I wanted to leap out of my chair and dance within ten seconds. The viral meme has nothing on the original Harlem Shake.
There have been 50,000 Harlem Shake videos made since the meme jumped onto our computer screens just a few months ago, but none of them are as good as this one that has the original Harlem Shake dance it in. (See our post about whether or not the Harlem Shake is racist.)
Not only is this version the real dance that can be traced back to 1981, but it also is doing good things in Harlem itself. SavetheShake.com is by the “Go Crazy Boyz” dance crew, who is famous for being the original Harlem Shakers. They put together this video in response to the recent “Harlem Shake” meme. According to their home page:
The real ‘Harlem Shake’ is a dance style that was created in Harlem and is part of a rich cultural tradition. Developed and mastered by the ‘Go Crazy Boyz’ dance crew, the Harlem Shake is an art form that continues to be a tool of expression and discipline for many Harlem residents.
So why is the dance so important to the Go Crazy Boyz? Because it is what they teach young people to create community, belonging, and expression. From their about page:
The Harlem Shake is a dance form that maintains its place in the hearts of our inner city community. The popular dance is known for its signature moves and has a mesmerizing effect on its audience. The culture of dance is based on ‘inclusion’ and ‘equality’. By teaching Dance, we offer young people the benefits of creating bonds of friendship, the feeling of being a part of something bigger than themselves, all while engaging in the joyous celebration of life.
The bonds of unity run deep while the Dance form that is the Harlem Shake continues to grow and expand. As one learns the form, one naturally teaches the form to others. It becomes built into one’s identity and a source of great pride. Each new dancer helps to weave a new strand in the ever growing mosiac of Harlem Shake dance steps. This successful contribution to something larger than one’s self is something that can never be taken away or diminished. It becomes a lasting Legacy. Our goal is to continue to give young people a venue to gather, a place that builds unity through dance, and teaches respect as a core fundamental principle.
The group is taking donations so they can continue to help the youth in their area and to keep the Harlem Shake with its real meaning. Maybe toss in a few bucks, or at least bask in the infectious music and take a moment to remember the true roots of this cultural movement.
Thanks to our tipster, Jamie Utt, for sharing the video!
See more: Is the “Harlem Shake” Racist?
Photo credit: YouTube, “The Real Harlem Shake”