Saturday, November 2, 2013

Why Black Women Shouldn't Twerk

When I was in sixth grade my mom made me wear a yellow leather suit to the school dance. I was also really skinny so the stockings she had me wear were loose around the knee area. I hated the outfit, but she thought it was so fly so I had to wear it. Needless to say, I hid in the bathroom for pretty much the entire dance because I didn't wanna be seen in this outfit. I believe that at this dance I would have danced in public and with a boy for the first time, if only Wilsons Leather hadn't manufactured that outfit...

Maybe I was scarred because I did not go to any school dances for the next few years. As a ninth grader, I attended a winter formal and did not dance one bit. It was at this dance that I began to notice differences in how some males and females interacted on a dance floor. The Hispanics paired up and danced in a fashion that was similar to the salsa, the Caucasians seemingly jumped up and down when they danced together and then there were the African Americans... Many of these teenagers chose to grind on one another to nearly every song that played. When a female began dancing with, or shall I say on, a male she immediately turned around and placed her butt near his groins and went to work. That was the saying back then too, "you got worked" when someone grinded on you so intensly that you couldn't keep up. I didn't know much about dancing, as you can probably tell from the history I gave you above, so I didn't give these differences much thought back then.

Now a twenty-something year old adult, I don't dance (in public) much and when I do, it's very minimal. I've grown to hate the obsession with twerking. Sure, the art of being able to shake your buttocks is now appealing to the masses thanks to people like Miley Cyrus but the idea that only Black females with large butts are worthy of twerking exists. It pains me to think African American women are known for specializing in bending over and shaking their behinds.

Black women are not sexual objects, but it seems like many of us stive to be. It's easy for video models and those who pose in next to nothing in men's magazines to make money. They seem to have nice lives and rock the latest fashions, therefore they inspire our youth. I work with youth and many of them are influenced by popular culture. While some of them are as in love with One Direction as I was with B2K back in my day, others are obsessed with 2 Chainz. Music is powerful, kids listen to lyrics and let them sink in. If they see their role models (parents included) indulging in ridiculousness, they will do the same.

We are the only culture guilty of disrespecting ourselves daily. Whether it be through music, dance or any other methods of self-expression, African Americans are known for pushing the envelope. Yes, our bodies may be curvy but they are still temples of the Holy Spirit. They should not be showcased to appeal any man willing to look. If a woman wants to dance sexy for her partner, so be it. That's her business. But when the decisions of certain people begin to impact the public opinion of us all, a problem ensues. Black women should stop taking so much pride in their ability to twerk and focus on something else. Other cultures are known for their work ethic or academic abilities, but what are Black people known for? I hope that in my lifetime I see a significant paradigm shift and that African Americans will no longer be made a mockery of.

Please let me know your thoughts...

Thanks for reading,

Alexandria B.


  1. Great post, Alex. I love how your writing always evokes thought. I personally feel like "twerking" is something that should be done privately, with one and their significant other-- especially since the moves are so sexual in nature. But like you, I remember early high school days of girls getting in trouble because they were doing some serious grinding on the gym floor.

    I can't speak for other women, but I can be accountable for myself. I will be a better example to my daughter, nieces, and youth in my community by showing them what a respectable black woman looks like-- and it definitely won't look like a scantily-clad lady who's only acquired skill is "twerking."

    1. PREACH! It's still so amazing to me how many views these twerking videos get. Thanks for reading and commenting, Happy Holidays!