There are two girls based in Atlanta, Georgia known as “The Twerk Team.” They’re famous for posting videos to Youtube of them gyrating and shaking their butts, almost to a point that it’s artistic. I had heard a lot about these girls and even caught Waka Flocka Flames’s first line in his “Round of Applause” song featuring Drake.

“Bounce that ass, shake that ass like the Twerk Team,” he said.

Not only were they referenced in the popular Atlanta rapper’s song, they were also featured in the video. I wanted to finally see who these girls were and what they were all about. I spent almost an hour on Youtube the other day watching these various videos.

Admiring their bodies, I thought to myself, “If these girls were holding classes I could probably easily get back in shape.”

Some of their dance routines also reminded me of some of the moves that I had previously learned in my Zumba class. Sure, “twerking” isn’t the most traditional form of dance or exercise, but I can almost guarantee you that it has its benefits. It can also be a very inexpensive way to stay fit. It doesn’t require any equipment and you don’t even have to leave your house. The most you would need is a really good playlist. I recommend whatever songs get you moving in the club.

Whether you’re at home in the mirror or out at a club, “twerking’” raises your heart rate and can possibly get you in shape. Dancer, dance-fitness pro, and the creator of Hip Brazil Dance and Fitness, Vanessa Isaac said that “twerking” is good for cardio and also muscle toning.

“For what I see this can be very good cardio, and the fact that you work your legs, hips, and waist can help in the toning of muscles in this area too,” she said.

Isaac stated that in addition to its fitness benefits, it can also be tons of fun. The few times that I’ve tried it in my mirror, I’ve walked away feeling sexy, confident, and full of laughter.

In the African American community butt shaking is usually frowned upon besides at family reunions, but many forget that it stems from African dance rooted in Sub-Saharan Africa. Traditional African dance occurs collectively and expresses the life of the community. The dance usually takes place in tribes or while worshiping gods. African dance utilizes polyrhythm concepts and promotes total body articulation. Body parts such as the shoulders, pelvis, chest, legs, and arms are used and moved with different rhythms in the music. Remnants of this are often shown in modern dances, even “twerking.”

Entertainment journalist, Starrene Rhett-Rocque, who has found a new love in pole dancing — another form of dance that is usually frowned upon — seems to favor “twerking.”

“Twerking is absolutely fascinating. Most people make it sexual when they see it, but it’s not just about that. The muscle control needed to perfect the art shouldn’t be taken lightly, so hats off to women who can do it. Plus, these women probably have a healthier body image than most women. The booty is a beautiful thing, even Beyoncè figured that out when she decided to pop in her “Dangerously in Love” video,” she said.

Rhett-Rocque believes that women, in general, like to “pop-it” in the mirror, whether they want to admit it or not. “There’s a sense of satisfaction we get with knowing how to jiggle and “pop-it” right so … if the classes could be women only, then we could actually use it as a form of exercising and having fun,” she said.

I couldn’t agree with her more.

Official Twerk Team: How Low from DTP TV on Vimeo.

around the web


  1. I’ve heard of them before. What they do is taboo but would be great for a workout and my dude. Are they holding classes?

  2. I have to try this in my mirror! Great article G 🙂

  3. Twerking is just a sexualized strip dance in a newer version. How is it traced to African dance? Maybe in the fact that they are both moving but it is not a connection. These young girls are promoting sex only not any religious act like most African and Indian dances.

  4. These ladies are so dope. It takes skills to twerk like this and I have much respect for their talent. Definitely a workout! I watch their youtubes and practice almost daily. I’d love to take a class with them.

  5. Why are you reporting on this trash? As a black woman in the entertainment industry desperately trying to change our image from oversexed jezebels to actual human beings, I find it exhausting that you and many others would consider this an art form. The twerk team and twerking in general is just a classless stripper phenomena! Stick to African dance classes please, at least that has a real purpose! SMH!

    • @Nikki: Are you serious? This is harmless and doesn’t reflect upon you or any other black woman negatively. Get your life! Why is it that women can’t control their own sexual images. What…are we not sexual or should we hide our sexual sides because white people are looking? #girlbye

      • @Stormy: @Stormy:
        Thank you for saying that! Why is it as blck,women we have to downplay everything thats regarded as sexual?? Get a life, white women live up their sexuality all the timeaand nobody complains. While im at it how come we dont have a fun magazine like cosmopolitan for us. All we have is essence which always serious.

        • @AnitraM: Here we go with the white woman argument. Maybe you should deal with your issues with white women before you comment on this post. Your comment is ridiculous and holds no weight. Thanx for coming at Essence the first black female publication that actually empowered black women, and they did it with out twerking! So it your stance to attack those wo are actually forwarding our community and applaud and uplift those who perpetuate the negative stereotypes and destruction of our beloved culture….great idea! SMH!

          • I totally agree with the remarks regarding this dance as what it is “sexually provocative”. Yes, I find the dance quite interesting and I myself have tried to master the skill. However, it’s not a white or black thing for me. I find that any race can learn the sexually motivated dance moves. I say sexually motivated simply because you wouldn’t find decent woman who respect themselves and carry themselves respectfully doing this dance just anywhere. The first thing that popped into my mind when I saw the youtube videos on “twerking” were, ” ooo this would be good for entertaining my man in the privacy of our home”. I don’t think it’s wrong to be a lady in the streets and a freak in the bedroom as the saying goes. Men are visual and don’t think for a second that this wouldn’t heighten the senses. Lol! But again I agree that putting emphasis on this sexual teasing dance is what it is and it shouldn’t be highlighted as some promotional aerobic exercise. Black women alone are already regarded as sexually over driven, aggressive and promiscuous. It appears to me that this article is trying to put a band aide over something of a deeper issue. This is just my opinion.

      • @Stormy: I see you want to take the angry ghetto black woman stance by slinging slang terms. It is highly comical that all of the twerk supporters speak with the same argument. However this is a public forum and I gave my opinion, why you chose to respond to me instead of the article baffles me. And why must the argument always turn to white women? I’m am commenting on the sistahs who are posting these images on a viral website that bost 1 billion viewers. If you are a black woman you should be concerned because whether or not you care this represents you. Why because this video is being broadcast to over a billion people and half of them have never met a black woman, however this is an image that will be available to those who are clueless about our culture. And because of it’s sexual nature have become popularized by men. Check their video comments, pages, and pages of disgustingly vulgar comments about the women and their hind parts. Media is powerful! It’s time that we stop making excuses for our ignorance and own destruction of our culture. Twerk on if you want, but this is not fitness, it’s sexualized dancing, and to put it on a national site for all to see is tasteless. You should spend your time supporting women who shake their anuses, and vaginas in residential neighborhoods and leave me and my opinion alone, so I say to you…Guuuurrrrrl Bye..Is that right? SMH! It’s a sad day when we defend sexualized bafoonery and try to categorize it as fitness and empowering. To whom does it empower the twerker or the pimp?

