The Harlem Shake : Cultural Trend

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The Harlem Shake is a social dance that represents the cultural identity of a neighborhood in New York, but can also be used to define other cultures and groups of people around the globe. It was the center of popular culture in the United States and rapidly spread through the growing popularity of social media. The Harlem Shake is a cultural trend that is known for constructing the identity of widespread groups of people. Thirty years ago, a boy named Albert Boyce caught the attention of his peers while performing some of his original dance moves during halftime of their neighborhood basketball games (Gregory 1). “He would dance, and twist his shoulders” around, said Kia Gregory, creating a dance style many had not seen before. Albert’s friends said that his moves reminded them of a “drunken shake,” with flailing arm movements and a wide range of motion in the legs (Dougan, Fitzgerald 1). People were intrigued by his dance style because it felt more spontaneous and wild compared to anything they had seen before. Years later, a group called the “Crazy Boyz” took some of Al. B.’s moves and made them more appealing to the general public (Gregory 1). They created multiple YouTube clips, which generated popularity of these dance moves. They would help artists choreograph music videos, borrowing some of Al. B.’s spastic arm and leg movements. Mass media helped these music videos race to the top popularity charts, introducing everyone to a new and more freestyle dance.

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