Videogum

How To Do The Actual Harlem Shake

Gabe Delahaye | February 22, 2013 - 5:00 pm

This is officially the last post Videogum will ever publish about the “Harlem Shake,” and if we are lucky it will hopefully be the last post ever published on the entire Internet (JK, the countdown to the backlash to the backlash to the backlash to the backlash begins right after you kill yourself). We have already covered most of the pertinent information, from what the “Harlem Shake” meme is, to what the actual residents of Harlem think of it (SPOILER ALERT: nothing good!). While memes are traditionally a drop of pop cultural nonsense in a pop cultural nonsense ocean, this one actually seems to have larger implications, since Baauer’s “Harlem Shake” is currently the #1 song in MULTIPLE COUNTRIES due to the popularity of the white people doing their dance. And yet at no point in all of the developing controversy* over whether or not this is yet another example of white people carelessly appropriating (and trivializing) black culture has anyone actually shown the white people HOW TO DO THE ACTUAL HARLEM SHAKE. Until now. PAY ATTENTION, WHITE PEOPLE!

Dope though. For real. One of the doper shakes.

CLARIFICATION: I am not actually suggesting that white people start doing the real Harlem Shake. Just sit down. Read the New Yorker or whatever. Shut up.

*Not that there is any real controversy since the answer is yes, it absolutely is another case of white people appropriating (and trivializing) black culture. In this week’s earlier discussion about the racial dynamics of this phenomenon, a lot of commenters took the position that even if it was a case (it is) of white people appropriating and trivializing black culture, they didn’t think it was that big of a deal. HEY GUESS WHAT! That’s not really the argument. Whether or not you personally think that it is a big deal is a question you have to look deep inside yourself to answer, I guess, but even if you think it is not a big deal it doesn’t change that it is what we are calling it (appropriation/trivialization) and your argument that even so it is not a big deal to you seems like a very counter-productive way of de-clawing the larger discussion, as if the larger discussion is not even worth having, which I say is bunk. The larger discussion is ALWAYS worth having. No harm comes from HAVING the discussion, but much harm does come from PRETENDING THE DISCUSSION ISN’T IMPORTANT. On a sidenote: another commenter said that they felt that we as a culture still struggling with our complicated racial history (and present) were often handling ethnic/minority cultures with kid gloves. UH, OK, AND SO WHAT? Like, considering how much ACTUAL BLOOD has been shed in this country and how many generations of human lives have been lived under GENUINELY DEEP DARK SHADOWS OF FEAR AND OPPRESSION, I think handling things with kid gloves from time to time is literally THE LEAST WE CAN DO. Naturally, it was a white person who thought this was an issue.