know that the mocking is simply folks being playful.

            In reality, it should be viewed as a compliment. Mocking is what folks often do that cannot attain the stature and recognition of others.

        • AfroPetite

          All valid points.

          But I believe black folks take things so personally because we really don’t feel like we have anything to call our “own”. These dances might seem trivial at best to the outsider but when you literally have little to no semblance of a cultural identity, it isn’t “just a dance” for some black folk.

          • http://commentarybyvalentina.wordpress.com Val

            Or because so many things have been stolen from us culturally.

      • http://verysmartbrothas.com Panama Jackson

        true indeed. a lot of folks have this issue.

    • http://www.shay-d-lady.com shay-d-lady

      Tee is a good one cause.. yeah
      this is what led to the citizens arrest episode with my 2520 roommate sophomore year of college. LOL

  • http://www.iamyourpeople.com I Am Your People

    First “The Harlem Shake”. Next, Atlanta.

    Stay woke, dog.

    Wake up.

    I am NOT here for a bootleg Bankhead Bounce of A-Town Stomp. I WILL NOT. But the Harlem Shake is part of a trend. Remember those pancake-azz heffas who had the unadulterated nerve to turn the fine art of twerking (twekring >>>>>>>>ballet) into some ‘cute’ shullbit videos meanwhile calling Black women with actual azzs and their twerk videos nasty? I’m not here for this #TwerkTeamFTW

    • That Ugly Kid

      When did this happen?

      • http://www.iamyourpeople.com I Am Your People

        College kids were putting out twerk videos mostly over the summer and homecoming. (Ironically, I also found out about those via @ThePBG) And they were awful, not to mention the cultural appropriation

        • Dignan

          A lot of college kids aren’t yet smart enough nor wise enough nor empathetic enough nor experienced enough to know when something is offensive (unless it’s dead obvious). Life experience is the best teacher for these sorts of things, but that takes time.

          I swear, some of these kids need a mandatory middle-aged gatekeeper to tell them what they can and cannot post to social media.

          • Wild Cougar

            White kids in my day knew how to stay in their lane

            • http://obsidianraw.bravejournal.com Obsidian

              Yea, but that was back when they still had wagon trains and the Iron Horse hadn’t been invented yet…

              O.

              • camilleblue

                O! *spanking your hand* be nice!

                • http://obsidianraw.bravejournal.com Obsidian

                  *Chesire cat grin at Ms. CamilleBlue*

                  O.

                • Wild Cougar

                  There is nothing he could say that would ever offend me.

                  • http://obsidianraw.bravejournal.com Obsidian

                    It wasn’t meant to offend you.

                    It was just for fun.

                    :)

                    O.

      • Think2Inspire

        Brown University has a Twerk Team called B.U.T.T. A whole bunch of white girls doing something, I’m not sure what. They called it dancing.

        Maybe it was last month when some white lady made a workout video called “Buti.” There is a video of it on youtube how they talk about it being derived from African tribal dances -_-

        • http://obsidianraw.bravejournal.com Obsidian

          Would they be wrong? I mean, isn’t “twerking” derived in whole or in part, from an African tribal past – and if so, what’s so terribly wrong with that? Especially since it’s abundantly clear, that Black Men especially, really, really like watching it performed?

          O.

          • http://www.iamyourpeople.com I Am Your People

            What made the ‘twerking’ meme so offensive, is that ultimately, they were mocking Black womens’ bodies. So when WE do it, it’s viewed as tacky and hypersexual and our azzes our too fat for mainstram culture, but when Becky McFlatazz does it it’s acceptable and cute? No ma’am!

            • http://www.twitter.com/IluminatiNYC Todd

              And this is why Black women need to get better acceptance. If they did, this wouldn’t be an issue. Plus if a while chick wants to play with their sexuality, there is burlesque and (keeping it 100) pole dancing. People need to stay in their lane. Either way, or give up hegemonic power.

