All the talk about the school children dancing in this jawn make either conclusion:
1.) The school children dance to distract from the violence.
2.) The school children dance because they are uninformed.
Because you know, people are being shot. Cars are blowing up. Rioters in the street. Kids shouldn’t be dancing—unless it’s like a coping mechanism, obviously. Or if they are dancing it’s because they’re innocent and don’t know any better..
But you know what? I’m just not convinced.
I find another conclusion more plausible: the school children dance because they are fucking fantastic at dancing. Just really, exceptionally phenomenal—I mean my mans does cartwheels.. Plural.
Watching black kids dance on the internet is the best. I’ve never watched a video of a black boy hitting the nae nae and thought oh now my day is worse.
And black kids dancing is big business. All the extra downloads and streams of singles associated with a new dance. The sites collecting ad revenue for hosting black kid dancing videos. The social media platforms attracting users by making it easier to share black kid dancing videos. The cell phone companies and internet providers that take money from us every month just so we can keep watching these black kid dancing videos.
Black kids dancing is a billion dollar business—a business born from nothing more than black kids’ bodies and a beat. What these kids do, coming up with all these dances in schools all across the country is so creative and genius. but they’re given no ownership because that’s not how the system works—recognized but not rewarded.
Yo in a world constantly in chaos, when is it okay for black kids to dance?
Further, French writer Aimé Césaire founded the school of thought known as Negritude—“the self-affirmation of black peoples, or the affirmation of the values of civilization of something defined as the black world.” Of us, it asks what are we (read: the blacks) in this white world?
I don’t know what we are, but certainly Childish Gambino has some suggestion as what we should do:
Get your money, black man!
And these kids…they know. We’ve set them up to dodge the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse on their way too school, and then are surprised how they can function in such fuckery as if they were ever really given a choice.
The school kids in the video are the most well adjusted—way stronger than the adults running around like jackasses. It’s us who need them to pacify our anxieties with their dances, not them.
It’s them that are taking care of fired guns and dead bodies. It’s them that have the foresight to document everything with cell phones. They ride bikes, shoot money guns and dance their asses off.
And so they dance. Because why shouldn’t they?
This is America, after all. We should be applauding them for their bravery.
This article originally appeared in the print edition of our June 2018, issue.