It’s interesting which elements of Hip Hop cross the Atlantic. Recently, I was in a club, and when a T-Pain song came on, everyone knew the song, but they didn’t know the dance associated with it. So you could imagine their looks when I started rocking back and forth and snapping my fingers. I just got stares of wonderment. And it wasn’t as if the song was old, and I was getting that ‘you are so lame’ look. Because even when I tried to get silly with it, all they would do was the two-step. But once the DJ put on one of the latest African jams, it was on!
Currently, there is a new dance and music trend spear-headed by the youth from Ivory Coast called coupé decalé. Leading this force are rappers Mokabé and Molare, and choreographer Maimouna. Started in the small, underground clubs, students and stylish youth in the Ivory Coast and Paris, it has since become a collection of the hottest and most influential new African dance styles since soukouss.
But unlike some of the senseless, rocking, dropping, and popping here in the States, many of these African dances are inspired by political injustice, and everyday life. For instance, the Guantanamo, recalling the prison of the same name, is a dance where the person moves with their hands in the air, in a crossed fashion, as if in handcuffs.
Guantanamo. SMH at the eyebrow-licking action
Another dance, d’enjailler, is a take on the the English word, enjoy. This dance was derived as a way to take the mind off of the war in the Ivory Coast. The youth would get lost in revelry of the box-the club-throughout the night until the early hours of the morning.
But the Africans aren’t without their silly dances. Check out the Poulet-the chicken dance- in all it’s nonsensical fun.