The Harlem Shake Pandemic

Everybody’s doing a brand new dance now. The Harlem Shake has exploded on the Internet faster than you can say “Call Me Maybe.” The 30-second videos depicting the undulating dancers in silly costumes started to pick up last week. The it hit national television. Jimmy Fallon created his own version featuring staffers and house band The Roots, news teams starting making their own versions, and the number of Harlem Shake creations on YouTube increased exponentially.

The popularity surged due to an extremely easy to re-create formula. Enter one person in a seemingly normal environment with a helmet, mask, or other head covering. At the drop, the entire room has joined in the dance. Most of the videos (or at least the most popular ones) feature slightly vulgar grinding of objects, walls, furniture. It sounds like fodder for frat house shenanigans, and there is no shortage of versions from college campuses. Our local university, Cal Poly, made one early on that was featured on the Today Show.

But college kids aren’t the only ones jumping on the dance wagon. In a matter of days, marketing teams mobilized to capitalize on the trend.

Google and Facebook, not to be outshone on the Internet, made their own Harlem Shakes as well.

Like a true virus, the formula has mutated.  already recognize that the basic set-up has “been done,” and it’s time to bring something unexpected to the table.

Now we can’t stop watching them. It’s only another minute of our lives. What will happen in the next one? Someone dressed as a Transformer? Dancing undressed in the snow? Anything goes.

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  • no girations here

    The google one seems to have been hijacked by copyright claims and no longer available…

    • Brittny Peloquin

      Thanks for the heads up! The Google video has been replaced

  • Greg Clough

    Isn’t this *THE* original video that sparked the meme?

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=384IUU43bfQ

    It was published on 02/FEB/2013, and the one you linked to with the girls (love the Hot Dog costume by the way) was published on 07/FEB/2013.

    Also… why no Harlem ShakEE ?

  • Altho I appreciate the creativity, it should not be called the Harlem Shake–because, for one, what most of the people who are participating are doing is hardly the Harlem Shake. Yeah, this dance has been gentrified and ruined way beyond recognition–and I am not alone in this sentiment. http://www.policymic.com/articles/26754/harlem-shake-video-how-internet-gentrification-ruined-the-dance Perhaps if it were called, instead, ‘Catching the Ghost’ I might be a bit more approving.