              • http://obsidianraw.bravejournal.com Obsidian

                @Todd,
                But, by definition, White girls appropriating, even in jest, “twerking”, is proof positive indeed, of a widespread aceeptance of Black Women – is it not? Sure, burlesque and belly dancing and the like have been around for a very long time, but you gotta admit, the style and manner of Black Women’s exotic/erotic dancing DO take the whole enterprise to a whole another level – do they not? What’s so wrong about that?

                O.

                • Charcoal Burnt Brother Lover

                  O,

                  WOAH. So are you trying to tell us that we should actually be grateful to our white sistrens for validating our sexuality, which otherwise is/would be bastardized and demonized?

                  So, the fact that they’ve taken something that is considered “hypersexual” and kumbayad the phakk out of it, “softened the image”, and repackaged it to make it ‘acceptable’ to the masses is NOTEWORTHY and something that we, black women should be grateful for?

                  Brother man, as per your researched commentry, I know I have a VERY low [0.000001 I believe ]market value, but ghatdamn…what in the phakkery?

                  • http://obsidianraw.bravejournal.com Obsidian

                    @Ms. CBBL:
                    OK, before we go any further – are you saying that twerkin’ ISN’T a hypersexual display/dance?

                    Really?

                    O.

                    • Charcoal Burnt Brother Lover

                      O,

                      It is. BUT,
                      that is not the point I’m making.

                • http://verysmartbrothas.com Panama Jackson

                  I just can’t agree with that. White women, mocking…or even mocking by attempting to achieve, is not some sort of acceptance of Black women. Much like with many cultures, they’d love the cool that comes from Blackness without even one iota of the contact with any of us.

                  • http://obsidianraw.bravejournal.com Obsidian

                    @Panama:
                    Perhaps so; but in the end, Black Women have no one but themselves to blame if they don’t like the fact that their own “creation” is being used to mock them. Perhaps the big takeaway here is that if Black Women want to be accepted, they might consider the kinds of messages their sending out into the world? “Twerkin'” sends a message of yes, wanton, indiscriminate, promiscuous hypersexuality. Not fair, not life often ain’t. *shrugs*

                    O.

                    • Charcoal Burnt Brother Lover

                      you are one black man I’m yet to understand. What did sisters ever do to ya?! I’m yet to see a post where you sing our praises OR try to defend us. We are certainly not saints, but you make us look like the devil and his demons.

                    • http://www.twitter.com/IluminatiNYC Todd

                      CBBL, I won’t speak for the man, but I do remember him saying in the past that a lot of sisters weren’t checking for him b/c of his height (apparently, he’s a shorter dude) or his blue collar background.

                    • Wild Cougar

                      Basically he is mad at black women because they want tall attractive men with good jobs.. He’s really mad about it

                    • Charcoal Burnt Brother Lover

                      @ WC,
                      lmao!!! STOP IRR.

                      @Todd,

                      Let’s see what the brotha has to say.

                    • http://obsidianraw.bravejournal.com Obsidian

                      @Ms. CBBL:
                      I’ve addressed both Ms. Wild Cougar and Todd further downthread a piece, due to space restrictions here.
                      O.

                    • BriA

                      Wait…so all this attack on Black women is all because of a severe case of “Short Man Syndrome???” Surely not. Look. I’m Black and a woman. I’m 5’1, quite petite. All Black women do not want a super tall man. My only requirement is that he be at least eye level with me when I have on heels. Which would mean any man 5’6″ and above is suitable for me. There. Problem solved.

                • http://www.twitter.com/IluminatiNYC Todd

                  I see what you’re thinking, but I’m going to have to disagree with you on this one O.

                  Think about the example of rock and roll back in the 1950s. When it came out originally during WWII, there was a whole package to it. It wasn’t just the music. The clothes had a particular, hypermasculine and defiant look about them. The singers moved with a barely repressed sense of fear and anger about their condition. While the instruments were European (shouts to Les Paul for the electric guitar), the musical tradition clearly traced back to Sub-Saharan West Africa, where they got the slaves from.

