It’s Not Cool Until White Girls Do It: Brown University’s Twerk Team Video
Ahh yes, yet another “wtf” moment via my Tumblr friends who found a gem of a response to Brown University’s Twerk Team video, a student’s Radical Media final project.
Appropriately abbreviated B.U.T.T., the group of mostly White females do some hilarious campus-wide ass shaking to Diplo‘s intense booty bounce single, “Express Yourself.”
The song, which features New Orleans rapper Nicky Da B, caused a flood of ladies posting pics of their upside-down asses all over the web this year.
Twerking, a provocative dance that was once exclusive to young Black women and hip-hop/dancehall clubs, gained instant popularity once individuals and “twerk teams” began uploading videos of their skills to Youtube. It was bound to reach the suburbs eventually…
Not unlike most trends that are either started in Black communities or see a heightened virality there, the dance has been generally regarded as “ghetto” — that is, until White girls gave it validation!
One viewer of B.U.T.T.‘s video further proves this:
Dear Brown University Twerk Team,
I don’t really know how seriously the members of your group take this project, but I want you to know that I think what you’re doing matters.
I spent many a drunk night last semester giggling at twerk videos, and to be fair I still do, but now in weird introspective way.
This summer I ruined a perfectly good relationship with a girl from New Orleans because while she was beautiful and talented and ambitious I just couldn’t wrap my head around a video of her twerk team that I stumbled upon.
I knew we had cultural differences, but suddenly I couldn’t take her seriously anymore. Your work reminds me to continue reevaluating my perception of cultures that may seem alien, and I hope it gives others the chance to do the same.
Sara D. of WordsAndTurds translates: “thank you for being a predominantly white twerk team so that this can be palatable for me, even though i’m admitting that i won’t take it [seriously] on a [woman of color] who is beautiful, talented, and ambitious.”
We’ve seen it before. Black women experimenting with their hair color and adding “weave” is widely considered “ghetto,” while our White counterparts are applauded as “edgy” for adding pink “hair extensions” and leopard spots.
One minute, Latinas wearing leggings and short tops is “ghetto,” but then White women take on the fashion faux pas and become “street fashion trend-setters!”
And because non-Whites rely on White validation to gauge whether something is “ghetto” or acceptable, expect a spike in twerk videos by those who previously shunned the practice.
Don’t get it twisted, most of us like for our White friends to participate in the many aspects of our cultures and have fun, just the Brown ladies (and gents) seem to be doing.
But I have to ask, what is it going to take for these negative perceptions to change? More White twerk teams, I guess.