Do the Harlem Shake

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Feb. 22, Jen Brown’s “Harlem Shake” event occupied half of the cafeteria and though the event was scheduled for an hour, the footage needed for the 33-second youtube video was captured in less than 20 minutes.

Those unfamiliar with the internet fad may have a hard time understanding exactly what the sensation incorporates, but explanation is simple enough: electronic musician Baauer’s song “Harlem Shake” begins and a single masked and/or costumed dancer takes center screen while a crew of nonchalant bystanders ignore his or her presence. The dancer, moving minimally, dances until the music builds after its intro; when the chopped and screwed vocal clip cues at this climactic moment, stating, “Do the Harlem Shake,” the bystanders, suddenly masked and/or costumed erupt into a frenzied dance-party.

Certainly not the first internet dance craze in recent years, students may remember the likes of “Numa, Numa” and the most recent of these fads, “Gangnam Style,” but it seems Psy’s day in the shade has come to an end.

According to CBS news, the original video has sparked over 250,000 copy-cats and has gained enough notoriety to be copied by the commercial industry. Corporate copy-cats include a dancing pop-can rendition from Dr. Pepper and Red Bull’s version, featuring a crew of costumed sky-divers. UNB, too, had their corporate representative, Seymour the Sea-wolf, signifying the UNBSJ brand.

“Everyone is doing it so we should too,” says Brown, “it’s a good way to raise school spirit.”

First proposed by student Samantha Nickerson, Jen Brown of the SRC organized the event. Nickerson asked Baron photographer, Leon Haggarty, to film the event. Beating UNB Fredericton to the punch, Haggarty had the video online the same day it was shot.

“I made sure to put a ‘UNB’ and ‘Saint John Seawolves’ logo at the start to promote the school;” says Haggarty, “which was good because it has gotten a fair amount of Saint John media coverage, as well as being reposted to official UNB postings (like the UNB future students Facebook & Twitter page).”

Closing in on 5,500 views in its first week, obviously this has been an effective marketing tool for the UNB brand, but not all were pleased. Two unnamed students in Power Ranger costumes showed up just after 1:15 p.m. and were not included, miming their aggravation and disappointment. Apart from these two, the event was successful, even garnering the attention of two reporters from the Telegraph Journal.

Emily is in her fourth year of Political Science. She loves studying and academics which follows into her research work. She's a stern black coffee drinker and is a proud Acadienne. When she's not working or doing school work, you can find Emily listening to 70s music on vinyl and watching Parks and Recreation. If you ask her about parliamentary institutions, she won't stop talking.