This Is Probably My Last Day at The Root Before Janet Jackson Hires Me as a Backup Dancer

 Janet Jackson performs during the 2010 Essence Music Festival at the Louisiana Superdome on July 2, 2010, in New Orleans.
Janet Jackson performs during the 2010 Essence Music Festival at the Louisiana Superdome on July 2, 2010, in New Orleans.
Photo: Sean Gardner (Getty Images)

First, I’d like to apologize to Editor-in-Chief Danielle Belton for lying to her when she interviewed me for this position that it was my dream job. At that point in my life, I thought playing point guard for the Los Angeles Lakers or starting at quarterback for the Dallas Cowboys was a long shot.


More importantly, I was led to believe that my dance career was improbable after my groundbreaking dance “the Sporting Man” never quite took off in the way I had imagined (think of the Running Man but with pantomimed jump shots, bat swings and Heisman poses).

But on Thursday, superstar Janet Jackson announced on Instagram that she will be holding her first open auditions in over a decade, where some lucky fan (probably me) will get to join her on some “really cool upcoming projects.”

The pop star will hold an in-person open call for dancers on Monday, April 23, at Starwest Studios in Burbank, Calif. But by then she will probably have selected me from my Instagram audition and my résumé.

“Jan and I pay attention to what’s happening on social media and we see great dancers with raw talent all the time,” said her creative director Gil Duldulao. “Whether you are a dance troupe or a solo artist, we’ll be checking you out!”

I’m sure he simply forgot to add writers and people named Michael. He was talking directly to me. He’s probably checking me out right now.


While Deputy Managing Editor Yesha Callahan has served as a valuable mentor, she refused to review my résumé, even though she has 15-plus years of human resources experience, calling me “batshit insane,” so I’m wondering if you could help review it for me.

Michael Harriot

Objective: Seeking a position with the J. Tribe that allows me to showcase my dancing skills on a global platform in the most recognizable way possible.


Skills: Pop locking, two-stepping, Cabbage Patching, wopping, Millie Rocking, Harlem shaking, Electric Sliding, Wobbling and various other well-established dance moves.

Relevant education and experience:

  • Watched an episode of So You Think You Can Dance until I thought I could dance
  • Creator of the heralded “Sporting Man” dance
  • Laughed at Stephen A. Smith’s Jabberwocky performance
  • Omega Psi Phi step team and step master
  • Danced with Bonita Newsome to “Bonita Applebum” at the skating rink when I was in the 10th grade
  • Once caught the Holy Ghost
  • Has participated in the backing up of azz more than 5,000 times
  • Numerous visits to “Rhythm Nation”
  • Has actually done something for someone lately
  • Numerous dance seminars and professional workshops at some of Atlanta’s best gentlemen’s clubs (for educational purposes only)


  • My mama
  • Bonita Newsome
  • Roberta the Rump (dancer emerita, Club Shake)
  • Not Yesha Callahan

While Janet Jackson invites anyone to go to for more information, I’m sure that I’m a shoo-in. There’s only one thing that could possibly hold me back:

I’m not that great a dancer.

World-renowned wypipologist. Getter and doer of "it." Never reneged, never will. