Video meme: The Harlem Shake has taken over YouTube

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By Staff /  15 Feb 2013 , 12:48

YouTube has a new meme video that’s making quite a buzz. This is the Harlem Shake video, which has been seeing steady traction since last week.

According to YouTube trends blog:The meme first started gaining traction last week and is attributed to a silly video from a vlogger named “Filthy Frank.” Though it was another user named SunnyCoastSkate who then established the form we’ve become familiar with: the jump cut, the helmet, etc.

Here’s how the video goes: There’s a guy wearing a helmet, doing the thrust move while Baauer’s Harlem Shakeplays in the background with a bunch of people in the room who seem to be unaffected by his dancing. All of sudden, there’s a cut and you have everyone doing some freestyling crazy moves. Like all meme videos, its random and a little crazy.

YouTube points out that there are currently over 12,000 “Harlem Shake” videos had been posted since the start of the month and they’d already been watched upwards of 44 million times. Oh and 4,000 more videos are being uploaded per day.

Here’s the video that started the sensation:

But currently, this version by the staff of Maker Studios is the most watched version. This version has over 9 million views while the first version has over 7 million views. Check out the video below:

The Harlem Shake actually goes back to 1981 and credit goes to Al Bm, the founder of the Harlem Shake. The Harlem Shake started in Harlem, New York, and spread to other urban areas, then into rap videos, and later around the world.

Screengrab from the
Screengrab from the Maker Studios version

In 2003 interview to InsideHoops, Al Bm said about the dance, “It’s a drunken shake, it’s an alcoholic shake, but it’s fantastic, everybody loves it and everybody appreciates it. And it’s glowing with glory.” Do read the full interview here.

You can also check out this angry article about how what people are doing is not the Harlem Shake. Personally we think its fun.

And you a meme has gone mainstream when Google and Facebook employees are doing it as well. Check out some versions below:

The Google Version

This ultra cool underwater version by the UGA (University of Georgia) Men’s Swim & Dive team.

The Facebook Harlem Shake

Oh and here’s the song Harlem Shake by Baauer


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