The Origins of Twerking: Where It All Began

0 Posted by - January 21, 2019 - 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.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uxOCT-pM6Tk
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: http://www.xojane.com/node/200954

42 Comments

  • Jamiel May 17, 2017 - 9:54 am Reply

    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 Reply

      I agree totally.

  • Akin June 26, 2017 - 4:19 pm Reply

    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 Reply

    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….

  • FuckYou November 15, 2018 - 9:19 am Reply

    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.

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    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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