Somebody back in the States made reference to the Stanky Leg in conversation the other day and then quickly followed up with, “Oh, you probaly don’t know what I’m talking about since you been outta the country.” Well first of all, there’s this thing called the internet. I’m so plugged in how could I NOT know about that song/dance? Secondly, Japanese people know ALL of the dances. ALL of them. I was so shocked. Not shocked that they can dance or that they like hip-hop music… everyone knows that. I just didn’t expect them to be so up on all of the southern-type dances. I’ve learned some things out here, let me tell you.
It got me to thinking though, about how much junk people talk about the dances that are out today. Stanky leg, Halle Berry, Jockin’, leanin’ and rockin’, booty do, Rick James, etc. Folks say they’re ignorant and stupid. They embarrass Black people. The youth have lost their mind. It’s a minstrel show. Cooning. The South is killing hip-hop.
Negro, please. Memory lane must be a really short street. I grew up in the 80s and 90s. I was one of those kids who was into dance. In fact, I once believed I would grow up to become a professional dancer/choreographer. I would watch the Flyy girls on In Living Color then go to my friend’s cri and recreate the moves. I had a dance group in middle and high school and we’d perform during halftime at summer league basketball games or open up for acts blowing through town. What I remember from the early days of all that dancing is that people really DANCED. The moves back then were just as animated, if not more so, than what kids are doing today.
Remember seeing Kid N Play get down? Big Lez? Heavy D and the Boys? Diddy when he was Puffy the backup dancer? The Flyy Girls? The people who got on stage at the end of Def Comedy Jam? Remember doing the Roger Rabbit? The Bobby Brown? The Wop? The Cabbage Patch? Remember jumping up and down, getting on the ground, thrusting your pelvis in the air a la Salt N Pepa? Of course you do. If you remember all of that, you know it was nearly impossible to DANCE back then without breaking out a fucking sweat. Folks were all over the place! Tell me, how is that sooooo different from what folks do today?
I think we got thrown off because in the 90s we went through a period where folks didn’t dance no mo’. Party dancing gave way to mean mugging and holding up the wall. Alternatively, you would just grind your ass around and simulate sex on the dancefloor. You couldn’t really bust a move to gangsta rap and people who made music just for dancing and partying got relegated to the “wack” or “sellout” side of the hip hop spectrum.
Lil’ Boosie ain’t the epitome of hip hop by any means, folks. But I’m gonna be wiping down my shoulders, chest, pants and shoes when Wipe Me Down comes on. Why? Because I like to dance, I like to party and I remember when stuff like that wasn’t uncommon at all.
What do you think? Is dance so different now than it was before? Or are we just getting old and sounding more like our parents every day?
Oh… and I’m not cosigning the naming of dances after what some may or may not do with their ejaculate and linens. Just skip over that.