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The “Harlem Shake” Viral Meme Takes Over CCSU Circle

CCSU Meme Harlem Shake

By Acadia Otlowski

In what is being called the biggest internet dance craze since “Gangnam Style,” the “Harlem Shake” has taken the world by storm in a matter of weeks, finding its way to CCSU just this week.

The song “Harlem Shake” was the brain child of artist Baauer who created the song. A short 30-second clip was then picked up by a group of teenagers in Australia. The video went viral and according to content ID services by Youtube, more than 4,000 Harlem Shake-related videos have been found, in total receiving more than 30 million views by Feb. 14, according to Billboard. This number continues to grow as more videos are made and viewed worldwide.

But the viral meme continues to spread. CCSU students got together Monday to create their own version of the meme, organized by a Facebook page called “CCSU Memes.” The students met in the student circle just past 1 p.m.

The event attracted more than 50 students who danced without sound  for a few minutes because the organizers of the event were not able to arrange for the song to play.

Event organizer, Ian Rodriguez-Torrent, gave instructions to the students, orchestrating the event in place of the founder of “CCSU Memes” who was not present at the event.

“We just thought of it one night. We got a couple friends together and they told a couple friends,” said Rodriguez about the event.

The video was posted on the CCSU Memes Facebook page on Monday night.

Between the Content ID system and music sales, Baauer is profiting heavily from this meme, with “Harlem Shake” competing for top five places on the iTunes charts in the US, Germany, Australia and the majority of Europe.

Although the origins of the meme are a little different depending on who you ask, this is the generally accepted story.

To find out the history of the “Harlem Shake” meme, one must first start with the video by comedian and vlogger, “Filthy Frank” who started the craze with his video which featured a few people in costume dancing to the “Harlem Shake.” This has been labeled the original, since it has been thought to have triggered the craze.

The dance style in Filthy Frank’s  video was based off a move by a child in a music video by Diddy called “Let’s Get It.” This same dance style was used in many other hip hop videos following Diddy’s.

Although Diddy did not create the move, he did popularize it. The original hip hop dance, the Harlem Shake, has been attributed to Al B, who became known for the move around 1981.

“It’s a drunken shake. It’s an alcoholic shake, but it’s fantastic, everybody loves it and everybody appreciates it, and it’s glowing with glory,” said Al B in an interview with  InsideHoops.com in 2003, long before the meme emerged.

But many Harlem residents haven’t reacted to the meme in a positive manner. Some that have been interviewed find the videos mocking and offensive.

“They’re basically taking what we do and making a joke of it,” said one local in a video that showed reactions to the rising meme. The general consensus is that the current meme is nothing like the original dance style. There are worries that this meme will completely bury the original dance.