I have no idea who taped this video, but when it came across my timeline this evening, I was floored. Mind you, I don’t do a whole lot of writing about the White House, but this is Washington, so I will. To be clear, I have no idea what this party is about or for, and I don’t care. Let’s break this down.
First off, note the vertical alignment of the video. This is always a no-no if it can be helped. In this case, it appears it can. Nobody watches videos on vertically aligned devices, so it just doesn’t make sense to shoot that way. But preferences aside, this video is phenomenal. From the way these short seconds play out, it appears that Kerry has approached Snoop to ask him something. Teresa Heinz makes a quick cameo, as the cameraperson clearly knew that getting her in the shot would add to the credibility. After Snoop and Kerry mention a name, somewhat inaudibly, Kerry says “He invented your whole thing.” Snoop replies, “He invented hip-hop, that’s why it only makes sense!” More on this later.
Because after that quick exchange, the magic happens.
Following the pleasantries, John Kerry, THE UNITED STATES SECRETARY OF STATE, extends his hand to execute a decidedly old-school, but still relatively widely used form of dap known as ‘giving one a pound.’ This particular detail is important for two reasons. One, as the person who initiates the pound, you are responsible for its respectable completion. Meaning, you don’t just put out a fist mid-air to someone whom you don’t believe will likely understand what you’re doing within 1-1.5 seconds. Cause that’s when things get majorly awkward.
I wouldn’t have blamed Snoop if he didn’t immediately think “John Kerry is giving me a pound” and hung him out to dry, because I don’t think anyone in the history of the world has ever thought, “I think John Kerry is giving me a pound.” Alas, Snoop was with it, and also delivered a veteran move of his own. Instead of getting too involved, he basically let Kerry do the work.
The second reason Kerry’s initiative is important is because over the years the pound has been bastardized by various groups adding oddball additions to the mix. Some people like to add an extra third fist bump to the primary one-two. That is an amateur move. That post-hit is the progenitor of blowing up the fist bump, the all-time lamest brodog greeting ever. So, good work for Kerry for not going that route. His approach struck me as one of a man who knows what he’s doing. To be clear, the best pounds are executed when neither party has to actually look at the other’s hands, and it just happens. That’s what I like to call ‘peak poundness.’
But then comes the showstopper. Following the 9.7 level pound the two have just gotten done with, Kerry actually informs Snoop Dogg, a legendary musician, that in fact, he gives a good pound. More precisely, he points at Snoop and says ‘You gave me a good pound!” Um, what? In that scenario, since when is the politician the one deciding who’s dapping up the other correctly? Am I in bizarro world? I think maybe I am, because the next thing that happens is amazing, too.
Snoop actually seems excited about this! He does this little ‘shadowboxing-jokey-but-I’m-actually-really-happy’ dance and just laughs while saying “Kerry.”
I still can’t believe what I just saw. And I still want to know who they were talking about.
Update: According to the Huffington Post, the two were discussing Herbie Hancock at an event earlier this month for the 2013 Kennedy Center honorees. No matter. This is how I’ll always remember John Kerry, no doubt about it.