You Didn’t Make the Harlem Shake Go Viral — Corporations Did

Harlem ShakeWanna know why so many got upset w/ the Harlem Shake phenom? It wasn’t so much because white kids who never heard of the dance doing it.. I think for a lot of folks that’s what was easiest top grasp onto.. but for many there was something else going on.. many weren’t quite able to articulate and pinpoint it, but something about this just felt foul..

Well here’s what was going on.. what was driving this Harlem Shake thing, wasn’t a bunch of folks sincerely having fun.. It was corporations getting behind this video and making the whole thing pop to the tune of big time money… So yes, folks were right when they said the Harlem Shake was the ‘Gentrified Harlem Shake‘ a term I first heard from writer dream hampton….To be accurate it was corporate gentrification.. The end game was to make  it appear as if everything was spontaneous..but it was anything but.. I like to use the words ‘social engineering‘…to make it plain and simple, call it manipulation or just straight up pimping

When speaking to classes, I remind folks today’s generation is being bombarded from all angles with information specifically designed to make them consumers and followers and not thinkers.. This Harlem Shake thing is a perfect way of showing how that happens.. This article below lays how all this went down and even though it doesn’t specifically lay this point out, I would emphasize, there’s no meaning to the phrase ‘let the buyer beware‘ or in the words of Chuck D from Public EnemyDon’t Believe the Hype‘’s an excerpt from the Mashable article.. The entire piece can be found at;

You Didn’t Make the Harlem Shake Go Viral — Corporations Did

Google’s trend charts of the phrase “Harlem Shake” are seismic. Almost no one looked for the words until Feb. 7, then searches surged faster than any term Google ever had, except for “Whitney Houston” after her death. A few weeks later, they fell close to zero.

Experts said the “Harlem Shake” phenomenon was emergent behavior from the hive mind of the internet — accidental, ad hoc, uncoordinated: a “meme” that “went viral.” But this is untrue. The real story of the “Harlem Shake” shows how much popular culture has changed and how much it has stayed the same.

The word “meme” comes from evolutionary biologist Richard Dawkins. Bits of information — memes — propagate from brain to brain through imitation, are subject to selection and can be regarded as living structures, he says, “not just metaphorically but technically,” because new information changes our brains. They are often made deliberately — think catchphrases, slogans, melodies — and makers may try to propagate them as fast and far as possible, or make them go viral. The myth of the “Harlem Shake” is that its viral spread was spontaneous, not directed by financial interests — a pop culture, popular uprising. Here’s how the meme and the myth began.

Harlem Residents React to ‘Harlem Shake Videos’

Harlem street signSo everyone is doing the Harlem Shake…I been wishing some folks who are actually from Harlem before the pink poodles, fancy latte shops and Pilate joints up would do this and show folks what the Harlem Shake is really about..

I’m old enough to remember when the Harlem Shake is what you said when describing junkies nodding off around 145th..

Of course we had the Harlem Shakedown.. That’s when stick up kids got at you after you left early Hip Hop spots like Harlem World.. Sad part is was usually Brooklyn kids doing it.. Damn rowdy ass BK..LOL

The Harlem Shake is what some would say about thick sistas walking up 125th..rocking tube tops in the summer time..Nothing like Summertime in Harlem

There was the Harlem shake when folks crossed you over on the basketball court.. at various pick up spots around Harlem..Wait till you see the new movie by Bobbito Garcia that focuses on pick up games in Harlem..

Of course there was the original Harlem Shake.. The one that came out damn near 10 years ago.. dance..This new Harlem Shake has been gentrified ..It’s the new planking.. Below is a video from real live Harlem residents reacting to this new Harlem Shake..

Immortal Technique Interview on Malcolm X’s birthday May 2006-Harlem

One thing you gotta love about Harlem based rapper Immortal Technique is he walks the walk and talks the talk… Most of us admire him for his political wisdom which manifest itself very forcefully in his songs. That’s a good thing.. many of today’s artist shy away from rocking the boat. Tech doesn’t.

More importantly, Tech speaks his truth no matter what. It doesn’t matter if cameras are on him or not. You can catch him participating in marches, rallies and simply building with the community.  A few years ago, I was in Harlem for what would’ve been Malcolm X‘s 80th birthday. Many had come out for march and right there in the middle of the crowd was Immortal Technique. No fan fare. No album to promote. It was just him being a part of the community.. As I said at a day and time when so many are looking for cheap promotion angles, Immortal Technique’s low-key participation was a breath of fresh hair..Below is our 4 part interview.. Given May 19 2006 in Harlem New York..

written by Davey D

Immortal Technique pt1 speaking on the importance of celebrating his birthday pt1

Immortal Technique pt2 How has Malcolm X’s philosophy influenced the World?

Immortal Technique pt3: we shift our focus to political conversation to political prisoners

Immortal technique pt 4 Black and Brown Unity