Entertainment Magazine


Posted on the 07 March 2013 by Joel Rosario-Tapia @tapiauno1


                                       Baauer performing at Webster Hall in New York city
By now everyone has heard Brooklyn New york's very own Dj Baauer's EDM  and Trap beat inspired " Harlem Shake" song. Hate it or love it, it's here to stay having made it's mark. In my opinion, the real reason for the song's success has less to do with the song, and more to do with the actual dancing or, attempts at dancing that are displayed in the first video to go viral using Baauers's song as its soundtrack." DizastaMusic's Youtube channel which is the comedian Filthy Frank's platform to the world, was the first channel to use the song and create a "Do the Harlem Shake" video reaching 17 million views and causing hundreds of copy cats to pop up. I think Filthy Frank is the reason that the real Harlem shake dance has all but been forgotten. Watching the original video it looks like when the beat drops Filthy Frank (wearing the pink "onesie" leotard) attempts to do his rendition of what the real "Harlem Shake" dance must have looked like to him, he then gets even more ridiculous with his movements and gyrates and humps the air with the rest of his very foolish looking masked cohorts in a very homo-erotic looking dancing frenzy.

                           Do The Harlem Shake (original) -Filthy Frank

I have no idea why this ridiculous comedy video became so popular other than it's sheer stupidity,which I suspect was the point. The problem is that the masses of completely ignorant followers took to the internet and perpetuated Filthy Franks stupidity, or genius(depending on where you stand on the issue) at the expense of the actual Harlem shake dance. This has made  dancers in Harlem, and many in the Hip-Hop and "minority" communities feel like it's just another one of the many intellectual properties belonging to long forgotten"black" or "minority" artists and dancers to be exploited, raped, reworked and  recreated deriving from the original dance created in Harlem,without giving any credit to the originators. Many people that know what the actual Harlem shake dance looks like are disgusted at the millions of people completely slaughtering the dance itself by  appearing not to be able to dance on beat (or shake on the beat).

        Melissa Harris-Perry Straitens out White America on The Harlem Shake

I have heard so many arguments and stances on the issue. I heard someone say that the dance started by someone imitating what a person looks like when being shot in the chest, or making fun of a drunk person. I also heard that same person express an opinion  that the actual dance shouldn't  be remembered or linked to a cultural heritage of Harlem because of these questions about how the dance began. I think that it's actual origins or purpose are irrelevant in the argument. The dance was created in Harlem, by it's residents. Whatever its origins  the dance has been taken and misrepresented, recreated perverted and monetized. As a B-boy, and Hip-Hop connoisseur, I understand how people  feel about the issue, especially the dancers and originators of the Harlem shake themselves. The dance is still performed by the youth in Harlem, and their are dance crews that are known for their Harlem shaking yet the origin and culture of the people that created the dance, which is what really created the song is barely acknowledged.
This week the song that Harlem, and the Harlem shake dance inspired, DJ Baauers " Harlem Shake" went to a historic number one on Billboard's Hot 100 charts Fueled by the buzz of over 400 million collective youtube views, including Filthy Frank and all the imitators which include,divers,college students, Paratroopers,soldiers,Marines, celebrities, fools and even rappers such as Fat Joe. There has been a lot of talk and debating about the issue on social networks, yet I have not heard any comment by Baauer, or Mad Decent records in reference to the issue.
                                                       MAD DECENT RECORDS
 In terms of public relations, and management of the artist and their business, it may be a smart thing not to say anything. If we bear in mind that the overwhelming majority of folks purchasing the Baauer's music could probably care less what the real Harlem Shake is, and probably couldn't do the dance anyway, then it is clear that Baauer and Mad Decent records have more of a vested interest in not  addressing the issue. It would probably be a major buzz kill! After all  a buzz kill would cost money, not make money! Baauer has not released an actual video to his song yet. I think that if he does he should feature the original and all its variations, that way he wouldn't have to say anything and would pay respect to the actual dance which inspired the soundbite in his song.
Bodily movements aren't copyrightable. Thats the truth, and in the end there is nothing to stop any one from taking a dance someone created, and making a song about it deriving from the original and making millions of dollars with it. However, it is detestable, to take someones cultural ideas and mutilate them and monetize them and never acknowledge the dilution of the original or the effect that it may have on those that created the idea you are capitalizing from. Let me pose this hypothetical question.Would we all look at the issue the same way if a pop star made a song about  the famous Cambodian Apsara Dance and then featured a completely different dance which  mocked the original? Or even if people took the dance and made fun of it with their own version like Filthy Frank and that became  popular at the expense of  Cambodian's dances, would that be ok? What do you Think?

                          Princess Buppha Davi Performs Apsara Dance


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