An Analyzation of The Harlem Shake

It doesn’t take much for something to become popular for absolutely nothing.

Meme faces, Crazy Frog, horrible music, Snooki, and various others become popular then fade into relative obscurity after a  few weeks of popularity. This week’s latest craze seems to be “The Harlem Shake” videos, which feature a lone person dancing to a song, only to be joined by many others after a slight pause.

If you haven’t heard of the Harlem Shake, you either live under a rock, or you have been blessed.

The Harlem Shake starts out with a single man dancing alone, then at the drop of the song a bunch of random people appear and start dancing.

That’s it.

Screenshot from Filthy Compilation #6                                  Photo by

Let’s take a look at the man who created this sensation.

The original creator of the Harlem Shake goes by the name of Filthy Frank and lives up to it. The first version of the Harlem Shake appeared in his Filthy Compilation #6: Smell My Fingers which featured him and some of his other creations furiously pelvic thrusting to this song. Not exactly the kind of shake people are used to, but a primitive prelude to the greater achievement. It was after watching this video that a group of teens known as  The Sunny Coast Skate decided to go out and make their own, the one we all know and love.

Why are these types of videos so popular all of a sudden?

For starters, there was a sense of originality to the videos, with several groups making their own videos with different styles and such. There was also the fact that some of the videos were just absurd, to the point that all you could do was laugh.

As the exposure became more widespread and the hive mind-set set in, anyone and anything began to make a Harlem Shake video. And as the incredible idea began to grow old and tired, the Harlem Shake has become a clichéd mess.

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