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Harlem Shake Craze...Could it All Be Cursed?

Updated on April 6, 2013


What is the Harlem Shake?

The Harlem Shake is an instrumental song created by DJ and music producer Baauer. The song came out in May of 2012. If you haven't heard it, it's sound is computer-esque with danceclub like rifts and beats.

The song Baauer created is magical. Once it starts, you can't sit still--you have to dance! Baauer describes it as, “I just had the idea of taking a Dutch house squeaky-high synth and putting it over a hip-hop track,” he says. “And then I tried to just make it the most stand-out, flashy track that would get anyone’s attention." Apparently, those weird sounds including some unknown man's voice and a lion's roar are all random so don't go looking for any hidden meaning.

The dance aspect to the Harlem Shake is a bit of a mystery. Unlike the Macarena from the 1990s, it's free-form. The people who have put these vidoes on YouTube have simply gone the direction the beat has led them. It calls them to move. And since there's no official music video, the dance is whatever you want it to be!

the Craze

This fad began in February of 2013 with a single YouTube video that got turned into a meme. Before long, tens of thousands of people were dancing to this catchy song. So long Psy. Looks like Gangnam Style has galloped out the door!

An estimated 40,000 YouTube videos have the tag Harlem Shake in them. People cannot seem to get enough of the catchy song!

What's the fascination behind this dance? The people I spoke to said the combination of the beat and the freedom to dance in whatever way you want are the reasons why they can't get enough of this song!

the Curse

Why would this song, or any song be cursed? I have no clue. But, "Harlem Shake" seems to get lots of people in trouble.

First there's Azealia Banks. She is videoed rapping original lyrics to the "Harlem Shake" beat. Her version took off. Since she obviously did not have permission to use the song, she cannot sell the song. If you want to watch her perform it, click on this link.

Then there's the common people who have gotten in trouble for differing reasons. I'll begin with the college students from Colorado College aboard a Frontier Airline plane. They were all dress in crazy costumes and randomly begin gyrating to the "Harlem Shake." Dubbed "Harlem Shake on a plane," the FAA is looking into potential safety violations and flight attendants could see reprimands.

When you watch that 30-second video (below) of the college students randomly dancing while in flight, notice the old guy in front. He can't dance but he sure is trying. The Harlem Shake makes EVERYONE want to move!!

Apparently this craze has spread world-wide because my next example of the curse is in Australia. Several good looking miners recorded themselves doing the "Harlem Shake" and now are in the unemployment line. Fifteen members of the overnight crew working at the Agnew Mine in Western Austraila. The 30-second video begins with one miners and then is joined by others, many holding tools and props and dancing shirtless. Mining officials say these men were causing unsafe working conditions and that is the reason for the firing. The only crime I see is that these hot guys didn't make a longer video!

In an article taken from Yahoo! News:

The sackings in Australia sparked an online debate with a Facebook page set up to call for the reinstatement of the "sacked WA Harlem Shake Miners".

The workers told The West Australian that they were not endangering safety, pointing out that helmets were worn throughout.

Frontier Airlines

Footage from Australian news with video clips

"Shakers" Beware

Moving forward, it's safe to say that we all need to be mindful of where we act silly and playful. Learning from these examples, be prepared to face stiff consequences if you choose to dance on a plane or underground.

Here are some other places of potential risk:

  • school
  • church
  • in the middle of the street
  • a store
  • doctor's office
  • hospital
  • library
  • jail
  • nursing home
  • police station
  • sporting event


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    Post Comment

    • my_girl_sara profile imageAUTHOR

      Cynthia Lyerly 

      5 years ago from Georgia

      It's weird to see how these different trends get started, isn't it? Thanks for reading!

    • Mhatter99 profile image

      Martin Kloess 

      5 years ago from San Francisco

      Thank you for your take on this. I have just recently been exposed and am still on the fence.


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