Harlem Shake

There’s a new dance craze in town called the Harlem Shake.

Here, the UGA men’s swim and dive team take a breath-holding crack at the HS: underwater! Kudos, Speedo-clad student athletes.

This new wave of the HS originated with a song by Baauer, which spawned several Youtube videos. The top hit features a guy in a helmet, jerking his body around in a room full of people who seem less than amused.  After a jump cut, everyone joins in the  body -jerking and 20 seconds later, it’s all over.

If the Harlem Shake sounds familiar, you’re probably reminiscing about the 2001 version of the dance.  Rapper, Fabolous’s, video for Young’n Holla Back features a lil girl in a pink shirt showing her Uptown moves on the subway.  Watch for her at the 2:10 and 3:00 mark.

I admire the rhythm and skill needed to perform 2001’s HS  yet the spontaneity and randomness involved in 2013’s Harlem Shake videos have me clicking replay.  Which Harlem Shake video and version do you prefer?  Post the links to your favorites in the comments section.

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Japan Loves Black Urban Culture

I came across an eye-opening video about the presence of Black American culture in Japan.  B-style is the common name given to black culture in Japan.  This video exposes a sector of Japanese young adults who adore and aim to emulate their favorite rappers, female hip hop stars, and video girls.  The shocking aspect about this B-style lifestyle is that the Japanese celebrate a culture that is oftentimes condemned and criticized in the U.S. for its celebration of ostentation, hyper sexuality, male chauvinism, criminality, and the like.  Who knew, what one country may consider trash, is lauded as another nation’s treasure?

Author’s note: the acclaim of black hip hop culture in Japan is most likely reserved to a niche in the Japanese population.  Nonetheless, this niche of fans and emulators have made B-style apart of their everyday lives and in some cases black culture has become their lifestyles.

Why Did Rosa Parks Sit Down At The Front Of The Bus?

Rosa Parks did not sit down at the front of the bus only because her feet were tired.

Parks, a middle aged black woman, boarded a bus.  She sat in the front and refused to give up her seat for a white passenger.  On December 1st, 1955 in segregational Montgomery, Alabama, Parks’ firm decision still reigns as one of the most significant and well known acts of the Civil Right era.  However, despite knowing that Parks kept her seat on the bus, many remain unaware of who Parks was- (as) a black female Civil Rights activist.

Read more at The Grio

Bike the City

Biking is expanding in key municipalities in the U.S., especially New York.  You may know from personal experience or dual-wheel enthusiasts that biking is the greatest way to see a city.  It provides a  sense of freedom, intimacy with your city, and control that is unmatched by driving a car, motorcycle, or plain ol’ walking.

Although cycling and its culture has exploded in NYC in recent years there are still many gripes, nicks, and kinks that have yet to be worked out.  For example, during the handful of errands I ran this week on my bike, I encountered double parked cars in bike lanes, causing me to veer into traffic, monstrous potholes capable of swallowing an entire front wheel, being doored, and the worst: no bike lanes at all.

All the aforementioned, I’m sure, are gripes that cyclists can relate to.  If you hear a cyclist groan with fury mid-ride it’s probably due to one of the gripes I mentioned or perhaps they’re biking on a steep incline.  Despite what exactly grinds each biker’s gears, I’m hoping that the folks at the transportation department can work to resolve these woes.  If not for decreased cycler groans then for increased cycler safety.

Nonetheless, my ever adventurous bike trips with all their thoroughfare complexities demand such swift resolve that my mind is continually invigorated by each passing block’s dilemma.  As the biting winter months loom, I compulsively seize autumn’s windows of opportunities to be active.  After a ride, I feel Amazonian and accomplished across my mental, physical, and spiritual states. Fierce.

Related: Pleasures of Life in the Slow Lane

Photo Credit: LJN 2011

Give Me Everything

I first heard Give Me Everything on a boat during a Fourth of July cruise.  I’ve been dancing to it ever since and reminiscing about that glorious independence celebration.  On Sunday night in L.A., Neyo, Pitbull, and a woman in a nude and black lace unitard performed the hit song at the 2011 MTV Video Music Awards.  Check out the performance here.

Author’s note: I hate to reduce the female singer’s role into “what was she wearing?!”  But her get-up made the lasting impression rather than the performance.  I gather that she knew what she was going for upon donning the costume.

Earthquakes and Baby Bumps

New York has experienced more natural disasters in one week than anyone can count.  From an earthquake, to Hurricane Irene, and a tornado watch this weekend was one to remember-even though we were all stuck safe indoors with our err loved ones.  NYC’s public transportation system-the largest in the world- was shut down by noon on Saturday and will slowly restore service on Monday Morning.

Now being indoors was okay for 2 reasons.  #1: The surplus of  food we all bought for hurricane preparedness was available and unabashedly taken advantage of.  And #2: MTV became relevant again for a few hours during its annual VMA awards.  Noteworthy performances included Bruno Mars‘ tribute to the late Amy Winehouse, powerhouse vocals from Adele, and the Carter baby bump.  Let me clarify the latter portion of the aforementioned statement.

Beyonce appeared pre-VMA show holding a baby bump a.k.a. her impregnated…uterus?  

After a show-stopping performance of one of her many love ballads she tore out of her sequined tux jacket, rubbed her bump, and flashed a dazzling smile.  The pregnancy glow radiated all over the crowd and the proud sperminator, Jay-Z (S. Carter), beamed from the audience.

And there you go NYC.  You’ll be able to tell your grandkids that you survived a quake, a ‘cane, and you witnessed the music royalty b. bump- dramatic pause- all in a week.