‘Harlem Reacts’ Creator Launches Campaign to Save the Real ‘Harlem Shake’

By Devon Glenn 

In response to the video meme that took YouTube by storm, Schlepp Films, the maker of the YouTube video, “Harlem Reacts to Harlem Shake Videos,” has created a new video series to educate the public about the real Harlem Shake.

“We realize that a lot of damage has been done to its name (though for the most part unintentionally). But the truth is, when someone hears the phrase ‘Harlem Shake’ they now associate it with the Internet videos of people doing crazy dancing,” said Schlepp Films’ Chris McGuire via Facebook message. “Now that we have learned about the real Harlem Shake’s deep cultural roots, we have decided that the only responsible thing to do is to try and save it.”

The trend started innocently enough, with a group of people dancing awkwardly to music and inviting others to do the same. But the videos soon hit the mainstream, even turning up on the Today Show. At one point, trending analysts at YouTube reported that more than 4,000 Harlem Shake videos were being uploaded to YouTube every day.

The parodies caused an uproar among the dance enthusiasts who said that the videos have made a mockery of an actual movement that started in New York in the 1980s.

The group posted the “Harlem Reacts” video on YouTube on Feb. 18. The video, which shows real Harlem residents’ reaction to the meme, has already racked up more than 7.7 million views.

“‘Harlem Reacts’ has begun the public discussion on the topic and has issued the first major blow against the Internet trend. All trends fade away and die naturally,” McGuire continued. “We decided that since this one was particularly damaging in some ways that we have to help the process along.”

Schlepp Films has released first in the series, “Post Traumatic ‘Harlem Shake’ Disorder,” with “the hopes of using a hilarious argument to compel people to no longer make these videos,” McGuire said. “We feel that if someone watches our new video, and thinks about the issues we touch on, it will convince them to never appear in one of these Internet meme videos again.”

He added that another video is coming soon.