        • @Nikki: Are you suggesting that we should behave properly to prevent the ignorant from thinking that all black women do is twerk? LOL, If one makes a decision about an entire group of people base on a YouTube video series featuring three women… they can think what they want. I hope Darwinism takes care of them.

          • @icwatudid: No, not at all. My point was to show the power of media. We are a highly misjudged and misunderstood culture. I just wanted to point out that there are far too many of these twerking images(concerning black women), let’s make taking care of our families and communities main stream and not our booties and all of it’s amazingness. There is more to us, and we should celebrate what is not shown or popularized by the media concerning our culture.

        • @Nikki: I agree with you. People need to stop trying to commercialize sex workers, and then complaining about being objectified. SMH

    • @Nikki: I do agree.

    • @Nikki:

      I feel as long as we do this in the comfort of our homes, it shouldnt be a problem. You say tht it effects how “us” as black women are represented. Well, agreeing with some of the other woman, if one measily video is effecting all of the black women, well then people have no minds. Yes, it is in fact a form of sexual dancing, but have you forgotten about other races? Its not like there is just black strippers, pornographers, and twerkers. It just so happens that these twerkers happen to be black. either way instead of saying Black women, why dont you say all women, because whats black is white, whats white is mexican, whats mexican is puertorican and so on. we all came from God’s first creations, Adam and Eve. So lets not make this a race thing, lets make this an “in general thing”.
      And by the way, it is infact great exercise and can rouse up sex life with your husband or partner. Twerking isnt that bad if you think about it. As long as your minding your own, and not showing the world .. who cares, and even if your are, who cares. Why judge, cause let the ones without sin cast the first stone.

  6. I would try this if they offered a class or if it was in my neighborhood. It looks like a great workout.

  7. Nikki, Folami, I’m with you. There is nothing empowering about twerking. Shaking your ass is NOT girlpower, I don’t care if you hashtag it. And Stormy, you can be sexual without slipping into the stereotypical crap “they” expect from us. Really, being a sexual woman has nothing to do with embodying a male fantasy for the general public…it’s about be secure and strong, and knowing when it’s appropriate. As a fitness regimen? Sure, at home, with your man, or with you’re girls if you’re working it out. THAT’s sexy. Really, this is not empowerment. Good heavens, what legacy are we leaving our daughters? Stormy: #readyourhistory

    • @andipanda1: Honey I have #readmyhistory and indigenous tribes have always celebrated the nude, the sensual, the sexual. Most of the artwork and our languages come from the expression of all things sexual. Our culture and religions all are deeply rooted in sexual anxiety so if you really want to know if I know myself, yes I know I am sexual being and I am proud to flaunt it when it’s needed and called for. #Twerk

    • @andipanda1: Preach it sistah!! So wish I could high five you right now! 🙂

      • @Nikki: Stormy will learn, no doubt. Just give it time, grow up. Someday she’ll realize there’s a time and a place to be sexual. @Nikki: Glad you understand!

        • @andipanda1: I understand both parties. But there is nothing wrong with doing this as a work out behind close doors. I don’t support the YouTube and neighborhood thing but a group of girls doing this for fun and getting a work out is fine to me.

  8. These girls are hot. That’s all!

  9. There’s a dance in Africa called Mapouka that is very similar to twerking. It’s called Bounce here in Louisiana. The only people who see this as sexual are those looking for the sex in it. It’s a great work out that tones the lower body and gets the stagnant energy moving from out of the pelvic area.

    • @Naima: I totally agree with Naima. As a Nigerian, I see the talent in the way they dance. It reminds me of the cultural dances that we perform at our events. However, when speaking of empowerment and taking back our own images as black women; I think the problem lies in their music choice. When you see dancing similar to this in the African culture it is usually accompanied by drums and other instruments that have some symbolic meaning, NOT to Travis Porter, Waka Flocka, or Ludacris. If we are going to take control of our images as African American women, let’s dance, get in shape, twerk, whatever you choose to call it to music that is not degrading.

  10. These girls are banging! I forwarding this to my girl ASAP

  11. This has been around for ages like the article says. It’s great to seem them profiled. Many girls come to my classes in LA asking to learn more about using their “assets” with skill and grace. I wish these girls would put out an informational DvD or something like a YouTube class because as a trained professional dancer, I can only admire what these girls are doing. I wasnt blessed with such control of my butt.

  12. I think Twerking counts as a workout, and can be used for empowerment. With the right audience. It is a lot like belly dancing (which can also be considered vulgar and sexual by some people). But it is an athletic pursuit that requires tones of muscle control in your core. Just like twerking does for your butt.

    It is pretty analogous to me. We might have a very different perception of this if the women were wearing outfits that didn’t include booty shorts.

    I won’t be dancing like this at the club, that’s for sure. But to replace squats when I am working out a home? Sure.

  13. Just because rump shaking has its origin in Africa doesn’t make it any less vulgar. For years, people have frowned upon black women who shake their rump because they go “Oh my god, that’s so nasty”. However, when a white woman does it, it’s sexy. So yeah, if twerking was made into some public exercise thing like Zumba, best believe white women would take all the credit while the rest of us black women who’ve been doing this thing for years, will still be looked at as disgusting. Now I’ve never rump shaked and don’t plan on doing it, and I can’t watch their videos for less than 5 seconds without getting grossed out. That’s just me. But I don’t think this should be a new exercise. I would most certainly not like to see my teenage cousins pole dancing and twerking their asses just because it’s the new exercise crazy! GTFOH!!! This goes against our morals and values and I refuse to celebrate this as something of Black heritage. Everything that our ancestors did (Native or Black, etc) isn’t always good or holy. I’m sorry but my Christian good side is saying NO, NO, NO!

