Kiki, Harlem Shake, Fortnite and other dance moves that went viral


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“Kiki do you love me?” asks Drake on In My Feelings – a track (and quote) that’s taking social media by storm.

As one of the biggest rap superstars of the internet age, he’s used to going viral, from smashing streaming records to dominating meme culture.

Now his music has sparked the #inmyfeelings challenge, which involves, of all things, jumping out of a moving car and dancing.

Police around the world, including India, Spain, the US, Malaysia and the UAE, have unsurprisingly warned that the dance challenge is dangerous.

“#DistractedDriving is dangerous and can be deadly,” tweeted the US National Transportation Safety Board. “No dance challenge is worth a human life.”

The craze began when internet comedian Shiggy posted a video to Instagram of himself dancing to the song.

Quite how this morphed into jumping out of moving cars is anyone’s guess – but hey, the internet lives by its own rules.

Here are five other times songs became challenges that took on a viral life of their own.

Gangnam style

Psy became the unlikely poster boy for K-pop in 2012 when the music video for his single Gangnam Style went viral on YouTube.

Its worldwide appeal stemmed not from its Korean-language lyrical content but from its playful tone and bemusing horse dance move that soon became a staple of club dancefloors and children’s parties across the globe.

For those who cared to look, though, there was depth beneath the immediate accessibility.

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The success of Gangnam Style saw Psy, temporarily, crack America

Its title references a rich neighbourhood in Seoul housing some of South Korea’s biggest brands and wealthiest residents.

Its lyrics and video, in turn, deliver withering satire, spoofing the delusions of the rich elite.

Take the opening shot. Psy is shown on a sun lounger, hungover. He is not recuperating on a luxurious private beach, though, but is stranded in a children’s play area.

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Media captionPsy performed alongside Madonna at her Madison Square Garden concert in New York

And the horse dance move? That’s a damning assessment of the inaction over the wealth disparity – blindly riding the horse of commercialism.

As Businessweek noted, “the average Gangnam apartment costs about $716,000 [£545,000], a sum that would take an average South Korean household 18 years to earn.”

But it’s also great fun to try at a party… or, if you’re Cathy Newman, in the Channel 4 newsroom.

Harlem Shake

New York DJ Bauer saw his dance track Harlem Shake skyrocket to success as a viral video trend in 2013, a year after its release.

Each video lasted about 30 seconds. For the first 15 seconds, one person – often masked or in a helmet – danced in front of apparently oblivious or uninterested people.

As the bass dropped, the video cut and suddenly the screen is full of people dancing energetically and festooned with weird costumes and props.

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Media captionAnnie Nightingale: The Harlem Shake can be anything you want it to be

It spread like wildfire as a fun, visually appealing and unifying concept that, at its peak saw thousands of uploads a day.

Humour aside, it went on to hold wider context – becoming a form of political protest after it was banned in Egypt.

Others saw it as cultural appropriation, arguing it undercut the cultural roots of the the original 1980s Harlem Shake dance.

Mannequin challenge

When hip-hop duo Rae Sremmurd penned their song Black Beatles – an ode rap rock star culture – John Lennon, not mannequins, stood as their inspiration.

But then the internet had its way. In October 2016 a group of students, believed to be from Ed White School in Jacksonville, Florida, captivated social media by filming themselves pretending to be frozen in time as Sremmurd’s party ballad played in the background.

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Sremmurd, comprised of brothers Khalif “Swae Lee” Brown and Aaquil “Slim Jxmmi” Brown, embraced the notoriety

Timelines quickly filled with videos of people recording their own versions. Soon the trickle became a flood – although the track did not always feature due to its explicit nature.

Beyonce joined a long list of celebrity adoptees. Even presidential nominee Hillary Clinton jumped on the bandwagon, while the BBC newsroom filmed their own version for Children in Need.

By December the craze reached outer space, with the crew of the International Space Station taking part.

Yet the connection of the challenge to the song remains a mystery. At no point is anyone shown freezing in the song’s music video, while the hook that acts as the starting point for many of the videos has no apparent link to mannequins.

Sremmurd, comprised of brothers Khalif “Swae Lee” Brown and Aaquil “Slim Jxmmi” Brown, embraced the notoriety and completed their own take on the challenge at a packed-out Denver tour date that November.

Watch Me (Whip/Nae Nae)

Silento struck gold with his 2015 release Watch Me (Whip/Nae Nae) – a song that, thanks to its catchy dance move, catapulted the 17-year-old to global fame.

The leg-shaking, arm-bending craze cracked YouTube’s 10 most watched music videos of the year and captured the imagination of school kids worldwide, spawning countless imitations.

It turned out its success stemmed from a carefully orchestrated campaign, led by performance company DanceOn.

Its CEO, Amanda Taylor, told Business Insider her team “tapped 50 members of its network to make their own variations on the video.”

The song already had YouTube traction on its own, but those 50 partners drove 250 million views to their personal videos in under three months.

Silento went on to sign a major label deal with Capitol Records, telling Billboard the DanceOn campaign was “one of the biggest factors in helping make my single a viral dance hit.”

Fortnite dance

What do you get when you mix Fortnite, the incredibly popular online team death match computer game, with England’s World Cup star Jesse Lingard?

A viral video dance move, known as the Shoot.

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Media captionWorld Cup 2018: Jesse Lingard scores a spectacular third goal for England

Lingard pulled out the move that can be executed in Fortnite to celebrate stealing the show with a curling effort during England’s 6-1 thrashing of Panama.

Yet its pop culture origins lie in music, specifically with American rapper Blocboy JB, who popularised the move in his 2017 track Shoot.

Fortnite did well out of the World Cup, which also saw Dele Alli perform the Ride the Pony move when he scored against Sweden; and France’s Antoine Griezmann perform its Loser dance to mark one of his goals in the final.

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