Niagara Gazette

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February 24, 2013

VINCENT DAVIS: What’s in a name? Listen to this ...

Niagara Gazette — I’m 98 percent sure that history will remember Feb. 22, 2013, as the day every good dance craze name was taken.

With the advent of the newest YouTube video trend, the Harlem Shake, we have officially run out of new names for the way we move our arms, legs and torsos to music. In the month of February “The Harlem Shake” became a beloved dance sensation for the third time since 1981. “But wait, isn’t the Harlem Shake only a few weeks old?” you’re surely asking, and yes you are correct … kind of.

For those of you not in the know, “Harlem Shake” videos are about 30 seconds in length and consist of one person dancing by himself, usually wearing a helmet while “Harlem Shake,” a song by dance music artist Baauer plays. A few seconds in when the bass ‘drops’ the video cuts to the helmeted dancer in the same location, but now surrounded by other revelers dancing as hard as they can for about 20 seconds.

The first “Harlem Shake” video was uploaded Jan. 30 and over the course of the next two weeks more than 4,000 “Shake” videos were posted and had garnered more than 44 million views. The song shot to number one on iTunes, and Billboard charts and Baauer sold out multiple shows.

I don’t hate YouTube or dance crazes, but I worry for our future generations; someone trying to write a report on great dance crazes from the past will pull up Wikipedia on their holo-iPhone or whatever we’re using in the future and find themselves confronted with a number of different Harlem Shakes, leading to an unfocused report and ultimately a mediocre grade. Do you even care about your great great great grandchild’s education?

For those of you in the know, “The Harlem Shake” is also a dance popularized in the early 2000s by rappers like P.Diddy (formerly “Puff Daddy”, currently just “Diddy”), Jadakiss and others. For those even more in the know it’s a dance invented in 1981 by a Harlem resident named “Al B.”

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