    • @Mina: I’m confused… I thought you supported the twerking cause for a second. You just said that society would accept it if it were white women, but we should still abstain from twerking… Also, let’s not confuse pole dancing with twerking. Strippers may twerk, but they aren’t the same. For one, these women never remove their clothes. Two, modern stripping is erotic dancing for the sole entertainment of the opposite sex. EVEN THEN, there is tasteful and artful stripping and pole dancing.

      Where are the burlesque haters?!

      • @icwatudid:

        You just said that society would accept it if it were white women, but we should still abstain from twerking…

        Yes because like Zumba and other Caribbean dances that originated from black women, white women will still participate in it because they say it’s sexy and they can entertain their men by learning how to twerk. However, you wouldn’t find a conservative Republican white woman twerking her ass. Which is to say, some, not all white women would learn to twerk and take it as their own. Like they did with Zumba.

        there is tasteful and artful stripping and pole dancing.

        Sure, I agree. When the people aren’t in skimpy bikinis or close to wearing nothing but are fully clothed, then I think it’s tasteful. If someone was in sweats and was just swinging around the pole like a monkey and doing tricks and stuff like a gymnast, I find it tasteful. When you’re twerking on the pole and making it rain…not so much.

        I can’t find anything tasteful or artful with twerking your booty…making your booty clap. Even with clothes on, it’s still kinda gross. If I were to twerk in front of a man’s husband, that woman would shake her head and try and cover her man’s eyes or something. I’d probably be labeled a slut too. Why not make the whole twerk thing for women only and make the room hot, like hot naked yoga?! Then women can twerk naked in front of each other and the mirror and unite as one! Woop woop!

        I wouldn’t be comfortable twerking in front of other women. Swinging on a pole with clothes on is one thing. Belly dancing with clothes on is another thing too. Twerking and clapping your booty is meant to be erotic…and is mostly found in strip clubs and night clubs. Doing it in broad daylight around other women, I can’t find that appealing one bit.

  14. If there was perhaps a less vulgar side of this, then maybe. But twerking = strip dancing. Strippers do it all the time. That’s why the twerk team are so famous among rappers because rappers love strippers and strip clubs. Ugh! I hate how everything women do today is to please men! It’s disgusting sometimes.

  15. Lord have mercy on my backside. These girls take my energy just looking at them. But I love it. I wish I could get my 40 something ass to move like that.

  16. Muscle does not shake and jiggle like that, only fat does. So I fail to see how twerking can lead to fat loss considering these girls do it all the time(and they have youth on their side) yet they are all shaking and jiggling a bunch of fat.

    • @fruitygal: I GUARANTEE you’ve never tried to twerk cuz if you did you’d know it was a workout. You’d last all of 10 seconds

      • @Violet:

        How do you guarantee that I’ve: a) never tried to twerk and b) never last more than 10 seconds?

        I run, ride the spin bike, swim, do aerobics, and other cariovascular activities so I’m curious how you came to that conclusion. It seems those girls(and most likely you) need to twerk a whole lot longer than 4 minutes because with all that fat and flab shaking and rippling in those videos four minutes just ain’t enough.

        • @fruitygal:
          Spin and all those other classes require different muscles and strengthen different muscles
          Dancing like this day in and day out will strengthen their particular dance muscles..
          Yes they have chunk but they have a lot of muscles in their legs
          Gluteus quads and lower back to be able to dance like that
          It’s obvious it’s not possible to dance for that long without it
          And you can see when they are dancing the muscle is moving with them
          The chunk is shaking but I think that’s sexy and I’m a straight woman I prefer a bit of wobble than a bone looking back please view kasha the singer on the beach photos to see a prime example of that.

          So call a spade a spade
          They have strong legs and gluteus therefore muscles!

  17. damn, there are a lot of haters in these comments. i see nothing wrong with twerking and booty shaking and i’m speaking as a yoruba woman, the only negative connotations i see are people projecting the opinions that society has socialized them to believe in. if you want to twerk for a sexist music video, that’s your prerogative but there is nothing wrong with it doing it for yourself and just having some fun and acting silly. people take everything so seriously, damn…

  18. I’m pretty sure it’s a good workout, no doubt about that, but it is the INTENTIONS behind it all. Twerking is more so to grab the attention of potential men to bed. These Sub-Saharan African dancers this person is talking about are worshiping, not trying to make themselves look available to the opposite sex. Maybe in the confines of a workout space or my living space, or perhaps my bedroom with someone I want to be intimate with, I would most definitely “twerk”, but I do not feel the necessity to exploit myself and degrade not only myself, but every other black woman in the area. There are things like this that we may think are “harmless”, but they can really twist brains. This just feeds into the stereotype that black women–matter of fact–all women are whores and strippers and that is the ideal that men should look for because that is all women are there for. And to those who say it is just for fun, it’s more than fun when you are feeding into the stereotype society has placed on us. Sagging was “just for fun” and now when a black male walks down the street sagging, they are more likely to be stopped because of so-called “suspicious behavior”.

    We need to be paying a hell of a lot more attention to our surroundings if we think this will not have a negative effect on black women.

    -16 year old young black lady

    • @L: Wow! You inspire me. And your only 16? U go girl! When you run for president, can I be your campaign manager? LOL! But seriously your going places my dear, you speak as a true leader. Much success my dear! 🙂

    • @L: Just because [ignorant] people like to believe that black women are all whores and strippers doesn’t mean that we have to be devoid of all sexuality just to appease them. They can twerk all day and night; it still doesn’t mean that all black woman do that.

      Also, as a general FYI to those out there saying that what dancers in Africa do isn’t related because it’s more religion-related: In many African cultures, the hips represent fertility. Fertility… that’s pretty much sex, ain’t it? Showing off their wide hips, letting potential partners know that they are suitable for childbirth? OF COURSE IT’S SEXUAL! That doesn’t make them dirty women. What happened to the days when you actually had to sleep with someone before you were considered a dirty, filthy whore??

    • @L:

      Thank you!!!!!! I concur!!

    • @L: I have hope for our future now. Unlike “Stormy,” you see there’s a societal context. Bless your parents, young lady!

