Weight LossWhen Did Twerking Go Mainstream? A Look at the History of This Now-Iconic Dance MoveAugust 1, 2023 by admin 0 Comments Share on Facebook Share on Twitter Share on Pinterest Share on LinkedIn Image Source: Image source: Getty / Graphic House Kevin Winter Ilya S. Savenok Stringer Tomekbudujedomek; Photo illustration: Ava Cruz Since Miley Cyrus‘s infamous 2013 MTV VMAs performance, twerking has become a mainstream phenomenon. That same year, the term was added to the Oxford English Dictionary. A decade later, you can now find twerk fitness workouts on some of the most popular platforms, and twerking YouTube tutorials have reached tens of millions of views. Yet, just as with most things within Black culture, the validity and popularity of twerking were only established once a pop star performed it on MTV. In reality, the culture and history of twerking is centuries old, and dates back to the Ivory Coast of Africa, before the transatlantic slave trade. As we celebrate 50 years of hip-hop and the evolution twerking has made into the mainstream, it’s important to take a moment and reflect the journey it’s taken to get to this place. Both hip-hop and twerking have been subject to censorship, backlash, and continuously scrutinized by mainstream media. Rap groups like NWA were banned from performing in certain arenas. Artists like Megan Thee Stallion and Cardi B have been criticized for being overly sexual and not respecting themselves. However, if hip-hop culture has taught us anything, it’s how to genuinely show up in the world as our most authentic selves. It’s shown us what it looks like to stay connected to our ancestral roots and how to use the pain of our oppression to create a form of expression the world needs. Most importantly, hip-hop has taught us what resilience and consistency can manifest in our lives even when we’re up against the greatest of odds. Ahead, read through a cultural storyline of twerking, from its African roots through ’90s New Orleans, early viral videos, and Lizzo‘s TED Talk up to the present day. Pre-Transatlantic Slave Trade: Twerking’s Historical Origins Early 1900s: Black American Culture 1993: Twerking and New Orleans Bounce Music 2000: Ying Yang Twins’ Debut Single 2003: Twerking Is Added to the Urban Dictionary 2009: The Twerk Team Goes Viral 2013: Miley Cyrus’s Viral VMAs Performance 2013: Twerking Is Added to the Oxford English Dictionary 2021: Lizzo’s TED Talk 2023: Essence Fest “Twerk Off” Pre-Transatlantic Slave Trade: Twerking’s Historical Origins Image Source: Getty / ISSOUF SANOGO / Contributor Twerking has been around in its present form since the early 1990s but is the modern version of an ancient dance called Mapouka that originated in Côte d’Ivoire (i.e. Ivory Coast) in West Africa. It was a celebratory dance performed at festivals where women would shake their buttocks to the beat of a rhythmic drum, according to The Progress blog by Progressive Pupil, an organization associated with The New School in New York and behind the documentary “Black and Cuba”. However, as colonial ideologies and “Christian” values spread throughout the continent of Africa, the dance became taboo and was even banned in certain places or on television. 1 / 10 1900s: Black American Culture Image Source: Getty / Graphic House / Staff Throughout slavery, Black Americans managed to maintain aspects of their African culture, and this manifested through blues singers such as Bessie Smith finding movement in their hips as they performed on stage in the early- to mid-1990s. It emerged in Josephine Baker‘s notorious banana dance, jazz dance, and the jitterbug, too. These dances, similar to twerking today, were wildly deemed inappropriate or distasteful. Yet, the women performing them became symbols or freedom in expression and liberation through the movement. 2 / 10 1993: Twerking and New Orleans Bounce Music In 1993, DJ Jubilee released a hit track in the bounce genre — a variation of hip-hop music that originated in New Orleans — which is widely considered to be the first time the term “twerk” appeared in a recorded song, according to Fuse. “Do The Jubilee All” showcased the popular New Orleans bounce sub-culture dance style of twerking, as DJ Jubilee rapped, “twerk baby, twerk baby, twerk twerk twerk baby, twerk twerk twerk.” 