Entertainment & Culture
The Top 5 Dances of All Time

We at the NegusWhoRead headquarters are constantly cataloging and ranking the niche things that make Black culture so beautiful so that when Donald Trump becomes President, we can rebuild our society on whichever island he banishes the negro population. Perhaps this is the most controversial list of them all because it is so subjective and dependent on the era in which you grew up. As HNIC I stayed out of the debate and just broke up that one fistfight about the Humpty Dance. Besides, I only do two dances — the two-step, and grinding on a booty or thigh (I call it “hunching”). So here we are, NegusWhoRead’s definitive list of the Top 5 dances of all time. 

5. The Electric Slide I have a confession to make. In the early 1990’s, Joy Smith, my eleventh grade pre-calculus teacher noticed my teenage awkwardness and taught me how to do a beach music line dance native to the coastal Carolinas called the “Shag.” In return, I taught her the Electric Slide. Yes, I am the one who let the cat out of the bag and taught white people how to do the Electric Slide. I’m so sorry. I think about the damage I’ve done every day.

The Electric Slide is on the list because it is one of the few dances that you can do with your mama and grandmother. It is so ubiquitous that there is a little known loophole in the Black Constitution (Yes there is a Black Constitution. Am I revealing too much?) that if you didn’t play the Electric Slide at your wedding reception, you’re not actually married. That’s how Black people consummate their marriages. So if you ever catch your wife cheating on you, and you only Wobbled and Cupid Shuffled at your reception, she gets a pass. Its your fault. And whoever picked the DJ.

We also need to give a special shout out to that one dude who is always doing the most with his electric slide. You know who I’m talking about. That one over-enthusiastic motherfucker who acts like he’s auditioning for Soul Train during the song. He touches the back of his feet on the lean-back. He does 720-degree Michael Jackson spins on the kick-turn. You need to calm down, bruh. Don Cornelius is dead and we’re only at number 5.

4. The Running Man There was a period of time from 1987 until well into the 90’s when the running man was the building block of all dance moves. This is the only dance on the list that requires stamina and is also a lightweight cardio workout. In 1992, at the height of the Running Man’s popularity, deodorant sales rose 62% in black neighborhoods. That’s a fact. Google it. Kid-n-Play were great Running Man-ers, and Big Daddy Kane’s backup dancers — Scoob and Scrap Luva — had perhaps the smoothest and trickiest Running Man variations, but none of them could fuck with MC Hammer.

MC Hammer did the running man like Michael Jordan sank baskets. Like Luther Vandross sang ballads. Like Kardashians steal Black men’s souls. When MC Hammer was at the peak of his success, there was talk about whether Hammer could out-dance Michael Jackson and James Brown. Granted, most of that talk did come  from Hammer himself, but still…

And the same guy who goes crazy during the  ‘lectric slide” (that’s what he calls it) used to do the Running Man hard and long as hell. He always left the party smelling like he had just played both ways in a championship football game. And special teams too. Will somebody please tell that motherfucker to calm down?

3. The Moonwalk Before we talk about this dance, we have to acknowledge that we are not talking about Michael Jackson’s moonwalk. None of us can do that. What Michael Jackson did was something extraterrestrial. Supernatural. You do not know anyone else who can  moonwalk like Michael Jackson and neither do I because God gifted Michael Jackson an ability and then locked it in a drawer forever. In fact, this article took longer than usual to write because I watched videos of Michael Jackson moonwalking for 45 minutes before I found this one.

Jesus Christ, Hallelujah.

Anyway. Moonwalking is number 3 because everyone thinks they look cool doing it. You don’t. If you ever find me depressed and sad, there is one surefire way to cheer me up instantly — show me clips of white people moonwalking. Especially this one:

2. The Cabbage Patch Non-negroes call it the “touchdown dance, but we know what it is. The Cabbage Patch is at number two because it is the only dance that symbolizes a feeling. The Cabbage Patch means happiness. The Cabbage Patch means joy. The Cabbage patch means triumph. If you get a promotion at work, hit the lottery or if the guy you like finally asks you out, you either Cabbage Patch or you shout. In fact, the cabbage patch is just a non-Holy Ghost praise dance. If you look in the original Hotep Bible, before the King James hired Shakespeare to change it, it says when the son of God returns to the Earth, “Every knee shalt bow. Every tongue shalt confess. Every shoulder shalt Cabbage Patch.” That’s an actual quote. Google it.

And the number one dance of all time is:

1. Booty Shake The Booty Shake is the oldest and most popular dance in the world. It does not even require booty to do it (but trust me, it helps). There was Booty Shaking long before there was Running Men or Cabbage Patch-ing. Before there was cabbage patches. As a matter of fact, Booty Shaking is why men started running. Before Eve learned how to shake that thang, Adam just sauntered through the Garden of Eden at his own pace. One day, from afar he saw eve twerking to a heavenly tune, and ran to her, only stopping to pick a few fruit from a forbidden tree. He knew it was wrong, but dat ass, tho…

The Shake is not necessarily ratchet (except for that one ghetto girlfriend who always drops it low and goes off a little too hard. Will someone tell her ass to calm down?) The Booty Shake is actually an international cross-cultural identifying marker across the African diaspora. From African tribal dances to the Jamaican “Dutty Wine,” it is the most instinctive and prehistoric dance that ever existed. Black female entertainers are a long line of Booty shakers. Josephine Baker Booty Shaked. Tina Turner Booty Shaked. Beyonce Booty Shakes. I know race is a cultural construct and not a scientific category, but there is something about the drums that activate the souls, the feet and the booties of people with Melanin in their skin. Whether it’s trap music, Shabba Ranks or “Before I let Go” when the right song comes on, you are going to  shake that booty. You have to. In fact, when white women die they check their pulse, brain wave patterns and heartbeat. When Black women die, they just bring a speaker and let it play a few lines of:

“Cash Money Records taking over for the nine nine and two thousand…”

If a black woman doesn’t get up and start shaking that booty, she’s dead.

That’s a fact. Google it.

Disagree? Think we missed one? Hit us up in the comment section.



About the author

Michael Harriot is a renowned spoken word poet, the host of The Black One podcast and the editor-in-chief of NegusWhoRead. He is perpetually just getting warmed up because he has no chill. He is on Instagram and twitter as @michaelharriot

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