  19. Granted, I can agree with the idea that too much twerking can be problematic at times. If it is done solely for the purpose of promoting hypersexual images of black women and for the male gaze then I would agree with many of the comments. However, sensual movements of the waist, hip, and rear end is common among SEVERAL indigenous peoples from Africa to the Middle East, and the Caribbean. I grew up in the West Indies and we ‘da wuk up’. Though the act is sexual at times it was about more than that. It helped me to stay fit. I had a great time going out dancing with family members and friends and it was not ALL about the male gaze. Also, I’ve recently heard that shaking the waist/hips/booty region is very good for women. It increases our intuitive connection to our womb and it helps energy to flow through the body by releasing tension in one of our biggest muscles. There is no one dimensional view of right or wrong. There is a time and place for everything…twerking included.

    • @KiKi: Did you see the two main differences? In this video the music isn’t that hip hop sexist trash AND you actually see the women’s faces throughout the video. I bet most people would be more apt to consider this video dance and more acceptable bc of those two things. Amazing what changing music and filming from the front can do.

      • @LenonNLime: well I cannot confirm or deny if the music if “sexist trash” since I don’t know what is being said in the first place. But if you know what is being said, I’d love to know. But no. I don’t really see the difference. They’re dancing because they enjoy the music and want to have fun.

  20. I find it highly distasteful. There are many more ways to stay active and fit, like reg dance or even Zumba without booty popping. I can;t stand to see young girls degrade themselves by coochie and booty popping. I loathe that type of “dance”.

    • @OSHH: What are you scared of? It is dance, they are moving, it involves skill. What’s so degrading?

    • That style of “dance” is vulgar, however you can definitely be sexy when age appropriate and even sensual without popping your private parts.
      Screwing involves skill, if done well and moves the body also, is a great exercise, is that appropriate for young girls though esp videos of it, all up on youtube/web???

  21. Yayyyy, Twerk Team! I’m a straight woman, and I’ve been a fan of theirs since they had FOUR members! After Betty Butt (not her real name, obviously) left, it’s been down to the sisters, Lady Luscious and Mizz Twerk Sum.

    Yes, I understand many of your concerns: “This is vulgar!”, “What do their parents think?!”, “They’re too young to be doing this!”, “This is one step away from stripping and two steps away from prostitution!”. But all they do is dance! Twerking is JUST a DANCE! Yes, it may turn guys on, but guys get turned on by you dancing too close to them in the club, let alone twerking.

    I can’t speak for ALL of the girls on the internet who have videos of themselves twerking, but these two are hustlers. I don’t know much about their love lives, but they probably don’t have much of one because their mother is their manager (yes, their MOTHER!), and she’s always with them. The person recording is also part of their entourage. When they do shows, appearances, and video cameos, they get their own room to stay in and change, so no, they do not have men going in and out of them. Even though they’re both grown (in their early 20’s), they seem kind of sheltered, especially since they rose in fame over the last couple of years and dudes are drooling over them. They live a pretty comfortable life (look at the neighborhood they live in, the house they live in, and their cars), and they’re also on top of the business side of their brand. They also rap (not great, but not that bad either)!

    How do I know all of this? From their videos! They do as many videos talking about who they really are as they do twerking videos. If ya’ll don’t want your kids seeing them twerk, that should be no problem because all of their twerking vids have an adult block on them; that is, unless YOUR kids are lying about their ages on their YouTube accounts.

    You all can say what you want and feel how you want to, but I like them. I’m glad they’re doing well for themselves. Shoo, I wish I could do half the moves Mizz Twerk Sum can! And this article PROVES that I’m not the only woman who thinks so! C’mon, loosen up! It’s all for fun and for adults. If you don’t like it, just simply watch something else. #BOOM

    • @RenJennM:

      In 40 years, we should just see who will still be able to touch their toes, let alone twerk. Flexibility has ALWAYS been a sign of good health! *hi-five*

    • @RenJennM: And dont for get they are in collage and the house they were in before this house all because they dance majority of the people thats hating in this article probley cant even twerk or even dance some people kill me hell if u dont like it do zumba you still have to shake your ass

  22. As a male and former band geek, I can say twerking burns a helluva alotta calories. If you’ve been in a black or showstyle band you know you can’t twerk, you don’t march and I had to do it with a drum attached to my waist

    But I knew the hypersexualized argument would show up so heres food for thought. My wife works with a 65 year old white woman who saw her watching Twerk Team and the lady was completely enamored by it. She wants to learn how to do it. As well as her 32 year old white friend who both saw the vids with no mention of sexual under or overtones.

    Seems that black women are the only ones worried about the sexuality in twerking….

    • A 65 y/o twerking? That would be interesting to watch. This woman and her younger friend are only two people. Them not seeing it as sexual (as it relates to Black female sexuality) doesn’t mean it’s not seen that way in general. Given the long standing Jezebel stereotype and how common it is for Americans to view things Black do as ghetto or otherwise negative, Black women being cautious about how this makes us look is understandable

      • @Yaol:

        Heres my thing also. Weaves, black women ran from it, white women took it in stride made it their own. Big butts, black women ran from it, Kim K made it mainstream even though we all knew what body type hers is most associated with. This will be another thing black women run from that others will pick up on, make their own, and then profit.

        Black women yall better wake up, put this in somebody’s gym, and profit before another woman of prolly another race does…..

    • @Slymm:

      So twerking while marching, dancing/ stepping and playing an instrument is cool. The twerk is the accent on a foundation of order and choreography, grace and musicality. I can respect that. Trying to pass it as an art form or a way to get in shape? Seriously, Frugivore?

    • @Slymm: I’m pretty sure that neither this 65 y.o. you mention, nor her 32 y.o. friend will be frequently approached by multiple men who EXPECT women to twerk pretty much anywhere and everywhere on demand.
      I don’t take issue with the “exercise” itself, and think that everything has a time and place. The problem is in the sheer amount of pervasive imagery and stereotyping which seems to travel MUCH farther than the truth of most American women of African descent-who are not all porn stars, video vixens, or anything of the sort.

      My reality as a large bottomed woman who is trying to increase healthful living is that people from other countries where this type of dancing doesn’t already have some sort of sexualized context think nothing of it. Unfortunately, places which are much more restrictive sexually in general AND/OR have a history of demeaning darker skinned women for any number of myriad reasons seem to export ignorance when it comes to this type of thing.

      If you’re a Turk who’s done nothing but watch pirated international cable, XXX magazines, and porn all your life, you’re not going to have much exposure to the realities that most African American women live. You don’t know-or care-about the fact that these young women are businesswomen who presumably are trying to make a (albeit possibly questionable) name in an industry. All you know is that America must seem like your version of Heaven here on earth.

