I have been misinformed. Previously it was considered settled fact here at Spinster HQ that twerking was an appropriation of an American lap dance move. However, it has come to my attention, via PRI’s The World, that the twerk is in fact an appropriation of a banned-for-being-too-sexy dance move from Ivory Coast, where it is called the “mapouka.” “Mapouka” apparently translates as “butt dance,” a contingency over which I am fairly verklempt. It is itself the appropriation of an older traditional ceremonial dance. But the story of twerking just gets better:
[T]here was a twerking song that preceded the mapouka. It was recorded in Congo when it was still Zaire. The dance was the kwassa-kwassa. When it came out, it was so shocking that onlookers would ask in French, “what is that?” or C’est quoi ça? And thus was born the kwassa-kwassa.
The video is by Les Tueuses du Mapouka, or “Mapouka killer-ladies”. Unfortunately, I cannot get behind this video. Although it documents some pretty world-class butt-dancing, like all graphic representations of women in any media anywhere, it does so from the Male Gaze point of view. It’s got those lo-fi, porny crotch-zooms, and you never once see the dancers’ faces. That goddam Male Gaze is deadly. Through its relentless enpornulational entitlement, it has ruined the butt-dance for everyone.