The Origins of Twerking: Where It All Began

0 Posted by - August 31, 2022 - LATEST POSTS

Twerking has long been a part of black culture. It’s only been in recent years that mainstream media began to acknowledge and accept it.

The origins of twerking can be traced to Côte d’Ivoire in West Africa, where a similar style of dance, known as the Mapouka dance, was originated. The dance has existed for centuries and consists of a series of movements emphasizing the buttocks. Although not viewed in the same respects as dances such and ballet or tap, when done right, it requires tremendous skill and attention.

The term twerking comes from the New Orleans’ early 90s bounce scene. Modern day twerking is very similar to the Mapouka dance, and has existed for centuries. Twerking is also prevalent throughout the reggae and dancehall culture. It is seen in many of their videos today, with several artists making songs specifically about twerking.
White mainstream media began to focus more on twerking when Miley Cyrus made a spectacle of herself at the MTV VMA’s with her attempt at twerking. While she received much notoriety with that performance, it also served as reminder of how white America often undermines Black Culture and history. Had a black entertainer got on stage and actually twerked the right way, I’m sure the media would’ve been much more harsh towards her and less accepting of it. Privilege has allowed many white performers to take elements from black culture and use it for shock value and in turn take responsibility for creating it, without giving credit to the originators.  In the case of Miley Cyrus, it was a horribly misguided attempt to get away from her squeaky clean image as a Disney star and gain “respect” or “street cred.” Her performance made a mockery out of a dance that is deeply rooted in black history and culture.
Dances such as twerking have a rich history that need to be explored and respected by those who seek to use this dance and its rich culture for their own gain. People for generations have kept this celebratory dance alive and I’m sure it will continue to last for the generations to come. Just make sure that as you enjoy it, you know and respect its history.
Original story can be found here:

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  • Jamiel May 17, 2017 - 9:54 am

    Good discussion piece. But the idea that what Americans call twerking has a single origin in West Africa is mistaken. The various African peoples and nations, the thousands have had more than their fair share of twerking varieties and naming; Kilua, in Tanzania, Chakacha in Kenya, the amazing Baganda Baakisimba…it is endless. The idea of single sourcing an idea of performance that traverses worlds is in itself problematic. Most African cultures did not fetishise and marginalise sexuality as the Anglo-Saxon tribes have, so the expression of such sexuality was never a source of scandal and intrigue.

    • Nancy June 18, 2017 - 12:46 pm

      I agree totally.

    • zaza May 21, 2020 - 12:06 pm

      There is also Mutshashi in DR Congo, Baikoko in Tanzania, Assiko in Cameroun, etc.

  • Akin June 26, 2017 - 4:19 pm

    it is did not come from a particular part of Africa. It is a black thing. Don’t create history you don’t know.

  • Carla August 11, 2017 - 3:53 pm

    I believe that it is safe to say that most dances of the most recent years can be attributed to the many African cultures. Not just one….

    • Mufasa October 23, 2020 - 12:56 pm

      Fuck off.

  • FuckYou November 15, 2018 - 9:19 am

    Wow. Nice racist ignorance. How about stop appropriating white cultures, Asian cultures, Jewish culture, Indian culture, native American culture, etc. claiming them as your own first? Stop using cars, homes, indoor plumbing, English, phones, electricity, modern medicine, etc. Blacks have no culture of their own other than over sexualized, subhuman mating bullshit. Y’all want to be white by bleaching your hair and skin, straightening your hair, speaking their languages, wearing their fashion, using their advancements. Sit. Down.

    • OrangeOgre January 21, 2019 - 1:14 pm

      Donald Trump, we all know that’s you. Shut the fuck up and eat your hamborders and coffveve.

      • Scarab August 8, 2020 - 6:10 am

        Here’s a list of things invented by black people that heavily impacted, and in many cases revolutionized the modern world:

        – Refrigerated vehicles.
        – The Electret Mirophone
        – The Carbon Light Bulb Filament*
        – Potato chips.
        – Color IBM PC Monitors (and some computers in general)
        – Dry cleaning
        – The ultraviolet camera/spectrograph
        – Devices that refined lasers for cataract surgery
        – Mechanical shoe lasting devices*
        – Automatic elevator doors
        – 300 + uses for peanuts including cleaning products and plastics
        – CCTV
        – The ironing board*
        – Rapid mail-stamping machine
        – The mechanical clothes ringer*
        – Touch tone telephones and caller ID
        – Gas Masks
        – The 3 light traffic light system*
        – The walker
        – Mail boxes
        – Central heating systems
        – The gastroscope
        – Feeding devices for Amputees
        – Straighteners
        – Aureomycin treatment
        – Wooden golf tees
        – Co-inventor of imaging x-ray spectrometer.
        – The literal frickin’ BLOOD BANK

        And this isn’t counting their cultural and artistic contributions. It’s not including the many forms of modern dance, music, and performance that were uniquely black before being co-opted by white people, case in point: LOTS of Elvis Presley’s music and, of course, Miley’s twerking. And it doesn’t include non-African american POC. The fireworks y’all like to shoot off in excitrement every 4th of July to celebrate your freedom from those awful oppressive Brits? Chinese. MOST of the products you use on a daily basis? Chinese.

