TikTok users all over the globe are dancing like mad to Lily Allen’s “Smile,” 14 years after its release.
The 2006 breakup anthem is now part of a genuine dance trend after a TikTok user posted his jubilant choreography in response to the recent uptick in “racists getting exposed.” It now has millions of likes and hundreds of thousands of reshares. And, some Twitter users’ whining notwithstanding, the dance is good.
TikTok user zockjat posted his celebratory dance routine set to “Smile” in late June, captioning it, “Me watching all these racists getting exposed.” His choreography embodies pure joy — there’s no other way to describe it. It’s cheerful, unforgiving, and an absolute delight to watch. The song, after all, is about someone facing consequences for their actions. What better way to bring it back to pop culture dominance than to apply it to canceling racists?
In “Smile,” Allen sings about finding joy in a cheating ex’s unhappiness. “At first, when I see you cry, yeah it makes me smile,” she croons. “At worst, I feel bad for a while, but then I just smile, I go ahead and smile.”
Since the Black Lives Matter movement re-inspired a widespread fight against systemic racism after George Floyd’s killing by police in May, public figures have been called out and removed from positions of power. YouTubers Shane Dawson and Jeffree Star have been steadily losing subscribers for their past racist comments. Dozens of company leaders have stepped down after former employees alleged they fostered hostile work environments. High schoolers are using Instagram to expose other students for their racist actions. Polls suggest the latest iteration of Black Lives Matter may be the largest mass movement in U.S. history.
From taking down centuries-old statues of colonizers to speaking out against abusive workplaces, the last six weeks have seen rapid change in the way we think about race in American culture.
With all that as its backdrop, Zockjat’s original video has become wildly popular on TikTok. It currently has over 3.3 million likes and more than 200,000 shares. It has also inspired hundreds of thousands of other users to attempt the dance. Over 133,200 videos on the platform currently use the song. There’s a slew of tutorials on both YouTube and TikTok with breakdowns of Zockjat’s every move. TikTok users have copied it while on a skateboard, using puppets, and in groups.
While the dance gained traction on TikTok, however, a few Allen fans expressed disappointment that her song has become a TikTok trend. Several annoyed Allen fans took to Twitter to complain, voicing their disbelief at the reason the song was so popular again.
“TikTok teens won’t stop until they’ve ruined every song on the planet,” one curmudgeonly Twitter user said. Please click here for video.
Personally, I’m biased because I spent a good 30 minutes of my day trying to learn this impossibly difficult dance, and I do admittedly have a soft spot for defending The Youths. But I’m all here for this dance trend. We need this sort of jubilant energy now more than ever, especially with the rapidly deteriorating state of the pandemic.
While TikTok users have woefully misinterpreted songs with inappropriate choreography before — Addison Rae was heavily criticized for dancing to a song about body image issues while promoting her brand sponsorship with American Eagle — this isn’t the case with “Smile,” a song that touches on deeper issues.
We’ve seen plenty of YouTube apology videos from creators tearfully trying to make amends for their racist behavior. It’s OK to rejoice in folks finally having to face some consequences, even if it’s incredibly late and not nearly enough.
Besides, trying to keep the younger generation from enjoying the music you listened to at their age in their own way is some real elitist Boomer energy. Let us have our joyful dances. There are plenty of terrible internet trends to complain about. This isn’t one of them.
(Copied from Mashable)
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