3 / 10 2000: Ying Yang Twins’s debut single Doing what Black artists have done for decades, Atlanta natives Ying Yang Twins took a very vanilla song and added their own cultural flavor. Playing off the “Snow White” song “Whistle While You Work,” Ying Yang Twins produced their hit debut single “Whistle While You Twurk” in 2000, bringing more notoriety to twerking outside of the New Orleans bounce scene. 4 / 10 2003: Twerking Defined in the Urban Dictionary In 2003, the term “twerking” was submitted to the Urban Dictionary for the first time. It was defined as: “To work one’s body, as in dancing, especially the rear end.” This was the same year the mega hit “Get Low” by Lil Jon & The East Side Boyz, featuring the Ying Yan Twins, was released, which calls out twerking in its lyrics and hit number two on the Billboard charts. 5 / 10 2009: The Twerk Team goes viral On June 5, 2009, three teenage girls from Atlanta — referring to themselves as “Twerk Team” — uploaded their first video to YouTube, and within a week, it had gone viral with over one million views. The crew continued to release videos until 2015. 6 / 10 2013: Miley Cyrus’s Viral VMA performance Image Source: Getty / Jeff Kravitz / Contributor During the 2013 MTV VMAs, Miley Cyrus twerked through her duet with Robin Thicke, becomings the most talked about moment of the night. Though Miley had twerked previously on her social media channels, this performance caught the attention of the mainstream media, being reported on by CNN, Forbes, and Business Insider, just to name a few. This viral moment has been credited with the current popularity of the dance form. During the performance, it was the top trending topic on Twitter and reached a peak of 306,100 tweets per minute, according to NBC News. 7 / 10 2013: Oxford English Dictionary Adds Twerking, and a Guinness World Record Is Broken Image Source: Getty / Ilya S. Savenok / Stringer In August 2013, the Oxford English Dictionary added the word “twerk.” It was defined as dancing “in a sexually provocative manner, using thrusting movements of the bottom and hips while in a low, squatting stance.” According to the dictionary, the earliest known use of the verb dates back to the 1840s, and as a noun back to the 1820s. About a month later, as part of filming for her reality show “Queen of Bounce”, hip-hop artist Big Freedia gathered more than 350 people in New York City to set the Guinness World Record for the most people twerking simultaneously (shown in the photo here). In 2014, Big Freedia broke their own record at the Central City Festival in New Orleans, the home of bounce, with 406 people total, according to Guinness World Records. That remains the record today. 8 / 10 2021: Lizzo’s TED Talk In August 2021, Lizzo did a TED Talk on the historical background and cultural importance of twerking within the Black community. She discusses how the “magic” of twerking helped her build self-confidence, self-love, and how it empowered her to be her most authentic self. Lizzo also discusses the Miley Cyrus VMA performance and how moments like that further perpetuate the erasure of Black people’s impact on American culture as a whole: “Everything that Black people create from fashion to music to the way we talk is coopted, appropriated, and taken by popular culture,” she said. 9 / 10 2023: Essence Fest “Twerk Off” In July 2023, during The Essence Festival in New Orleans, Megan Thee Stallion and Janelle Monae received backlash for a “twerk off” they conducted during their performance on the main stage, with singer-songwriter India Arie being one of the loudest critics. Arie went to social media to share her thoughts, writing: “The issue is what is CONTEXT. Humanity does EVERYTHING. But does EVERYTHING BELONG IN A STAGE. No. Is everything for KIDS? No.” Arie’s social media posts re-ignited an on-going conversation in the Black community around respectability politics. Throughout the ordeal, Essence Magazine supported both performing artists on its social platforms. 10 / 10 This article was originally published by Popsugar.com. Read the original article here. Share on Facebook Share on Twitter Share on Pinterest Share on LinkedIn Products You May Like Ads by AmazonArticles You May Like Welcome to a New Era of Luxury Bags Blank Slate: ELLE’s September 2023 Shopping Guide I Tried Ninja’s New Portable Blender Every Day For a Week and I Swear I’m Healthier Because of It Where Have All the Plus-Size Bodies Gone? Can Too Much Exercise Really Make Your Period Late — or Totally MIA?