Spent a little time this morning backtracking cultural references from this video, a whitened diy-like remake by famous-on-the-internet band Pomplamoose of Beyonce's "Single Ladies". The style of dancing in Beyonce's video for that song - redone and rehashed and parodied to exhaustion on Youtube - is called J-setting, popular in black gay clubs in the American south - and on Youtube. This dance in turn is named after The Prancing J-Settes, the dance line for the Jackson State University marching band, better known as The Sonic Boom of the South. Jackson State is, traditionally, a black university, so the Sonic Boom does not play John Philip Sousa - what the type of band is really geared for - but rather marching band arrangements of popular material from the soul and R&B songbook, complete with an MC, like you would expect at The Apollo, as you can see here.
You just have to love the amazing power of popular culture, and American popular culture in particular. You would never see this kind of all out, noisy, cheerful bastardization of pretty much everything that went into the mix, in Europe. The idea of a marching band - the squarest of square cultural inventions - being re-purposed into a vehicle of noisy funk is decidedly non-European. And while it's noisy it's also powerful - it's quite easy to see the attraction of weaponizing it for the gay clubs, and from there it's just a question of a good trendspotter/choreographer before it merges back into the mainstream.
The combined clash of good natured San Fransisco home recording duo with super commercial R&B with gay clubs with college football dance squads with Michael Jackson hits with a band built to play John Philip Sousa is a lovely vignette for 21st century remix-culture.Posted by Claus at October 17, 2009 11:45 AM | TrackBack (0)