If you’re accessible to anyone under five feet, you likely know about it already. Those of us glued to YouTube have certainly spotted it. But in case you’ve been living under the rock called adulthood, perhaps Nate Robinson doing it during All Star Weekend’s Slam Dunk contest has finally introduced you to the newest dance craze—“The Stanky Legg,” brought to us by the Dallas-based G-Spot Boyz.
So what exactly is the stanky legg, and what’s so cool about smelly limbs? I’m not entirely sure, but I also can’t explain why a chicken is funky, why we were all channeling our inner butterflies back in 1993, or when simply leaning back came to qualify as a dance?
How do you do the stanky legg? Well, it’s kind of hard to say. Let’s see, squat down a little bit, stick out your leg, and move it around as if you’re trying to wake it up from a coma. There you have it. Now go ahead and break it on down.
After you see the dance for yourselves, you’re likely to start barking, “This is stupid!” Yeah, it is, and you know what? I don’t care. It’s the same with every new dance. The newer the dance, the dumber it looks. Yet, the more ridiculous it is, the harder I dance. I should feel embarrassed, but I don’t.
I’m from the South, and silly dances are simply a part of the culture. I'm prepared to join in on The Bunny Hop on command, will Walk Like Ronald at a moment’s notice and would walk it out from Houston to Atlanta if you let me.
I was beginning to think that at 24 I was a little too old for the stanky legg. Then I watched a bunch of my teacher friends—most of whom are not from the South—break into it at a bar. I realized that not only am I allowed to do it, but I had to do it. This thing, I knew in that moment, was going to spread all over the country.
Look around. Chances are you’ll notice people looking foolish, doing this awkward dance in the club, bar and grocery store. Yes, the grocery store, too; I feel dancing in a grocery-store aisle sometimes boosts the shopping experience.
Judging from some of the YouTube comments for the post of the official video, there are many people none too thrilled about the stanky legg’s popularity. Some feel this dance is single-handedly leading to the destruction of black people. OK, so I haven’t a clue what “shake that whoop da dee doo” means, and yes, “booty do” sounds just plain odd. And, no, the stanky legg is not going to boost our collective brain power. But it’s not supposed to. It’s a goofy dance, all in fun. I don't get the big deal. My niece stanky leggs, and she consistently makes the honor roll. I can stanky legg while discussing the conflict in Gaza.
The second I hear my niece speak to me like she forgot she knows how to read, I will tell her to sit her whoop da dee doo down and study. Likewise, if I ever respond to an editor with “Yule,” I will mail my iPod back to my mother and ask her to hold it until I’ve read a book.
As simplistic as the song and dance are, it’s not that far a cry from hit songs of years past. “Shake your booty, your mighty booty, your lovely booty, your pretty booty.” As gifted a songwriter as Michael Jackson is, “Shake Your Body (Down To The Ground)” was not his finest hour lyrically.
Oh, and before you beat me over the head with this point, I agree that radio should embrace music that’s a little more substantive. But, “The Stanky Legg” isn't the problem, lack of balance is. Let some smart, socially conscious rappers come up with good dances, and then people can have options. For now, let the kids—and the rest of us who can’t help ourselves—have some fun.
Now if you'll excuse me, I'm about to go do the stanky legg. After that, I’ll be hitting up YouTube to learn how to do the Ricky Bobby and the Halle Berry.
Michael Arceneaux is a regular contributor to The Root.
Michael Arceneaux hails from Houston, lives in Harlem and praises Beyoncé’s name wherever he goes. Follow him on Twitter.