      And when you emigrate to the U.S., we Americans are importing your ignorance. Only after many, many years of living here-and repeatedly insulting Black women who you think ALL are supposed to immediately start twerking- or more-when they see you-does it begin to dawn upon you that real life in America does not, in fact, resemble a late night Showtime original special.

      I’d love to dismiss the opinions of those in ANY culture who think that this is all that (all?) Black women “are good for”, but unfortunately, such thinking seems short sighted when I am trying to be part of the positive trend of more African-Americans who travel for pleasure and enlightenment. How am I to be treated abroad when I, while traveling alone, come into contact with people who hold such views or worse?
      Unlike these young girls, my mother and entourage isn’t traveling with me to help bring such realities into sharp relief for those I encounter with these types of images swimming around in their head.

      I agree with the fact that these images harm the general perception of Black American women who already have a strike against them when it comes to having a pool of men who don’t value them for anything EXCEPT twerking like this-and related sexual activity that is supposedly almost always linked with it in such narratives. Though I certainly wouldn’t paint all Black men with this brush, the ones who do think this way seem to definitely get the best billing in the international media. I’m not naive enough to think that there isn’t a reason why Other/White women are praised for appropriating and ‘sanitizing’ this type of activity, yet Black women and girls (:-() are widely discredited for such a thing.

      Other cultures have learned this lesson from our mistakes. Though they certainly have sexualized acts, they have the sense and grace to at least try and export such imagery with CONTEXT intact. Yoruban, Ibo and many, many other African cultures seem to have somewhat gotten this somewhat right. Does this mean that derogatory images are never made in places like this? Of course not. It’s just not the ONLY thing that is exported.

      Again, it bears mention that I am NOT against twerking in every shape and form. It looks like a fun workout, and I certainly won’t knock anything that I can’t reasonably do on my own. But I do think that African Americans can-and do- put a MUCH greater range of dance styles which represent the various styles of dancing we do. You know-provide a little context for such things-and give it as MUCH attention as we do this.

      Atlanta has a great tribal House music scene, and traditional African dances are de rigeur in many places. I’m blessed to have partaken in such things, and love to see ALL aspects of Diasporan dance and art aesthetics come together in celebration. We welcome Black people from all over the world to come and join us in such activities. Yes, there is some twerking that goes on, I’m sure. But in the right context, with such a cacophony of movement going on, it surely takes on a meaning MUCH greater than the isolated Westernized connotative binary meanings in which such things seem to have been encapsulated in the average BET video.

  23. Man……. I wish all girls work out like this. The world would be a better place.

    Its only sexual only if you see it that way. Anything can be labeled as sexual.

    Young girls like to dance. To dance is an expression. Whats wrong with that?

    Nobody wants to hear your negative comments. Don’t hate on others because you hate yourself

  24. Ok, I’m from the Caribbean and this form of dance is nothing new its part of our culture…there are 5 yr olds that can do this…we’ve been doing it for decades, in the club, in dance classes, in the street at carnival. Just look at the vidoes from down the islands: Barbados, Jamaica, Trinidiad etc, shaking our booty is no new craze, I find it amazing that its such a hott topic now….I guess unless its done in the USA then it aint worth talking about smh

  25. Twerking is fine and it can be made into an exercise. People have issues, valid as they are or aren’t, with this mainly because of the overt sexuality. The Twerk Team knows this and it’s fine that they use it to bring themselves attention to their skillful practice and more importantly money. There is nothing lewd about it unless one makes it lewd. If it is distasteful to you, fine, that’s cool, but please don’t say that they don’t deserve coverage … please don’t say that.

  26. Twerking IS a workout…a very good one at that….
    I have watched their videos, and i do think that what they do is a skill and should be taught.
    …they actually teach that out here in phx…(booty quake)
    My husband thought i couldnt dance for the past 5 years….(said i danced like a white girl)
    I twerked it in the kitchen one day while cooking and listening to music….damn near lost his mind….

    its not for kids…its for adults….* its not like their doing it a bday parties with little kids around or got someone’s little sister in a video doing moves…(like u see in some youtube videos) and if kids are watching…its their parents fault

  27. Undulations of any sort take lots of muscle control especially in the area of hip to thigh because so often we sit all day something those muscles and supporting muscles aren’t built for. A little twerk can result in a whole lot of tightening not to mention they are doing lots of squats and even push ups in their routines. Sure there may be other ways to target the same muscles but women, all women, should be allowed to celebrate the feminine how they want to. I’m sure they do some other training as well to perfect what they do professionally.

  28. The comments I read in this forum are absolutely appalling! We are so quick to talk about how sistas need to come together and unite but when 2 young black women are doing something that we deem “inappropriate” we’re quick to call them hoes, vulgar, and inscribe hyper sexualized onto their skin. Shame on you! As much as we like to believe it doesn’t, booty shaking does have roots in Africa. I’ve visited the beautiful continent on 4 separate occasions (4 different countries) and have seen it every single time. Same when I visit the Caribbean. Who cares if strippers also do it? Child molesters eat McDonald’s so does that make everyone who eats McDonald’s a child molester? Not at all. These are two women who are making a name for themselves by dancing. Not selling p***y, dealing drugs, or sleeping with rappers and athletes and acting a fool on TV. Dancing! I have never been so disappointed by a forum geared towards promoting sisterhood! And for the record, I’m college educated, work for a non-profit owned by a church and I take pole dancing classes because it’s an awesome workout! And if they taught classes, I’d be at the Twurk class too. But some of you really need to get over yourselves..

    • @a.: Thank you!

    • @Nikki: @a.: I think you are so off to be honest hell I’m African and I know this type of dancing it’s originated from a type of dance in west Africa and the Congo I’m Ghanaian and I think you should get your facts straight if you don’t like it ignore it. I mean after all why stop other people from going to a public place just coz you find place disgusting ..I mean really it’s all over here in Africa but we do it to express our sensuality ,our desire to be labelled as sexy but stable and wise creatures..heck I do it to keep my waist in shape
      Is the problem that they are doing it for the public or they are doing it .period

  29. Twerking is just another form of dance that does have roots in Afro-Carribean countries. Twerk is very reminiscent of Coupe Decale. It is a dance, and yes it is considered sexy but I think it would be a great workout. I twerked my way through college and was quite fit doing it on Wed, Thurs, Fri and Sunday nights at the New Era in Nashville. Some people take small things like this too serious. This is why sooo many Black women are unmarried because we are so uptight! People come down on White women, but they know how to let go and enjoy and take things with a grain of salt. These girls do not represent all Black women! They are not bothering anyone. Have an issue if a man comes up to you and asks you to twerk for some money. Quit tripping@ nikki, @ falomi!

