#TwerkTeam

Twerking is a topic that has ranging views, many of which that are opposed to it completely. When one hears the word twerking, their mind may immediately correlate it to grinding, gyrating, or having sex with your clothes on at that house party last Saturday. This bothers me.

I watched two people react to a video of a toddler of Latin descent. The toddler was dancing a choreography that obviously was associated with their culture. The two people reacted with a variety of expressions showing that they were in awe of the skill of such a young child. The child had obviously seen her relatives dancing the same exact moves time and time again. Less than two minutes later, the pair that I was observing, switched to a video of a girl twerking. Immediately, their mouths spewed disgust, going as far as slut shamming this girl that they knew nothing about and moving on to generalizing black women as a whole. But mind you, the two individuals were moving their body with the same amount of intensity, the same amount of conviction, and the same amount of pride. So, what’s the difference?

Black women, historically, have been put under a lime light; everything we do and everything we say is sexualized. I have absolutely no idea where this started, but it is prevalent in today’s society. A large majority of black females are seen as monkeys that are just ready to grind against the next man we see. This could not be further from the truth. I’ve heard people say that twerking is disgusting, degrading, makes you look like a slut, and that black women should stop altogether. But, suddenly white girl on the west coast is creating a new art form, promoting exercise, is making women feel beautiful. I’m not mad at white girl on the west coast, she is trying to hustle just like the rest of us. But, everyone else needs to choose a side. Don’t put black women down for being proud of our culture and then praise someone else for appropriating our culture and claiming that they came up with it.

Twerking should be seen as women celebrating her body, telling a story with her body, conveying a message with her body. No, I don’t know how to twerk, I’m just not that coordinated. However, I do know that women have been told to hide themselves, ignore themselves, and shrink themselves for the comfort of everyone else in the room. And quite frankly, that is crap. Twerking defies all of that; it says “here I am. I am alive, I feel alive and free.”

-a voice from young black america

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