Ok So Boom… I got to rant real quick. I constantly pay attention to instances of how whiteness is often rewarded and celebrated and even exalted when existing in black spaces. I recently watched a video posted on shaderoom of a White (or non-black) girl twerking. First, I’ll give her her credit she was good. By good i mean she wasn’t bad- I don’t mean she was the greatest twerker of all times (Flewed Out)… hell or even top 5. Basically she was a B Level twerker or the equivalent of pretty much “round the way black girls who danced to Dj jubilee growing up level twerker”.
Why am i going to such painstaking detail to articulate the level of twerking? Well because I had to dig deeper on this situation. She has almost 3 million followers on Instagram and her account is verified. She is for all intents and purposes an account VERIFIED for Her Twerk videos and their popularity. (She profits from this). She also profits from the Twerk Classes she teaches. Am i mad at this? No. Not really. But there is a point to all this.
After going to her page I went to who I would consider to be the queen of the new era of twerking or at least the person who helped usher twerking into the “mainstream” via social media as one of the Original Members of the Viral sensation the Twerk Team– Ms. Twerksum. (There are multiple members of the Twerk Team but she’s pretty much the Lead Twerker and most well known – Shout out to Lady L). For those who don’t follow twerking closely, Ms. Twerksum has essentially been one of the biggest names in Mainstream twerking for years- while she is not from New Orleans (we’ll get into that) She is in the Twerking Pantheon… hell if there was a Twerk Olympics or Hall of Fame she would definitely be in it!
Well anyway, I had a hard time finding Ms. Twerksum’s Page. I eventually found it & began to compare her page to the other page. One of the first things I noticed was that Ms. Twerksum had less followers than the other woman. The other woman had about over half a million more followers. Additionally, Ms. Twerksum’s Page was not verified on Instagram. Even though she has gone through the trouble of naming her page “OfficialMizzTwerksum”, Unlike the other girl’s Page, Ms. Twerksum’s Page was not verified.
A verified page is signified by a blue check mark next to the name of the profile owner. I found it interesting that Ms. Twerksum- someone who had been literally putting twerking on the global map for at least a decade – had no verification of her efforts yet someone who had likely through some shape, form, or fashion been exposed to twerking because of the efforts of Black Women like Ms. Twerksum – who likely created the videos that influenced Miley to Twerk at the MTV awards which influenced Non-black people to refer to twerking as a NEW thing (when it had literally been around at least 3 or 4 decades prior), which inspired other girls who looked up to Miley to Twerk (them Cyrus’ sholl know how to ride a black Wave don’t they- we’ll get to that at some point too) had been verified for doing the exact thing that Twerksum had been doing for much much longer. In many ways it reminded me of Elvis and Chuck Berry, or Adele (even though I love her) and Marsha Ambrosius, or Justin Timberlake and Usher… People doing what we do and getting more recognition and wealth and opportunities when they do our shit.
According to Instagram: A verified badge is a check that appears next to an Instagram account’s name in search and on the profile. It means Instagram has confirmed that an account is the authentic presence of the public figure, celebrity or global brand it represents. To qualify, an account must be 1. Authentic: Your account must represent a real person 2. Unique: Your account must be the unique presence of the person or business it represents. 3. Notable: Your account must represent a well-known, highly searched for person, brand or entity.
Both women, Ms. Twerksum and the other lady whose name i don’t recall, have over 2 million followers. (Notable check), authentic (all of her official contact info is in her bio and all of her photos are of her and she goes live from her page and when she does it is her, check). Unique (well it’s as unique as the non-black girls whose page is verified). Now I will concede that you have to request verification unless IG just decides you are worthy of verification. They did this recently with Robert F. Smith’s IG account recently after his major gift to Morehouse. By no means am I comparing twerking to donating a gift that erases the debt of an entire graduating class… but I am saying… They know who is making waves on their platforms and who isn’t… BELIEVE ME. They recognize US (Black With No Chaser) right now and we don’t have nearly the following or presence of Mizz Twerksum now.
