While growing up, my mother used to say to me, “The older the moon, the brighter it shines.” I used to view the notion as being silly, as I thought that the older something gets, the less energy it has to display. I guess all she meant was that with experience comes wisdom.
She also used say, “One fool makes many”, and I guess some will agree with her as it regards to this Harlem Shake Phenomenon.
I often view myself as a lover of all genres of music (except rap and heavy metal). A few weeks ago, I passed some kids on a computer and
I heard a song being played, it sounded like Lorna’s “Papi Chulo”, so I inquired and was told it was called the ‘Harlem Shake’. Since then, everyday I am greeted by a new version on my Facebook page, often accompanied by the caption, “LOL!” “DWL!” or #dead”; but still, I can’t seem to crack even a smile.
I have seen the puppy version, the original version, military version, UWI C5 version, UWI WJC version, UWI 2k16 version, Wolmer’s Version, Underwater Version ,the Kevin version, the end all Harlem Shakes Version, the church version, La Maison Version, Taylor Hall version and my reaction is still the same.
Yesterday, my friend Tristan made a post on Facebook and he was not the least bit amused with this new internet sensation that has gone viral. He compared it to Cliff Twang and Sweet Brown, who too had their 15 minutes of fame through social media. His concern was that these creative juices are being wasted and people are more caught up with trivial things than matters of social importance such as violence, poverty and the thorns that continue to inflict pain in our society.
While I agree and share some of his concerns and sentiments my take is slightly different on the matter, as I believe that it has a few things to tell us.
* We live in a world where individuality is encouraged and people refuse to work together for fear of stifling their creativity, the Harlem Shake allows for
team work which allows each person to express themselves uniquely and it is still viewed as cool.
* Although we are lead to believe in the fantasy of freedom of expression, we live in a world that is more traditional than conventional, so youths especially jump at the slightest opportunity they see fit.
* Young people are still very impressionable. Contrary to popular beliefs, they do try to stay current and it shows the influence of social media on the lives of our nations’ youths.
* The issue with viral sensations is that they expire quickly, so one has to work fast. Most young persons procrastinate a lot and seeing them do a video and submit it on time gives hope for the future.
* Some people have never done anything viewed and accepted by the masses and for some persons, doing such a video is a major achievement.
* Want to know why the good news won’t spread as fast? Because people are stressed in almost every aspect and most of the issues we face now were being faced by our Grandparents, so some believe their input will be worthless. Because laughter (for those who find it funny at least) is used as a coping mechanism to feel better, to cope with unpleasant situations and a way to heal. In stressful times, the Roots plays and Comedies do better than the scripts based on societal realities.
Think about it, maybe doing fun things as a challenge to our youths may actually get them involved in matters of importance … especially when they think that everybody is doing it.