                  Then Elvis Presley came along. In fairness to him, he “got” rock and roll more than it was understood. If anything, early Elvis fit the tradition neatly in looks, if not understanding. And that lack of understanding turned out to be a big problem. All of a sudden, all of these Black artists had to fit the Elvis mold or lose record sales. For every Chuck Berry or Little Richard that was able to cross over, there was a Muddy Waters or Big Mama Thornton that wasn’t. (The lack of the last one crossing over making Elvis’ hit “Hound Dog” sound strange because they didn’t hear the original he was answering to.) Also, the White artists that were checking for Elvis had no clue what the original style meant, and Elvis couldn’t hip them to the game. Now rock and roll is about being obnoxious and offending bourgeois values. The context was lost, and therefore a whole music legacy ended up being thrown underfoot, not realistically being revived until the rise of funk music.

                  I say all of that to say that it isn’t enough to twerk but to get the meaning behind it. I’m not saying some White chick can’t learn the whole scenario behind it and then take it a new direction. But you have to learn your fundamentals in order to reinterpret it.

                  • http://obsidianraw.bravejournal.com Obsidian

                    @Todd:
                    OK. Before we go any further, let’s examine this whole “twerkin'” thing.

                    Where did it come from? What does it mean? What was it intended to mean? Why do/did Black Women do it? What was it meant to convey? Does it have African antecedents, and if so, what were they?

                    If we can’t even answer these questions, how then can we really be mad at anyone else appropriating it?

                    Your response?

                    O.

                    • T.Q. Fuego

                      Now THAT I can agree with O on. Is tweaking really that deep? Is there actually a meaning behind it? (Serious question)

            • IcePrincess3

              Them “whooty” videos were my sh*t tho, like back in ’08. Her azz was NOT flat lmfao

          • http://obsidianraw.bravejournal.com Obsidian

            You know, the problem I have with Black folk is that we’re just too darned sensitive for our own good. I recall a few years back a White girl at UCLA who started a firestorm of controversy when she mocked a group of Asian students at her school. How did the Asians respond?

            They converged on YouTube with a deluge of comedic videos mocking the White girl mocking them – and it was hilarious! Very clever, very well done. That’s how you handle things. They succeeded in making the White girl look downright dumb.

            If Black Women in this instance (or Black people in general in terms of the “remixed version” of the Harlem Shake) really want to take it to Whites on this, maybe they need to take a page out of the Asian community’s book in this instance? After all, what has being “offended” gotten us?

            Just a thought…

            O.

            • Rewind

              Hmmm…good point.

              The Black American legacy is anger with no resolution. That needs to change.

              • http://obsidianraw.bravejournal.com Obsidian

                Indeed!-and not only that, the “Black legacy” is one of contrived righteous indignation, devoid of any inner reflection, introspection or desire to get our own houses in order. No wonder people the world over mock us mercilessly. Perhaps that will get us to finally wake up and get on our job…

                O.

                • Rewind

                  I sincerely have no idea what it would take to get people to change perspectives. But Black people are not always victims and we need to put down the rape card at some point in order to find a new strategy.

                  • Sweet GA Brown

                    +100 It’s the “just-us” mentality. Other races are screaming ME and black ppl are screaming us. Its a hard mentalitiy to break because everyone say to never forget and we must always remember and I think this stunts individual growth among black people.

                    • Wild Cougar

                      Yeah. Black people suck

            • http://verysmartbrothas.com Panama Jackson

              Fair enough. And to be completely transparent, I’m not really appalled at this enough to care past today. It is what it is. It was something I noticed, watched a video of irritated Harlem residents and wrote a post about it.