  30. Nothing wrong with booty shaking for fun or workouts. The issue comes in when women are being hypersexualized by a misogynistic society…ie rap videos. If this was a work out video or something it would elicit different responses. Instead of jumping on each other in the comments section the bigger question should be why do we accept such a narrow view of Black women?

  31. Some are taking this posting a bit too extreme. The message I got was doing the dances they do which require some skills if you have watched the videos u would know alot of things they do are hard. So after doing these dance routines im sure one would loose some weight. Yes it is sexual, and i think the ladies that are having issues with this posting are either prude or have insecurities with their sexuality for this to be an issue. Just because im black doesn’t mean I need to be mad about what the next black woman is doing I am an individual with my own opinions. Just bc so and sp wants to dance vulgar doesnt mean I have to be the angry black woman who’s afraid of what everyone else will think. I am who I am they are who they are and damnit to hell if they want to twerk let them twerk in peace. Black women are so quick to judge another black woman while trying to preach about unity.

  32. Twerking is definately a ton of work! I have my opinions and feeling about women who use their sexuality to capitalize. However, I won’t go there. I was asked to book this team specifically for an event in Seattle and didn’t understand the hype – but I feel it now.

    I do agree that Twerking is a workout… a workout that should be done in a private show, for a beau 🙂

  33. this is of the devil. its just a sex show with clothes on and also have you ever heard of sara baartman? just exploited black women on show for whatevr lustful that wanna see it. your body is the temple of the most high not to be presented to the world. twerk it for your husband but not these thirsty hounds out. step up the class because it needed. reports on this trash is unbecoming. smh

  34. For me twerking is just the dance you do at parties, i would have never expected it to be considered a workout.

  35. I don’t see the big deal…some pole classes offer twerk instruction. I had a pole class a couple years ago but the instructors were not twerking it like these ladies…I need new instructors…But seriously, there is no room to judge here, you can have fun with this and still go to church on Sunday.

  36. Those women in the picture don’t even look fit.

  37. I’ve been taking pole dance classes on and off for 4 years now, and at many studios there are booty shaking classes, lap dances, and the like offered. Just like pole dancing, it takes a lot of control to move your body in this way. While I’m not the biggest fan of twerking out in public (admittedly due to how women of color are portrayed), if done in a controlled environment such as a dance studio, I think it can become popular very quickly.

  38. Folks concept of sexuality is the problem. Not women shaking what they mama gave them. It all depends on context and perspective.

    check out this supposed African Dance..and there are many other twerk type dances coming straight from the muthaland.

  39. Seriously?! How does a pretty decent uplifting article about a dance that could be used to lose weight and help “us” to feel more sexy get turned into a nonsensical argumentative racial debate?? Here let me help you, I don’t care about African American anything cause quite frankly they sure as hell don’t give two nutsacks about me. What I do care about (and what’s relevant about this article) is a new and fun way to stay in shape and feel sexy doing it. Because god knows (or perhaps just people with working eyes) African dance makes “us” look even worse than the heathens they already believe “us” to be.

  40. Women can talk about what twerking is and isn’t all they like, but the blunt truth is that when a woman twerks it just looks like she is screaming to the world how much she likes to be f*cked from behind. It’s also what every guy is thinking about when a girl twerks in front of him. And I do mean EVERY guy. Do it in clubs or on YouTube all you like, but that’s the truth of it.

    The most bizarre thing is how twerking seems to have become an aspirational thing, as if it is in any way important. The ability to shake ass won’t get you a job, unless that job is as a stripper or go-go dancer.

  41. If they want to twerk then let them… if you don’t want to then don’t!

    End of story!!

  42. Leave these damn girls alone. If they wanna shake their arses then let them. We commentating on their videos on blogs and youtube or any other website is not gonna stop them. This my friends is the power of the Internet. Deal with it. People are gonna talk. Why?? Cause they can, either verbally in your face or over the world wide web. In every race there are stereotypes for men and women black women are the more sexualized of the “races ” and ethnicities. That’s likely not ever gonna change sadly, i mean we live well i live i don’t know about anyone else, in America where racism is stigmatic and institutionalized due to years of racial injustice (you know what i mean people) so nowadays it’s still there (the prejudice and racism) just subtler. Which is why black women or people of color period have to constantly defend their pride, individuality, sexuality, etc. So i really dont like to get involved with stuff like this but i just had to end my silence to say leave mz.twerksum and lady l alone, if this is how they get money/attention then so what. Me as an individual who is Eritrean and Italian, and the world has a bunch of stereotypes and generalisations for those from Africa and those who are Italian/Sicilian, have seen the bitter end of the ignorance of a$$holes who think im a pasta making hypersexualized quicky who loves to hang around on Jersey shore and affiliated to the mob in some way or my brother is a blood or crip, its gonna happen. Oh well i said my pC. :/

  43. Wow twerking looks so cool I want to learn

  44. I’m a “white girl” and I just learned how to “twerk” yesterday.
    I had so much fun with my bestfriend, completely laughing at ourselves.
    I’ve been feeling pretty self conscious lately because I’ve but on some weight since track and when I was tweaking, I started to feel beautiful and sexy again. it was probably the exercise, but since tweaking requires almost no effort (unless you do some risky moves like the splits) I twerked from 9 pm to 1 am.
    I’ve never ever continued a workout that long, no even while on a track team.
    Today, I woke up feeling sore! SORE! That is an amen to me because I can do this my bff, have fun, and stay in shape! 🙂

    For all those girls who seriously think this is degrading, it is only if you become a stripper and shake it in front of people you don’t know! Skate it in front of your husband, he’ll be asking for more in the bedroom and if your love life is droopy, I’m sure tweaking could spice it up!

