ASIANS *CAN* DANCE
This first one has been making the, "oh my god, have you seen this?" Youtube rounds:
Yes...inmates at the Cebu Provincial Detention and Rehabilitation Center performing..."Thriller." You have to admit...this is very face-melty but what makes it even more surreal is to realize that...it's not just "Thriller." Apparently, the inmates at CPDRC have been trained to perform any variety of video dance routines, including "I Will Follow Him" from...Sister Act(?!)
This raises some interesting questions about prisoner treatment though I suppose learning how to follow choreographed dance routines is a slight improvement above, say, waterboarding. I also wonder if Indian prison officials are looking at this footage and wondering why it didn't occur to them to try out Bollywood dance numbers on their inmates.
Somehow though? I don't see this going over at Pelican Bay or Lompoc. Call me crazy.
Now, this has 1499 fewer people in the mix but somehow, no less impressive:
(Warning: this comes from China's version of Youtube and can load slow...if at all)
It's Shanghai's MC Qiangqiang performing, move for move, the dance steps from MC Hammer's "You Can't Touch This." What's remarkable about this isn't just the whole "move for move" angle...it's hat Qiangqiang's mom is just chilling in the background...knitting through this whole routine.
And again - what's amazing is that this is but one of many dance routines that Qiangqiang kicks off. There's also Hammer's "Let's Get This Started," Michael Jackson's "I Want To Rock With You," and yes, "Thriller."
I think a word of explanation might be useful here: from what I learned from Dana Burton, arguably the first hip-hop historian of China (though Dana hails originally from the D), Hammer is one of the most influential rap acts in China simply because the only way in which hip-hop filtered to the county in pre-internet times was via bootleg CDs. There's no organized record distribution system in China for American music and so bootlegs were how various artists ended up getting exposure in China. Because Hammer - closely followed by Kriss Kross (yes, Kriss Kross) - were so big commercially, their albums were the most likely to make it to the Chinese bootleg market and thus, they became unwitting ambassadors for American hip-hop. This will no doubt leave American rap purists aghast but hey, that's the quirkiness of cultural capital in the transnational market. Just give it a few years...you'll have local Chinese kids doing the "Where's my Killa tape?" skit in no time...