              I do think that the problem with mockign white people is that they enjoy it and think that everybody is in on the joke. When the truth is, we’re offended, they think its funny, but b/c of our response, they think we’re cool with it.

              It’s all good til somebody lobs out the “n-word” and gets confused cuz they thought we were all good.

              • http://obsidianraw.bravejournal.com Obsidian

                The problem with the socalled N-word is the utter ridiculousness on our part to insist that it can only be used by us, and no one else, when it’s clear that we also think of it as a racial slur. It tells Whites and everyone else that we’re disingenuous. That we want to have it both ways. And yes, that we have a goodly bit of anti-White animus.

                O.

              • T.Q. Fuego

                +1 mocking them makes them feel special/relevant. I prefer ignoring them personally.

                • Rewind

                  Actually mocking them in a way that hits the sweet spot is something only a few people have been able to achieve, but it is what puts them on their ass.

                  • http://obsidianraw.bravejournal.com Obsidian

                    Precisely.

                    O.

            • SweetSass

              1.) She made herself look dumb.

              2.) Response videos were just what some people did.

              3.) There were also campus awareness events afterwards and the regular stuff that happens after a racial incident. No different than if it had been any other group.

              • http://obsidianraw.bravejournal.com Obsidian

                @SweetSass:
                “1.) She made herself look dumb.”

                O: True.

                “2.) Response videos were just what some people did.”

                O: Also true.

                “3.) There were also campus awareness events afterwards and the regular stuff that happens after a racial incident. No different than if it had been any other group.”

                O: OMG, you actually made a coherent, factual statement! I’m impressed.

                However, none of what you said actually spoke to my point – which probably flew over your head. The point is that the way toward to getting back at those who mock you, is to make use of clever mockery yourself – and that’s exactly what certain elements of the Asian community did. It shows a high degree of intelligence and wit, and Black folks would do well to take a page out that book, instead of always throwing a hissyfit whenever someone does something we don’t like.

                Understand now?

                O.

                • SweetSass

                  You are still coonin’ hard on that Uncle Ruckus. I totally agree with the person who had you pegged yesterday. Put down the hateraide.

                  • http://obsidianraw.bravejournal.com Obsidian

                    @SweetSass:
                    “You are still coonin’ hard on that Uncle Ruckus. I totally agree with the person who had you pegged yesterday. Put down the hateraide.”

                    O: The only person getting pegged, other than you is…

                    …your mom.

                    O.

            • Penelope

              “Getting offended got us the million man march and Barack Obama. Thank me when you understand where I’m coming from

          • http://obsidianraw.bravejournal.com Obsidian

            @Ms. CBBL:
            “you are one black man I’m yet to understand.”

            O: Thank you! I accept. :)

            “What did sisters ever do to ya?!”

            O: To me personally? Nothing. But to the Black community at large? Plenty.

            “I’m yet to see a post where you sing our praises OR try to defend us.”

            O: When Sistas do something worthy of such merit, I will speak on it. Praise is earned, not freely given for merley showing up with female anatomy. We don’t hand out special snowflake awards here.

            “We are certainly not saints, but you make us look like the devil and his demons.”

            O: The Devil? His demons? Nah. Just continually shooting themselves in the foot, trying to have it both ways, being utterly hypocrital and hypersensitive, refusing to comport themselves in the manner of a Lady yet demanding to be treated in like fashion, regardless as to how much they “twerk”, being just as capable of being cruel, deceptive and duplicitous as any Man dead or alive, constantly making utter fools of themselves, etc, et al? Yea, we definitely on that.

            We will continue to call the Sistahood on their whacked behavioral norms and actions, will continue to demand personal responsibility and accountability, will continue to do so with gusto, vim and vigor with the full powers at our disposal and command.

            Is that clear?

            :)

            O.

            • BriA

              I’m curious. Have you ever met any Black women that aren’t all these horrible things that you claim us to be? And what is YOUR definition of acting like a lady?