        3. Just because you don’t want to admit that maybe white people aren’t the sole geniuses of the world and have some obsession with insisting that anybody who isn’t singing white peoples praises is a racist, doesn’t makle you right, or any less of a racist yourself 🙂

        4. Get b*nt

        *All of these are devices that improved the speed and production values and aided in the industrialization of the industry – improvements to existing systems rather than full out ‘inventions’; but still very impressive especially considering how few black people were even allowed an advanced education at the time of their creation

    • NoFuckYou February 12, 2020 - 10:35 pm

      Your comment is Jackassery in its purest form.

      • Jim May 30, 2020 - 9:08 pm

        Pot kettle black! Shit dance and makes women look like whores

    • devon February 25, 2020 - 7:18 am

      my , my , ,my lol my man or whoever you are , everything you just described is what has driven other cutlures to pick up our sytle, we have provided , music, fashion, dances , and list of other things that once was frowned upon by those same cultures you described at the begining of your not so inflormed sentence. The sad part is now when others do it it’s cool when we do it we have no morlas , or we are just acting getto . The problem with the world is no matter what we as africans, african americans , latino, latinas we will always be the reason all this social media hype is such a big thing now that its spilled over to be the it thing and no matter what , we provided yall with the gems to be cool and no matter how you spin , or decsibe it you got your jewlery, hair extensions , music, fashion , and even how you speak from brown skinned cultures so learn your history because this article teaches you about dance that became twerk that now is the coolest thing to do in which classes are held by most caucasain women because they are having fun and thats fine but make sure you know the history. Its not just shaking ass.

    • Calvin April 20, 2020 - 8:14 am

      Why are you on this black post, Or are you a black Trump supporter? Here’s what you do. Sign a waiver to deny you medical help for COVID 19 related symptoms, then go out there and protest with your fellow COVIDIOTS without a mask, contract the coronavirus and die.

    • disgusting cave idiot August 19, 2020 - 6:51 am

      LOL africans invented bathing you nasty ass pink and yellow raw hides were wallowing in neanderthal and denisovan filth along with your animals’ micturition and defecation. Indoor plumbing came much later for your nasty selves long after taking over land and resources of other people’s (forgetting that your hides burn and invented skin cancer from ultraviolet (uv) rays).

      whites, asians, indians, jewish, hhispanics, white arabs and white north africans the entire world is ditching their own cultures just to steal black culture. Imagine that, the world hates black people but poorly imitate it. Straight hair is not a culture, that is genetics, effin idiot. Non blacks tan the hell out of their selves into cancer they don’t want to be white. The cornrows they copy and try tooth and nail to claim some other culture made them or vikings (the picture of the braids they want to call cornrows aren’t even the ones non blacks L O V E to wear). Your “people” take credit for things that were not invented by you. If anything you all should invent a way to go back to the Caucasus Mountains and invent life over there instead of dying from solar radiation.

      • Black man in ignorant black woman's world August 22, 2020 - 6:21 pm

        Africans invented bathing? That is the most ignorant thing I have ever heard. That’s like saying Africans invented EATING FOOD. Wow. So you telling me the animals kingdom, from rodents to birds, learned bathing from Africans? Are you really that stupid to not know that bathing, and even natural dance movements, aren’t biological instinct? Tell me you aren’t that uneducated.

  • Samuel ambe December 30, 2018 - 10:09 am

    We are talking about twerk dance origin only here,not car n electricity etc that you have boast all alone without thinking that Chinese n Japanese too invented those things n they are not white.whites are full of shits n are origin of shame less public sex n mother of all satanic creations.

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    Hello, you used to write fantastic, but the last several posts have been kinda boring… I miss your super writings. Past several posts are just a bit out of track! come on!

    • Calvin Minor April 20, 2020 - 8:00 am

      When I first saw Miley Cyrus twerk, it was like turning a African Hebrew faith into a white Christian Jesus. Well maybe not that extreme.

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