If you’re prone to paying attention to internet memes, then you know all about the Harlem Shake. The craze, started by a group of Australian college students, consists of a single person oddly dressed dancing to Brooklyn based DJ Baauer’s track “The Harlem Shake” — then there’s a jump cut and tens, hundreds or even thousands of people in crazy outfits join in the frenetic dance. It’s a world wide phenomenon, even resulting in the arrest of four Eqyptian students for “indecency” after their clip went viral.
A video uploaded last week by sone St. Francis College students demonstrates the difference between the meme and the original dance made popular by “The Al B.”
As Huffington Post writer Christopher Emdin pointed out earlier this week the meme and Baauer’s song have nothing to do with the original “Harlem Shake” and that’s not a good thing:
Huffington Post: The dance was birthed at the summer basketball tournaments in Harlem where the main draw was high-flying basketball players who soared like they could disappear into the sky. As players took breaks and crowds waited to be entertained once more by the basketball games, legend says there was a man named“Al B” who would shake his body to the music that blasted from outdoor speakers and car stereos to get laughs out of the audience.
Harlem youth saw Al B’s dance and converted it into the most meticulous, yet in the moment, dance I have ever witnessed. The dance was poetic. It had a distinct meter and prose. It used the entire body but emphasized on the shoulders. Hands would fly in the air during breaks in rhythms and youth would stand on their toes like ballet dancers while spinning and stopping on a dime as their bodies defied science and created magic.
However, something far from the Harlem Shake which I call the Harlem Fake came out of nowhere, taking YouTube by storm. In just weeks, a crude version of the complex dance swept the globe.
While many do not see the harm in the “new” Harlem Shake internet meme, here are five reasons why Harlem doesn’t want you to shake.