              • http://www.twitter.com/IluminatiNYC Todd

                I’m curious. Have you ever met any Black women that aren’t all these horrible things that you claim us to be?

                You must be new around here. *extends hand* I’m Todd. I’ll let the vets hip you to my story. :)

                • BriA

                  *Takes hand* Hi Todd. I’m somewhat new to commenting but, not definitely not new to reading this blog. Please forgive me if I have the wrong person, but you’re the one with the wife issues, right?

                  • camilleblue

                    well damn…lol

                    • Sweet GA Brown

                      LMAO. I can tell she has been following for a while.

                  • http://www.twitter.com/IluminatiNYC Todd

                    A bit. LOL Me and my wife have a couple of issues, to say the least. :) If you only knew what I have the sense not to comment about…

                • Sweet GA Brown

                  Lol

              • http://obsidianraw.bravejournal.com Obsidian

                @Ms. Bria:
                “I’m curious.”

                O: Curiousity is good.

                “Have you ever met any Black women that aren’t all these horrible things that you claim us to be?”

                O: Yes.

                “And what is YOUR definition of acting like a lady?”

                O: I think a better answer to that question would be to ask what are Black Womens’ definition of the term, since it is they who often speak of it and their desire to treated in that way – irrespective of what they do and/or say that runs counter to such an aspiration. It’s like me dressing up like a gangbanger, yet demanding that I be regarded as a respectable member of polite society. The cognitive dissonance boggles the mind, does it not?

                O.

            • Charcoal Burnt Brother Lover

              @ O,

              I bow down to thy greatness. Thanks, it is clear, like SUPER doopa clear!

              • http://obsidianraw.bravejournal.com Obsidian

                @Ms. CBBL:

                Since you did ask, and since we’re discussing Hip Hop to an extent, I’ll tell you that one of my favorite lady rapper songs was “U.N.I.T.Y.”, by Queen Latifah. Perhaps you’re familiar with it. If not, I would urge you to give it a listen and read along with the lyrics.

                Latifah’s point of the song was that if a Woman’s comporting herself like a lady it is them flatout wrong for a Man to address her using the word b*tch – something I wholeheartedly and emphatically endorse and support. She would be an example of what I personally consider to be a Lady. I’ve always had a high degree of admiration for her and have long admired what she’s been able to do with her career.

                Hope this further clarifies things.

                O.

          • http://obsidianraw.bravejournal.com Obsidian

            @Ms. WildCougar:
            “Basically he is mad at black women because they want tall attractive men with good jobs.. He’s really mad about it”

            O: Hardly. I’ve never had an issue with who any Woman, regardless of color, choose to mate with or what reason; what I’ve always had a problem with is their refusal towards honesty and clarity, to say nothing of a lot of Women’s ability to engage in blatant hypocrisy about it.

            But you’re welcome to try again…

            O.

            • SweetSass

              If you’re too good for us… leave us alone.

              Go use that ‘game’ on the 2520s.

              Seriously.

              We don’t want you. We don’t care about you. And we frankly don’t give a damn about your busted assessment of our ‘market value.’

              Deuces.

              • http://obsidianraw.bravejournal.com Obsidian

                @SweetSass:
                “If you’re too good for us… leave us alone.”

                O: I never made any such argument. Reading is fundamental, dear.

                “Go use that ‘game’ on the 2520s.”

                O: What’s a “2520”? Is that the model of a car or something?

                “Seriously.”

                O: Wait, you actually possess the ability for seriousness? Really?

                “We don’t want you.”

                O: Sure, you don’t…

                “We don’t care about you.”

                O: Sho you right…

                “And we frankly don’t give a damn about your busted assessment of our ‘market value.’”

                O: Which explains why you stan for the O-Man and follow him around like the good little poodle that you are…riiight…

                “Deuces.”

                O: Ace trumps deuces.

                Besides…

                …your mom…

                O.

