Congrats America! You've Figured Out Dancehall!
Let Emily and her friends cluelessly inform you on the hip new "island vibes" of a decades-old genre and tradition.
It's safe to say that dancehall is the biggest trend in pop music right now. Some audiences may be confused by this music. "What are they even saying?" "How do you dance to this?" "Is this tropical house?" How does one expect North Americans to understand music if it doesn't have guitars??? But lucky for us, some brave souls have volunteered to help us with understanding this decades-old, influential genre. "Hi, I'm Emily!" begins our cheerful host, "and this is my interpretation of a kinda, sorta dancehall…?" Emily's face twists itself quizzically, the sign of a person who literally has no clue what the fuck they're talking about, and then she proceeds to gyrate furiously and off-time to the background music, which is adamantly not dancehall in any way, shape, or form.
Another white person, a dude who looks like a Derek so we'll name him as such, is considerate enough to give us a history lesson on what dancehall is. "Dancehall is sorta like hip-hop, except it originated from like, the island…? Different from hip-hop but like, hip-hop at the same time." Thank you, Derek. Thank you for enumerating the rich traditions of a culture you most definitely are not a part of and for not knowing what Jamaica is.
Speaking of which, this writer, a first-gen Brazilian-Swiss kid, isn't all that qualified to fully speak on the matter either, so let's hear from Vice Caribbeans Jabbari Weekes and Jordan Hayles on whose mans these are in the first place:
Becky with the not-so-good hair who listened to "Work" a few times and watched Bieber's "Sorry" video, think she knows a thing or two about Dancehall. In the name of Lady Saw & Spice, I think I speak for all Jamaicans & West Indians when we say, collectively, 'beg ya please come out!!'
Who told Eliza from The Wild Thornberrys it was acceptable to attempt the dutty wine in a public setting?
How is it that a race of people who are not known in the history of civilization to be rhythmic, still think that they can all of a sudden be rhythmic? Mi cyah 'able wid dem.
This video is worse than Jason Derulo's attempt at a patois accent.
I'm ashamed that they called what they thought they were doing was dancehall, because it really looked like they were trying to summon a spirit from the afterlife through interpretive dance.
"It's got that sort of slightly African tribal feel…" — said the white person who probably directed this video after hearing "Too Good."
All I could think of through that video (as much as it pained me to watch) was this Vine, and that brought at least some joy to my face.
How this video got made:
*Watches Save The Last Dance*
*Inspired by Zoe Saldana's portrayal of Nina Simone*
"Let's make a dance video"
Jamaicans have a dance called "Log On." These people look like they're trying to "Log Off" with a blend of "Control-Alt-Delete," and I'd rather prefer that they did. For everything. Forever.
So to sum up, dancehall is "island vibes." It's "doing whatever you want." It's also, apparently, a fad to be taught, according to this video. At least we have Meghan Trainor.