After staying in and not drinking on Friday night I found myself wide awake at 8am on Saturday morning. I walked into the living room of my condo and turned on SportsCenter where I caught a glimpse of the Miami Heat’s ‘Harlem Shake’ video. As one who a) deeply despises the Miami Heat and b) generally dislikes the viral YouTube dance crave du-jour, I had somehow managed to go all week without actually watching the video despite ESPN’s non-stop promotion of it. Bored, I finally allowed myself to see what all the fuss was about…. big mistake. I’m officially addicted to the Harlem Shake craze.
Despite all the awesome college basketball that was on Saturday afternoon, I ended up spending over three straight hours glued to YouTube on my cell phone where I continued to watch video after video until my Samsung Galaxy III died. For the rest of the weekend, the catchy beat – and the incredible images I witnessed – played on loop, inside my head. No matter where I was, or what I was doing, I just couldn’t shake the Harlem Shake. All this got me to thinking: what makes the Harlem Shake videos so appealing?
The Harlem Shake has become the video phenomenon of the year for a variety of reasons.
1) the EDM (electronic dance music) beat by Baaur perfectly encapsulates the music that American taste-makers are listening to right now. If you’re in your mid thirties or above you most likely don’t get or understand the EDM revolution that has swept the nation over the past five or so years. The brilliance of the Harlem shake videos is that they allow people – regardless of age, sex, and country of origin – to experience the universal draw of EDM without needing an assist from the seductive influences of drugs and lasers.
2) the videos are short (most between 30-50 seconds) making them relatively easy to watch and produce. This a major key to achieving virility amongst the ADD generation. Because they are short and spontaneous its nearly impossible to make a bad Harlem shake video. Even if you do some how stumble across a sub-par one, the time investment is so small that you’ll simply move to the next without paying second mind to it.
3) the Harlem Shake can be done in any setting (at work, at school, under water, in the air, etc) and while wearing anything, two factors that when taken together make each video so unique. The optics of watching a group of people performing such different acts are dually awesome and incredibly visually stimulating. The randomness both in the costumes worn and the dance moves performed are not all that different from the sights you might take in at an Avicii, Deadmau5, or SMH show.
That said there is no better way to understand the Harlem Shake craze than to simply dive in. Below are some of my favorites I stumbled upon during my weekend long Harlem Shake bender. Feel free to comment below about your favorite videos and, most importantly, if you’ve got some that I’m missing please paste the links to the comment section. Now without further ado… do the Harlem shake!
The Miami Heat
The Miami Heat’s Harlem Shake video is so good it almost makes me want to like them. Cleverly the team all wears costumes that embody the individual’s nicknames. Chicago’s own D-Wade is the one rocking the Kanye West bear costume. My personal favorite is former Mario Chalmers rocking the Super Mario costume.
KSLA Newsroom Does the Harlem Shake
In this video the news team of KSLA breaks into the Harlem Shake after detailing the rise of the phenomenon during that evenings report.
Harlem Shake on a Plane
Perhaps the most infamous of all the Harlem Shake videos this one made by the Colorado College Wasabi Ultimate Frisbee team aboard Frontier Airlines flight 157. The FAA is investigating this flight to see if any safety regulations were ignored by passenger or crew members
UGA Swim Team Underwater Harlem Shake
They’re doing the Harlem Shake underwater… does it get any cooler?
There is something incredibly appealing about watching a group of disciplined soldiers break out in such randomness.
NBA All-Star Edition
Benny the Bull takes center stage in this awesome video shot during the NBA All-Star weekend.
Maryland vs Duke Harlem Shake
Even as a Duke fan I have to give props to our non-rivals to the north, Maryland, for really creating an incredible gameday environment. Best part of this video is that ESPN’s Scott Van Pelt, a Maryland Alum, is sitting right in front of the group of students who got the whole thing started. The look on his face is pretty classic.
The Simpsons Harlem Shake
Chicks Harlem Shake
UrbanTribe Dance Crew
Obama Harlem Shakes
Sky Dive Edition
Best Harlem Shakes
Best Harlem Shakes II
Best Harlem Shakes III
Top 10 Compilation
Hot and Sexy Harlem Shakes