                • Dignan

                  “What’s a “2520″? Is that the model of a car or something?”

                  Oh, come on. The idea that you’ve been reading and commenting on this blog for months but don’t know what a 2520 is, is disingenuous as all hades.

          • http://obsidianraw.bravejournal.com Obsidian

            @Todd:
            “CBBL, I won’t speak for the man, but I do remember him saying in the past that a lot of sisters weren’t checking for him b/c of his height (apparently, he’s a shorter dude) or his blue collar background.”

            O: As I’ve said to Ms. Wild Cougar, all of what you report here is a matter of public record, since I’ve written about these matters to some extent over at the Good Men Project. Moreover, and again as I’ve made clear to WC, I’ve never had a problem with whoever any Woman chooses for a mate or why; what I’ve had a problem with is the way in which so many of them go about it.

            For example, many Women will bemoan being “objectified” yet they have no problem in the least objectifying Men just the same, if not worse. Many Women say that Men are “superficial” in their desires and tastes, yet quite a few of the very same Women are themselves shown and proven to be “superficial”. Again, I wouldn’t have a problem with any of that so long as the actors themselves were upfront about it. What I have an issue with isn’t their choices; it’s their blatant disingenuousity and rank hypocrisy.

            In any event, none of that has anything in the least with what I am discussing at the moment; how one can forge a link between that and the twerkin’ issue, is something that for one need to see explained.

            Hope that makes things clear.

            O.

            • http://www.twitter.com/IluminatiNYC Todd

              I see where you’re going, and we’re going to have to agree to disagree. Culture comes out of a certain meaning, and you’re right about twerking not being a purely African form, much like rock and roll music was a clear admixture of African and European elements. A lot of twerking has roots in girls getting crazy ab strength messing around with hula hoops. On the flip side, there are clear African antecedents to twerking back in West Africa. Either way, it’s clearly part of a sexualized mating ritual that just about every culture has. People have the right to have their ritual mean what the heck they want. It’s a bit Kantian, but it’s also true.

              • http://obsidianraw.bravejournal.com Obsidian

                @Todd,
                Actually, that’s not what I’m arguing at all; I am asking if whether twerkin’ has African antecedents. I don’t know for certain if it does or doesn’t, but something tells me that most Sistas who do twerk don’t know and perhaps more importantly, don’t care.

                At any rate, I’ve moved the personal part of the discussion downthread if you or anyone else wishes to continue from that point…

                O.

                • SweetSass

                  Yes, many many African dances look a lot like twerking. Maybe not that upside down thing but there is much booty-shaking and vigorous hip movement.

                  • http://obsidianraw.bravejournal.com Obsidian

                    Ah, good to see you actually using the 10lbs of meat on the top of your shoulders for something more than a hatrack.

                    Now then – the question becomes, does the Sistas who invented “twerkin'” know about its connection to various African dances? And if so, what are they looking to convey by doing it?

                    Any ideas?

                    O.

      • http://verysmartbrothas.com Panama Jackson

        I was lost too.

  • That Ugly Kid

    I commented about this on Facebook like a week ago. About how I thought the Harlem Shake died like a dozen years ago, and inquired the sudden resurgence. That’s when one of my exes told me it was something completely different than the original. So I looked it up on youtube and all I could think to myself was “What the f*ck is THIS sh*t?!?! This ain’t the Harlem Shake!!!”

    Then I spent the next 30 minutes looking at different versions of it. Found a version of it full of completely naked white strippers. You’d think it’d be the perfect vid but….no. They had no azz, t!ts so small I’m pretty sure their cup size didn’t even include a letter, and to top it all off they were all horribly, HORRIBLY rhythmically challenged. I was fuming.

    I kid you not, I fought the air after watching that sh*t….

    • http://commentarybyvalentina.wordpress.com Val

      “I kid you not, I fought the air after watching that sh*t….”

      Did you lay your head on your girlfriend’s lap after that?

