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Feb 25, 2013

Harlem Shake Phenomenon Invades the Web with Thousands of Videos on YouTube

Harlem Shake Phenomenon Invades the Web with Thousands of Videos on YouTube

It's the latest internet craze. In the last couple of weeks the internet has been flooded with viral videos under the name of Harlem Shake. They show a normal, everyday scene, occasionally varied with the grotesque movements of one individual, to the booming sound of "Harlem Shake" by Baauer. Then suddenly madness is unleashed, and everyone in the video starts to shake onscreen to the rhythm of the song, with strange movements of the body and totally surreal actions.


"Harlem Shake" is an electronic production of Baauer, the artistic name of American music producer Harry Rodrigues. The video was posted on Youtube on August 23 2012.

The line "Do the Harlem Shake" is a sample from the 2001 song "Miller Time" by Philadelphia rap crew Plastic Little. The lyrics are taken from an incident in the life of member Jayson Musson, when he got into a fight and ended up getting up and doing the dance.

On January 30 2013 the widely followed grotesque video-blogger Filthy Frank posted a video which opens with four people dressed in latex suits dancing to Baauer's Harlem Shake. This was the start of the phenomenon.

Going viral

After the eccentric video by DizastaMusic began to spread on Youtube, on February 2 2013 a few early versions based on Filthy Frank's irreverent video were posted, and got more than 300,000 hits on the first day. Every day more parodies sprang up, imitating the original.

The video spread instantly all over social networks and high-audience websites, gaining more than 7.4 million views the first week. Last week several TV news programs reported the story on TV channels in many countries.

Since then, many versions of the famous video have been made in offices, studios, agencies and even on the streets by groups of people, and posted, viewed and shared by huge numbers of internet users.

Even our site Awwwards.com dances it!

Here's a selection of the best:

Do you want see more? Spin the Harlem Shake Roulette!