Not Another Dance Movie!

by guest contributor Robb Garvey Thompson, originally published on Blackline

Black people love to dance, and everyone knows it. Don’t believe me? Watch any black awards show. You can have the most elite black people in the country, wearing the finest designers, sitting dignified, but once you add a Kanye West performance to the mix, you’ll find them grinding and dancing away on the floor. It’s almost as if we can’t help it.

You can also take a look at black films across the board. Almost every “black movie” features a scene where the actors “shuck and jive” to some dance-worthy tune, proving the stereotype true to all other races: that black people cannot resist a good beat.

Now I’m not saying that dancing is a bad stereotype. I mean we have worse (i.e: fried chicken, watermelon, hook-ups, rims, gold teeth, etc.), but I hate that it’s just expected that we just have to move to a good 808.

Black people attribute this “booty shaking gift” to when “we were in Africa,” and we danced around the fires naked and uncontrollably. Somehow, after being in the States for more that two centuries, we never lost site of our roots. Experts say that even after Kunta lost his foot, he still hopped on beat.

But I believe there is more to us as a people than “getting down.” So when I found out Offsping Entertainment was releasing the sequel to “Step Up,” a dance movie entitled “Step Up 2: The Streets,” I was instantly annoyed.

I mean how many black movies about dancing can I take? We have “Drumline,” “You Got Served,” “Stomp The Yard,” “Save the Last Dance” (1 and 2), “Honey,” the first “Step Up,” and now this.

I was in for a rude awakening.

I saw the trailer, but could not find one black person in it. The movie was whiter that my orientation at Columbia. I had thought just by the title alone, “Step Up 2: The Streets,” that they would have some “street people” in it. To my own surprise, I was appalled.

I instantly started questioning myself…These white people dance better than me…Who am I? Am I Black enough? Who will the world look to for the latest dance move?

I was suddenly calmed when I saw the list of black choreographers from the movie. I realized that the dancing stereotype isn’t so bad after all. Sure, nobody likes to be stereotyped…but what if the dancing thing is true? I mean, seriously, have you seen a black person not dance to “Thriller?”

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Racialicious is a blog about the intersection of race and pop culture. Check out our daily updates on the latest celebrity gaffes, our no-holds-barred critique of questionable media representations, and of course, the inevitable Keanu Reeves John Cho newsflashes.

Latoya Peterson (DC) is the Owner and Editor (not the Founder!) of Racialicious, Arturo García (San Diego) is the Managing Editor, Andrea Plaid (NYC) is the Associate Editor. You can email us at

The founders of Racialicious are Carmen Sognonvi and Jen Chau. They are no longer with the blog. Carmen now runs Urban Martial Arts with her husband and blogs about local business. Jen can still be found at Swirl or on her personal blog. Please do not send them emails here, they are no longer affiliated with this blog.

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