After answering some pretty serious questions about the challenges of being a woman running for president, snapping selfies with Kim Kardashian-West, and name-calling, Clinton couldn’t leave the studio without participating in one of DeGeneres’s impromptu and obligatory dance parties.
And that’s how Hillary Clinton ended up doing “the dab” on daytime TV, prompting countless doomsday headlines (“Hillary Clinton dabbed on ‘Ellen’ and we just want to know why,” “Ellen DeGeneres Taught Hillary Clinton How To Dab, So Dabbing Is Now Dead,” and “Watch Hillary Clinton Set White People Back 100 Years With Cringe”).
Not familiar with the Internet’s latest dance craze? It’s a one-beat wonder. Just a single move. A blink-and-you’ll-miss-it cross between a vogue pose and what any polite person does on a crowded metro when she needs to cough. You tuck your head in the crook of one arm while the other extends out. And that’s the whole “dance.”
The dab — started in Atlanta, popularized by Vine and featured in several end zone celebrations — is what the kids are doing these days. Well, the kids and now a presidential candidate.
Is it really that cringe-inducing? Cheesy? Political pandering? The end of hip hop as we know it? Or is Clinton literally stepping into the latest pop culture craze just another tool in the consummate campaigner’s arsenal?
“Dance has always been a universal language no matter where you go in the world,” said choreographer Fatima Robinson, who most recently worked on ABC’s “The Wiz Live!” “Everybody can understand it and at the end of the day it does make someone like a Hillary Clinton more relatable.” Plus, said Robinson, this trend in particular is nearly impossible to get wrong. Anybody can do it and so everybody can do it, including Clinton.
Margarita Chughtai, executive director of Culture Shock, a non-profit organization that uses hip hop dance as youth outreach, took it an eight-count further. She said “the dab” and dances like it can be used as political strategy.
“The dab is known among hip-hop culture,” said Chughtai. “Hillary could potentially be making an attempt to align herself with that demographic which could result in more votes come election time.” That demo being young African Americans.
Add to that the fact that social media makes it easy to eavesdrop on youth culture — providing a 24-ticker of the latest passwords to temporary coolness. “The way that kids share things with each other and create together,” added Robinson, “eventually other people get wind of it.” But winds have a consistent tendency of changing.
“The dab will be done in a minute and then the next thing will be up,” said Robinson, “I’m sure it already brewing right now.”