What is different with these women? One is black and one is something other than black. And because a lot of folks are easily impressed when non-black people do traditionally black things pretty well- I guess people felt a need to share it and also praise it? Am I criticizing that? No. I don’t really care about that part. Was I impressed? No not really- like I said – it was good but I have seen girls on Cypress and Cherry Street back home do shit that put that lil booty to shame. 🤣 just being honest. I’ve also seen Girls from New Orleans Atlanta, Houston, Jackson, Memphis and Miami and all over regular girls AND dancers run circles around it. So the only thing that really made it noteworthy- was the novelty of it and I’m not saying that to diminish the woman. She had a good shape and good moves- but – I’d say taking her Twerk classes would be like taking karate classes from a green or red belt when there are black belts out there with which to train. Essentially what I’m saying is if you’re gonna train then it would make a lot of sense to train with a master- especially if you’re paying. Nevertheless, her videos were shared on that black owned platform and its 15 million Reckless roommates… and I don’t recall Mizztwerksum Ever having a video shared on there… but I don’t profess to know all that is shared on that particular page- I just found it noteworthy that this particular twerk video on a platform with a bevy of twerk videos to choose from selected this one to highlight on this day.
Twerking is a derivative form of West African Dance that manifested itself in New Orleans/Louisiana and NOLA Bounce Music. Artists like Mannie Fresh (The 99 AND the 2000), DJ Jubilee, Magnolia Shorty, 5th Ward Weebie, Big Freedia, Sissy Nobe and more gave birth to the sound that gave birth to the moves and nobody NOBODY does it like a NOLA girl does it. There are also elements of the same type of hips and ass gyrations and swaying that you see in Brazilian and Caribbean traditional movements as well. It’s distinctively black. It is Black With No Chaser.
It begs the question to me- how did black women, how do black women get the short end of the stick even when it comes to their own shit? Twerking DEFINITELY came from black women. In what world is it possible for Ms. Twerksum to be putting out Twerk Videos for a decade and have millions of followers to still get less credit for something she created (twerking on social media and creating viral videos of it) than someone who is (no shade but also no chaser) less talented and simply emulating that which Ms. Twerksum helped put the spotlight on? In what world would that girl get ACKNOWLEDGED FOR TWERKING to the Extent that it has earned her Verification for it before the woman who literally has Twerk in her name? And then I remembered- oh yeah This IS AMERICA and Erasure and Appropriation are as American as Apple Pie and Slavery… or Apple Pie Baked by Slaves and cooked so good that the slave master decided to start selling Apple pies with their “AWARD WINNING homemade recipe” becoming millionaires off black recipes and passing the wealth down to his grandchildren… Which Reminds… Reparations as Fuck!
Also, why are black women often criticized for the same thing that non-black women can be praised for- even when what the non-black women are doing is historically related to black culture and particularly the culture of black women? I have seen many people attempt to shame black women for the same thing that this non-black woman is praised for even though all she did was emulate what she has seen some black women do (and do at a very high degree).
Twerking is for damn sure a talent… I don’t care what anyone says- twerking is fucking impressive when you’re great at it. Hell, in my humble opinion, it’s also sexy! And it’s empowering! But really twerking is dope because it’s not even about what I think, It’s about what those women feel, It’s about what black women feel when the music moves them – even if it’s the music that’s just playing in their heads that causes them to move and wind rhythmically to a joy that is theirs and theirs alone or with whomever they choose to share it.
But even more than all of that- it’s OURS… it is as much Black Women’s as the melanin that allows them to radiate in hues of mahogany, saffron, cinnamon, ebony, and mocha. So not only are black women not receiving credit for what is theirs but they are often marginalized, judged, called names, and shamed for embracing their sensuality, sexuality, and talent in the form of twerking, while non-black women are getting rounds of applause in black spaces for making that ass clap. If somebody is going to attain wealth from twerking – it should definitely be black women. If someone is going to be verified for twerking – it should definitely be the black women that literally put in the SWEAT for it. If someone is going to teach other people how to bounce that ass and make a few dollars with classes to throw ass in a circle- it should be black girls, with black belts, that grew up in the 3rd, 5th, or 7th Ward, Magnolia, Desire, & Calliope or At LEAST on Cherry Street and Cypress.