Harlem Shake: Your Take
April 1st, 2013, Emilene Parry

Harlem Shake: Your Take

The Harlem Shake is an Internet meme in the form of a video. In the meme a group of people perform a comedy sketch to the song “Harlem Shake” by Baauer. Thousands on “Harlem Shake” videos have been uploaded onto YouTube. Most Lab participants were aware of the “Harlem Shake” videos on YouTube although under half had actually seen the videos.

Lab participants initial impression of the Harlem Shake videos:

“Utterly ridiculous. Ludicrous!” Mo, Bahrain

“Some are funny and take a lot of work to create” JayA UAE

“It was so booring to see people dance like this” Ali

“People just wanting to have fun and goof around” Anon

“It makes no sense!” Chrystel, Lebanon

“A big mess of a dance” Anon

“It’s not worth all that propaganda around it” Anon

“I found it to be rather interesting in a funny way I guess a group of people got together for fun to see if it would be noticed” Barbara

Of those who had seen the videos, the majority claim that they like both the videos and the audio.

What they like about the videos:

“The randomness of it” Mo, Bahrain

“It is funny” Mithaq, UAE

“The final part of it, where all people are looking crazy” Joe, Lebanon

“It's funny to watch crazy people doing a funny dance” Lam, Lebanon

“The people were happy doing whatever and appeared to enjoy it knowing people would watch because it was something new” Barbara

“The originality of this dance” Karim, Tunisia

What they dislike about the videos:

“The horrible dancing” Mo, Bahrain

“It has no meaning” Joe, Lebanon

“Some are just silly and not very different from the original” JayA UAE

“At some point it can be embarrassing!” Chrystel, Lebanon

“It's starting to become boring” lam, Lebanon

“It's silly and people look weird while they dance” Anon

"Inappropriate dance” Anon

Interestingly, over half of Lab participants believe that the Harlem Shake meme videos are similar to PSY’s Gangnam Style and very few believe that they will remember the Harlem Shake in 5 years’ time. The large majority of Lab participants believe that most people do not know the origin of the Harlem Shake.

Responses are rather evenly divided when it comes to whether or not the Harlem Shake deserves all the attention it has been getting; although slightly more disagree than agree that it deserves the attention.