BU joins viral “Harlem Shake” video craze

Students recruit 300 people for Tuesday night filming

After thousands of videos flooded YouTube this month featuring wild dances to Baauer’s “Harlem Shake,” Binghamton University students Rob Miles and Gilad Gamliel are organizing students to gather at 9 p.m. today to create their own version of this month’s seemingly biggest web trend.

“My roommate of two years and current housemate … and I were sitting around Friday afternoon and watching a ton of ‘Harlem Shake’ videos,” said Miles, a junior majoring in philosophy, politics and law. “We just thought the videos were ridiculous, fun and generally a good time, so we decided, ‘Let’s put up a Facebook event with “Harlem Shake” in giant capital letters and see what happens.’ All of a sudden the event starts blowing up and we are nearing a 300-person threshold.”

Though they share a name, the “Harlem Shake” videos that went viral this month seem to be their own craze, unaffiliated with the dance made popular in the early 1980’s.

Typically, the new wave of “Harlem Shake” videos begin with one person dancing to the song as it builds, followed by a room — or office, swimming pool, stadium or library — full of people dancing.

The “Harlem Shake” has been recreated by countless others, including several others from BU, but Miles was confident that he and Gamliel could produce a version of the video that could compete with the others out there.

“If even close to 300 people show up, it’s an automatic win,” Miles said. “Just the sheer number of Binghamton kids showing up and having a good time with hysterical moves and costumes is awesome in itself. Plus, who doesn’t want to see a video of kids going crazy and their school getting a little YouTube love?”

Tonight’s “Harlem Shake” video will keep with the common trend of having its participants dressed in random, crazy costumes. Other videos have featured outfits ranging from Big Bird to Star Wars characters — and everywhere in between.

“I’m looking for kids to bring their weirdest costumes and outfits and, when the camera comes on, take it to an unheard of level of ‘Harlem Shake,’” Miles said.

Gamliel said he wasn’t sure what to expect.

“We’re really hoping to just see a huge turnout” said Gamliel, a junior majoring in English. “We know that some of these videos are pretty crazy and ridiculous so we’re recommending people bring costumes and hats. I know a couple of people are bringing hot dog and Batman costumes and we have a pretty decent selection of hats in our house.”

Hannah Kittrell, a sophomore majoring in integrative neuroscience, plans to attend the video shoot in footie pajamas.

“It’s cool how a lot of the student body is coming together for the same random reason,” Kittrell said. “Hopefully it’s funny!”

Lindsay O’Neill-Caffrey, a junior double-majoring in environmental studies and political science, said she just doesn’t understand the “Harlem Shake” video meme.

“This is just another one of those Internet phenomena that is going to serve as a way for older generations to look down on our clearly anti-intellectual obsessions and ambitions,” O’Neill-Caffrey said.