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The 5th Anniversary of The Harlem Shake Meme

The Harlem Shake is an Internet meme in the form of a video in which a group of people perform a comedy sketch accompanied by a short excerpt from the song “Harlem Shake”. As a meme, the video was replicated by many people, using the same concept, which led to it becoming viral in early February 2013, with thousands of “Harlem Shake” videos being made and uploaded to YouTube every day at the height of its popularity.

The videos usually last about 30 seconds and features an excerpt of the 2012 song “Harlem Shake” by American EDM producer Baauer. Baauer’s song starts with a 15-second intro, a bass drop, then 15 seconds with the bass, and a lion roar at the end of the first 30 seconds. Usually, a video begins with one person (often helmeted or masked) dancing to the song alone for 15 seconds, surrounded by other people not paying attention or seemingly unaware of the dancing individual. When the bass drops, the video cuts to the entire crowd doing a crazy convulsive dance for the rest of the video. The dancing style should not be confused with the original Harlem Shake dance. Additionally, in the second half of the video, people often wear either a minimum of clothes or crazy outfits or costumes while wielding strange props. Typically, but not always, the video will end by converting to slow motion on the feline growl.