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Social Perspective

An Interview with the Filmmaker Behind Harlem Reacts Video

Chris McguireIt started with a simple question – what’s the story behind the viral “Harlem Shake”? After making his own Harlem Shake video with friends, Harlem Shake v420 Stoner Edition, Chris McGuire had second thoughts about the trend. So to get answers to his questions, McGuire went to Harlem. Surprised, the young filmmaker, writer and actor soon discovered that the internet sensation, the Harlem shake, had absolutely nothing to do with the original dance which carries cultural tradition.

“I figured, let the authorities on the subject tell me what they think…so I went to Harlem.” Chris told me in an interview.

The young filmmaker then used his conversations to produce what has become a phenomenon of its own, Harlem Reacts to Harlem Shake Videos. It includes a series of comments from different people – some funny- but many serious, describing how the videos are an insult to a tradition and a community. The video has since going viral with over 8 million views and counting.

Harlem Reacts to Harlem Shake Videos 

Chris explains why he felt compelled to make the video. “The truth is, when someone hears the phrase ‘Harlem Shake’ they now associate it with the Internet videos of people doing crazy dancing. Now that we have learned about the real Harlem Shake’s deep cultural roots, we have decided that the only responsible thing to do is to try and save it.”

In recent weeks, Chris has gained international media attention, including coverage in Huffington Post, NPR’s ‘All Things Considered”, Toronto Star, and Aljazeera English, and Time Magazine online.

But there’s more coming. Chris let’s us in on what to expect soon!

“I have a few more videos that I am currently producing to round out my ‘Harlem Shake’ series. The next in line is called ‘The Real Harlem Shake’ and with the help of one of Harlem’s most talented and classic dance crews, we will reintroduce the world to the real ‘Shake’.”

A little curiosity has pushed one progressive filmmaker into the spotlight. For more videos from Chris McGuire, see Schlepp Films.

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