      • That Ugly Kid

        Don’t have a girlfriend so no.

        • Miss A

          a/s/l

          I keed. I keed.

        • http://commentarybyvalentina.wordpress.com Val

          Dag, TUK, you didn’t get the reference?!

          • Aly

            Boyz in the Hood! Do I win a prize? :)

            • http://commentarybyvalentina.wordpress.com Val

              *red velvet cupcake for Aly!*

    • http://stanoffewwords.wordpress.com Tristan

      now part of me wants to find this video, the other doesn’t want to ruin my Thursday #Gemini

      • http://www.nolabelsunleashed.com No Labels

        Yeah, now I kind of want to find this video everyone is talking about….

    • http://verysmartbrothas.com Panama Jackson

      I was lost when I heard people keep mentioning the Harlem Shake. I though G. Dep tried to escape from jail or something.

      I was wrong.

    • BriA

      Same here. My brother called me to ask me had I seen all these “Harlem Shake” videos and what they were all about. I was like the Harlem Shake is old. You are just now finding out about it. So, I saw a status on facebook about it and for whatever reason I looked it up and had a LOL, WTF moment. There is one video that I particularly like. It’s one in Portland (I think it was some college) and the dude in the beginning with the helmet on actually had some rhythm and did the harlem shake for a minute. I guess that’s as close as we’ll get to seeing the original dance.

  • http://tonyblackshow.wordpress.com tony black

    Hey, first time reader of your blog here. nice write up.

    I personally am neutral about the craze. the videos are for the most part hilarious, but I do think there are too many people out there that really believe that this viral sensation is the Harlem shake. What else can you do but quickly educate the misinformed?

    I’ve seen the arguments from blacks all around and on twitter that this is disrespectful (maybe) and that it was done intentionally to mock black history month (reaching). Maybe it’s because of the national attention it’s gotten whereas the original Harlem shake received very minima,l if any attention. Regardless, I think it’s just a fad. much like gangnam style was a craze and then people grew to hate it, the same will happen here.

    Anyways, I don’t mean to ramble on. just came across your blog and wanted to comment!

    • http://verysmartbrothas.com Panama Jackson

      welcome to the house.

      I don’t even know if its disrespectful. I mean how can you disrespect something you dont even know exists. But I think thats the point…the I’d wager that despite the ironic title, 99 percent of people don’t even wonder if that comes from something else. And maybe they don’t need to. This is the Harlem Shake for them and thats just what it is.

      It just makes me want to hug people.

  • http://tonyblackshow.wordpress.com tony black

    Hey, first time reader of your blog here. nice write up.

    I personally am neutral about the craze. the videos are for the most part hilarious, but I do think there are too many people out there that really believe that this viral sensation is the Harlem shake. What else can you do but quickly educate the misinformed?

    I’ve seen the arguments from blacks all around and on twitter that this is disrespectful (maybe) and that it was done intentionally to mock black history month (reaching). Maybe it’s because of the national attention it’s gotten whereas the original Harlem shake received very minima,l if any attention. Regardless, I think it’s just a fad. much like gangnam style was a craze and then people grew to hate it, the same will happen here.

    Anyways, I don’t mean to ramble on. just came across your blog and wanted to comment!

  • olsoulmusiq

    I’m not from Harlem. But I still so what offended because its still my culture. I live in cali but I got family all over Harlem. I used dance and anybody who has will tell u that when u have something like this it isn’t just a dance. Its a movement, a lifestyle. Just like krumpin. So to see people make a mockery of it is irriating. We created all the major move. Bronx – break dancing, Harlem – Harlem shake, ATL – bankhead bounce, Chicago – Stepping and House, LA – krumpin and the jerk, Oakland – thizz dance and the hyphy. And there’s so much more. Its cool for other cultures to join in but if u gon do the dance then do it right. And if u gon do something else that’s cool too but call it something different.