Not All Black Girls Can Dance


No one is safe from the twerk police.

After separate videos of Malia Obama and Serena Williams dancing hit the internet, I’ve seen people blasting both of them for not being able to dance, and I am at a loss.

In case you missed it – Malia was feeling herself in the crowd at Lollapalooza and now everybody gotta comment on her rhythm. Serena did a twerk video (for a “mainstream” audience, I think should be noted) and now everyone feels compelled to criticize her because she didn’t twerk hard enough in a 1 minute video.


It’s just too much. I couldn’t dance that well when I was a teenager either (or now, tbh), but who the fuck cares? Because Lord knows if Malia had moved the way people seem to expect black girls to move whenever a beat drops, the word “fast” would be thrown around like people were getting paid for it.

And now on to Serena…

Serena’s little booty pop wasn’t hurting anyone. It was mild, non-confrontational twerking. It was twerk-lite and that is ok. Maybe she didn’t feel like throwing it back too hard, ya’ll ever think of that? #LeaveSerenaAlone

Not every black girl can dance. It’s 2016 but it still needs to be said, apparently. Black girls live with the expectation that they’re supposed to be super sexy, but at the same time are disproportionately shamed for being too sexy. So let me break that down for you: if you’re a black girl, you better be able to twerk on a hand stand, but if you do, you need to get yo nasty ghetto ass back inside and do something productive and stop making black people look bad.


I can’t stand ya’ll, honestly. This is one more thing to add to the list of ridiculous double standards that are placed on black women from a young age, that we carry on our shoulders until we eventually – hopefully – figure out that it’s all bullshit, shuck that baggage off and keep it moving.

It’s crazy though, isn’t it? If a black girl can’t drop it like it’s hot at the drop of a hat then she can’t dance. Meanwhile, let any non-black girl halfheartedly pop her booty once or twice, and you’ll hear a chorus of “ooh, she getting it.”

Ya’ll fake. Ya’ll ain’t real.

*This has been a rant by your unfriendly neighborhood black feminist.*

3 thoughts on “Not All Black Girls Can Dance

  1. Thank you for this article. It does a great job illustrating the ‘damn if you do, damn if you don’t’ double standards that are used to shame Black women, their body and the way they express themselves.

    It’s a fact that Malia would have been called fast if she really went to town and dropped it low. I don’t even think she was twerking. Just moving her body and enjoying the music. It’s also true a Black woman who can perform gravity defying stunts with her glutes will be called a ratchet, nasty h* faster than you can pop two balloons.

    Now I didn’t think Serena’s twerk abilities were top notch but who cares. She was being carefree and having a little fun. Which is why I LOVE the way you described her ‘technique’: “Serena’s little booty pop wasn’t hurting anyone. It was mild, non-confrontational twerking. It was twerk-lite and that is ok.”

    Lol, Cute! Anyway, twerk master or not, she’ll still bury you on the tennis court.

    “Not every black girl can dance.”

    And that is perhaps the most important thing to remember here.

    There’s no such thing as “every Black girl”. Black girls are not a monolith and they have the right to be individuals. Some can twerk, some don’t want to, some prefer ballet, some like both, some can’t do either because they’re not physically able to, etc. We just need let be. Can they live? 😀


    1. I’m so sorry I missed this wonderful comment! I agree 500% that she wasn’t even twerking, that’s part of what was so annoying abotu the whole thing – that a black girl moving to music automatically is labeled “twerking,” which has a negative connotation (but mostly when it’s applied to black girls/women, ain’t that something?).

      Girl the backlash against Serena was so dumb. I feel like people just took advantage of the chance to try and clown a black woman about something – because no matter how successful and talented she is, she still loses points for being a black woman who doesn’t twerk the right way? FOH!

      As a black girl who can kinda sorta maybe dance, I feel like I need to get that whole thing about black girls not being a monolith tattooed on my forehead. Just let us live (and dance however we want/are able) in peace!

      Liked by 1 person

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