  45. I twerk and belly dance for exercise and because it makes me feel feminine and sexy seriously as women we get so down on ourselves but when i put on one of my tight shirts *worn as a dress* hugging my curves and watch myself in the mirror swaying my hips and popping my ass there’s something incredibly powerful, sexy, and ultra feminine about it (not to mention my babe goes out of his mind). My femininity and sexuality is something nobody can take from me, and honestly i envy these women for going out there and sharing that with the world it says I AM WOMAN HEAR ME ROAR YOU CAN LOOK BUT NOT TOUCH oh and by the way they make money off ya’ll dumb asses doing paying to watch them do nothing but shake their asses. So while you Mammies (yeah i went there MAMMIES) are shaking your red scarf wearing heads the twerk team are shakin their asses all the way to the BANK!

  46. and YES TRUST me it requires skill those firm tight arses are muscle NOT fat there’s one thing ya’ll forgot about fat it tends to sag and them booties sit high and proud not a pock mark to be seen (that’s probably also youth on there side as well) but give it a try and i guarantee you’re you’ll be sore from the neck (turning to watch yourself in the mirror) down (everything else from trying to control your butt and bending at the thighs)

  47. ik how to dance like that it works my ASS and my legs it gets dem hard ina WEEK if u do it everyday
    i got to say its my favorite dance its energizing and AWESOME and im 14 and i got my legs like race cars now XD

  48. i’m african and i grew up watching my mother, aunts and older women dancing and using their butts heavily in dances and TRUST ME it’s NOTHING like what that twerk team does so let’s not even compare. If you’ve seen it with your own eyes (in a tribal and a social/party context), you know the difference immediately.

    That twerking stuff is sexually gratuitous and even if it’s just for exercise it still looks that way. I used to do zumba sometimes and there are dances in there that are very sexually suggestive and that I was not personally comfortable doing especially around other people (who were passing by or watching). If you’re a grown woman, you choose what you are comfortable doing but if someone looks at you and feels like you’re being sexual, well then, it just comes with the territory. Me, i wouldn’t go near twerking in any way shape or form.

  49. I believe that twerking is just another sexually provacative dance…but that’s not the reason it’s frowned upon, the “classlessness” of it is to blame… However, it could still be used in a classier way, if one were to make some adjustments…but it would still reflect a sexual side or desire such as many other dances do. For example, the tango, Spanish flamenco, or rumba, all are considered “classy” or “artistic”, yet still hold their sexual appeal. With that said, I believe the current way of twerking is still good to do… just not in public, i think for now its best done behind closed doors for your husband’s enjoyment ; )

  50. Twerkin can be all kinds of things. Fun, workout, sexy as hell usually depends on the people/person who’s doin it. I actually love the twerk memes I be seeing, hilarious as f$@! But to each their own. The site I listed above got tons of different types of pics and vids and I believe linked to this article (how I found it). So yeah twerkin is alot of things I’m actually about to head out to the club and do some now. Later.

  51. If that can help you american peeps, here in Paris, we have Maimouna Coulibaly, African professional dancer and teacher in Le Marais Studio, who gives Tweerking lessons… Her Class is named Booty Therapy and no one is making a big deal about it!! A way for women of all color to share a wonderful moment, feel confident in their bodies and yes, it’s a wonderful way to stay fit !

  52. And I’m always surprised to see that when you refer to african dance, you always find a way to pick pictures of people jumping in the bush or in the countryside… But African Dance it’s also this !

  53. I can see both sides of this arguement. It’s mainly because of women acting in such a way that modern men assume women are easy. Is this a form of art? yes, i believe it is. Personally, women are naturally sensual creatures. We have been sensual for ages. Take belly dancing, beautiful form of dancing, I feel. That is very sexual and I love it. I also love pole dancing. I took pole dancing class and had such a great time, its a great workout and helped me feel more comfortable in my own skin. even Latin dance is sensual, with the way you move your hips. Dancing is a form of expression, and should be used as such. I love dancing, and when I go out to the club I dance, I sway my hips from side to side in a way that seems sensual. No offense, but it is nearly impossible to dance and not move your hips, which in turn will make you look sexual. I go out, and dancing helps release that stress from the work week away. I dont care who’s watching, who thinks I look funny or sexy or whatever. Why? because I’m dancing for me. I enjoy it. It relaxes me. To me, my sensuality is part of being a woman. I do not feel I have to hide it for ANY reason, I am who I am. I can be the most conservative person in the world, but goodness someone will ALWAYS have a problem of what I’m doing. I will always be stereotyped, for whatever reason. So with that being said, I cant do anything but be me. I’m not going to make myself feel less sexy because of what somebody will think of me. Been there, done that, won’t do it again. Just because I embrace who I am does not make me any less smarter than the woman who decides to be shy and conservative.

    However, and, I think this is what some of you are trying to say, women shaking their a** all on youtube or whatever are not doing it for any positive reason. They want male attention. All of those “oh girl, shake that” or “i like to see that bent over”…..since when did these types of “gestures” become a compliment? But women nowadays love it. And I’m not speaking about all women, just wanna make that note. I really wish that women would stop putting themselves in a negative limelight for attention. If you got your a** all up on youtube, don’t expect men to respect you. All they see are girls who want some male attention, and not the good kind. There is a time and a place for things, but to each its own. I guess what I’m trying to say is it all about your demeanor and how you present yourself. If you present yourself like a whore, chances are that’s how you will be treated. Although, in these times, i feel that a lot of men think most women are whores, because it doesnt stop them from trying to holla. I do not twerk in the club, not my thing. Nor do I bend all over on a guy when im dancing with him, out of my comfort zone. But that’s me, I choose not to judge on a person’s life because I don’t like it when it is done to me and I can’t live theirs, I can only live mine. I will say this much: If women start using their brains more and worry less on trying to take any type of attention they can get, women could rule the world!

  54. if you want to twerk go ahead, if you dont mind ya business.

  55. I on the other hand can’t see both sides of the arguement. I only see one; and that is that it is vulgar, objectifying women (black and other race alike), man-pleasing and just a way to get attention “in da club”.

  56. Is this concidered an art forn now? Rolling around your ass isn’t an art girl. Everyone can do this. Even men.
    African dance on the other hand is an art and not at all to compare to this stuff.

    Twirking is just another name for dancehall. Because it’s basically the same thing.
    You dance like a stripper, popping your ass around.
    Whether you do this fully clothed or with a bikini, it’s still a suggestial, sexual, vulgar dance.

    Don’t tell me if you go out in the club and you twerk, it’s for your own fun. It’s for the guys and to make other girls feel jelous “‘cuz i can do that and i’m sexy and your not”.

