Even though I was born 3 blocks from the southern boundary of Harlem, even though I attended college in Harlem, even though I’m a radio dj who plays blues, jazz, roots music, much of which emanates from artists with Harlem connections, I was the LAST person in the western hemisphere to learn about the Harlem Shake viral craze.
So, I’m here to make it right.
It all started for me with a link from a Canadian. Can you imagine the mortification: an almost-Harlem native informed about the Harlem Shake by a Canadian! Hank was letting me know that our colleagues at Vermont Public Radio had produced a VPR version of the Harlem Shake. I worried that this might be a bit, hmm, insensitive racially considering the overwhelmingly white audience and population in Vermont. Oh boy. Was I out of it or what?
Well, I’m going to take all of you through the history of the Harlem Shake, thanks to a great article in today’s NY Times. Here’s a very short video clip of the earliest days of the Harlem Shake, back in the ’80s:
Right up to a recent Two Way blog entry on npr.org from Mark Memmott, complete with a video of the Shake being done on a commercial flight (FAA may be reprimanding flight crew).
Finally, here’s an instructional video, in case you think your Harlem Shake chops need a little upgrade:
So, was I the only one out of the Harlem Shake loop? Is there some other “everyone knows about this” thing that you found yourself left out of? Want to share?