My favorite exchange about Mile Cyrus Twerking at The VMA's on Facebook:
Person One: Unfamiliar with the term "twerk".
Person Two: Term given to the Club Dance move where you raise your ass in the air like a Dog in Heat and shake it until your cheeks slap together...
Of course the definition is completely wrong. It made me laugh audibly alone at my computer.
Wikipedia is a little nicer in its explanation:
- The word "Twerking" is of uncertain origin. Possibilities include: a contraction of "footwork", or a portmanteau of twist and jerk.
Ties have been made to many traditional African dances. An example of such traditional dances is Mapouka.
Twerking was introduced into hip-hop culture by way of the New Orleansbounce music scene. In 1993, DJ Jubilee recorded the dance tune "Do The Jubilee All" in which he chanted, "Twerk baby, twerk baby, twerk, twerk, twerk." The video for the song increased the popularity of Twerking. In 1995 New Orleans-based rapper Cheeky Blakk recorded the song "Twerk Something!" a call-and-response dance song dedicated to Twerking. In 1997 DJ Jubilee recorded "Get Ready, Ready" in which he encouraged listeners to "Twerk it!".
Twerking has been around in its current state for almost two decades. There have been Twerk Competitions. YouTube has been showing variants of different people Twerking for years mostly, as parody (White Men Twerking. This one is particularly embarrassing).
Now its being discovered the moment a young lady not particularly known for being in the Southern Hip Hop Scene does it with a guy who has been accused of taking samples from Marvin Gaye's "Got to Give it Up" on television.
Television. You know that device: That thing that sits in your living room that you use Netflix and YouTube for? The thing you set Breaking Bad to watch later from your mobile Cable App?
You also get to the age where people who know that this dance existed (while laughing at those Southern Hip Hop Ladies on their websites) are now horrified that little Miley Cyrus is in a flesh colored outfit "raising her ass in the air like a Dog in Heat and shaking her ass until her cheeks slap together".
It's very funny to me. Ah. You are horrified. Now.
I was disgusted by this dance the moment it came out. I was officially horrified the moment I was in a car with a Caucasian man blasting twerk music and turning to me and asking if I knew what Twerking was three years ago. (He also asked me if I had any tattoos. I guess that would have really made me a member of the twerk?).
Now, I just laugh and laugh that I get to see Miley Cyrus twerk at the VMA's. She's officially the Pat Boone of Dancers. Apparently her take on Twerking also entails keeping her tongue out of her mouth for extended periods of time.
Madonna was horrified she can't show that to her kids. Madonna.
The woman who put out a bondage pictorial book called Sex where most book stores had to wrap the thing in plastic and paper to keep book shelves from getting "Sticky" a year before Twerking came into existence. The woman who went into the black gay scene and made a song called "Vogue" Then rolled off old famous figures names in a rap style. None of whom, were African American.
It's all historically funny to me. She must really count on short term memory.
There is an old saying in my world: "The moment Disney Co-Ops something it is usually over."
The moment I saw Miley Cyrus Twerking on The VMA's to Robin Thicke's Blurred Lines I just smiled and went: Well. Twerking is over. Time to create a new dance from the Hip Hop Scene to be co-opted a decade later by a pretty known Disney Star.
...Have you done two person dancing with feet in places you would never put your feet on a dance partner? Work that out, hip hop community and wait ten years so we can all laugh later on down the line at the VMA's. If we are lucky? Madonna will try to do it at sixty five.
For hundreds of years my culture has been co-opted and turned into a crazy clown mirror of itself. Blues. Rock & Roll. Rap. Hip Hop. The dances we create.
I saw many a lady almost snap their necks off in the 80's trying to do the move from Janet Jackson's "What Have You Done For Me Lately" I've seen many a young man fall backwards trying to Moonwalk.
Try to sit through a Everything is Terrible video of a dance class completely devoid of African Americans called "This is Hip Hop". (Where she just doesn't know what to think of going into a club where there are no baggy clothes. Sterotypes are fun!)
If you want to go even father back: I'm sure a lot of MGM dancers fell headfirst on the floor trying to do what the Whitey's Lindy Hoppers did.
I'm sure if Facebook was around, the explanation of say Fred Astaire Lindy Hopping with Ginger Rogers at The Oscars would be:
Person One: Unfamiliar with Lindy Hopping
Person Two: It's A guy throwing a woman around like a Rag Mop where nine out of ten you are going to see her underwear.
My culture has been co-opted for a lot of generations to the point where the name of Robin Thicke's song is pretty apropos to play while Miley Cyrus Twerks.
It makes me laugh even harder when Middle America is horrified that someone who doesn't look like they are from the Hip Hop Scene sees it on television.
Big Whoop. A Caucasian woman is Twerking on television. American Black Women have been doing this on YouTube for years. African Women for centuries.
Caucasians are now Members of The Twerk. We all just happen to now see it on television (and, the internet, forever) in a flesh colored suit by a Disney Star behind a song that sounds like something that came out in 1977 from someone else.
We can call Twerking a day now. Everybody get off the ground from a split and stop bouncing.
Start working on that two person dancing with feet, Southern Hip Hop Scene. Twerking has been co-opted by Miley Cyrus.
Causes Shaun Landry Supports
The Alzheimer's Foundation, NAACP, Breast Cancer Foundation, Gilda's Club.