    It’s not going to work writing this off as an art or a workout. Because like i said, it’s not.
    It’s only going to give you some back musscles….But these women work out their whole body anyways. They spend their time in the gym working out like crazy to obtain their muscles and to make stronger movements. But like some other here have said: it has alot to do with the fat in your ass and thighs too. You cant do much with a skinny ass. which gives men the view that skinnier girls are not sexy enough… so girl who have not much curves feel bad about their bodys.

    Why these girls want to objectify them “in the name of art” (read: popularity) blows my mind.

    Girls, start to have some more self value, only then men will start to treat us like we deserve.


  57. I’m so tired of black people and their “crabs in a barrel” mentality. Do any of you understand that your prejudice and stigmatization against these women only perpetuates the origin of those stigmas (racism against blacks, courtesy of whites). Black people say: “Don’t do (x) because it makes us look bad!”. Makes us look bad to whom? An even better question, why do I care what some racist idiot, misogynistic male, or anyone else thinks about how I live my life? I will live for my own happiness and success. In short, if these women want to dance, go for it! It takes a ton of skill to do what these women do. I applaud them for their dedication and hard work to their craft. Twerking is fun and creative. I’m pretty mesmerized when I see their videos.

    • Moreover, you are in denial if you don’t think that those African dances with women shaking their hips is not meant to draw attention to their sexual energy (example: And there is nothing wrong with that. Women are beautiful and sexual beings. Sex is natural and how humans persist. Women’s expression of sexuality is non-aggressive and projects from within. Men on the other hand seek to project their own sexuality onto others. That doesn’t mean we should bash women for showing any signs of sexuality. Don’t fall prey to the “Modonna-whore complex”. Live and let live.

  58. Ricky the Nudnik

    wait until FEMEN starts twerking


  59. Oh Ricky it’s already happened!!

  60. It is good exercise, it works the thighs and butt and legs. I have had great results from it and will continue to do it. Now in the club, well no because I am not putting myself on display for anyone. But that doesn’t mean that as a black woman i can’t do a booty dance, learn a little control of important muscles and have a good-time watching my man watch me shake it to bands will make her dance. Ha, he left off basketball to see my practice my splits. LOL.

  61. OMG! SMH! People took this long to get the sticks out of their arse’s , (not the guy above) to notice the ammount of power and stamina that being “rooted” requires? *sad sad for mankind*
    Is this the first time you all noticed the advantages of being “rooted”?
    If you apply some “forward” thinking, in the area of application of, you should notice where this “root” stance is coming from.. (no not the bedroom, thats one place but Im not being normal, Im being socially correct :P)

    Think martial arts. Karate to be more exact. The first thing you learn besides how much stretching and running hurts, is the “training horse” stance. (Legs wide , squat low, ass out, torso straight up) And you do this for hours. Many, many, many hours. You practice kata’s in this stance. You spar in this stance. For the first 3 stripes on your belt, this is your life. And if you mess up somewhere, this is your punishment. Horse stance, holding water in a bucket. Or plates on your head. Or weights over your thighs. Or squatting over buckets of hot water, with no cup. 😀

    Your legs and ass get worked, and you gain massive ammounts of power and torque. Especially off of the pivot.

    Popping has its bonuses thankfully. For us men, it could mark the end of the hordes of rythmnless women out there who just anger us in the sack with thier timeless, off beat (with thier partner) random humping motions. And what man wouldnt want a confident, rythmic, sensual, athletic woman who can popity pop pop it like Miz Twerksum?

    I would looooooooooove it!

    So go head ladies, get off those silly pilates balls and start popin it. ☻

  62. Oh and on the “other” topic that sprug up in this thread of replies. Black women, and all women of the world, I feel, will never find harmony as a whole. If things like this continue. Is it so hard to see something and just shut up? So what if YOU dont do that. Or YOU dont like that. Someone obviously does. So why must you be such a snotty shit to impose your will onto others? Is that legit? No its not. No two people are the same, so why the fuck are you all trying to join in union? Respect the individual. Shame the minions and automaton’s. I destest “sheeple”. And there is nothing worse than going on a date with a beautiful, smart, AND logical female, only to have her start regurgitating some crap that she heard someone somewhere say to someone about something that she is remotely versed in the workings of. But in a manner that is direct and forceful as if to say “roar!!” I am woman.

    If only her eyes could read her surroundings. To recieve the message of ” what, the hell, is this broad tripping on? Its 2013! Why cant, (at this point of the evening this is really what goes through my mind, just faster choices of words.) bitches focus on real issues that are relevant like the dying planet? Only a female would be worried about taking back power on a dying planet. Byt the time they agree on something universally, there will be nothing but a raped planet to govern. SMDH. Fuck, why do they focus on themselves? When men do it we are called sexist. But i thought we were equal? That seems a bit shit to me…. Shes still going on about this, wow. I hope she doesnt ask for my opinion on this. Everytime I tell the truth about anyones pet passion, I get the ban hammer waved in my face. I cant help but sting, Im a scorpio.

    I have a better Idea, I will just let her talk , and I will just agree with everything. I wonder if I can play back a full episode of something I watched in my mind while she does this? Hmmm lets try it out!

    Thats what goes on in a short 5 minute “blah blah blah” fest on dates and hangouts when the topic of “women” in other words, one side, unifying to come together as, yadda yadda. We are just humans folks. Brown, yellow, fat skinny, pretty ugly, tall short, wanted , unwanted. Whatever , applaud peoples differences, boo peoples simmilarities. Thats shits forced onto you by the big corporations. Whats easier, making millions of uniqe products for uniqe people? Or a few things for all? Ahhhh, make any sense what Im hinting at? Yes I know this is very vague. But thats the point. Exercise YOUR brain, and take this how YOU will. Everyone shouldnt get the same thing from what I write. Or should they?

    Did this little bit get you all to come together and disagree with my POV? And hate what I had to say?
    Well that wasnt that hard now was it?

  63. “In the African American community butt shaking is usually frowned upon besides at family reunions” probably one of the most unintentionally bigoted things ever thought

  64. I’m a recreational powerlifter and I do twerking as part of my dynamic warmup. I hope it catches on in the gym. I swear it really works in loosening the hips and lumbar spine.

  65. there’s no question that its African! I wish people would actually WATCH some African music videos before trying to say theres no similarity


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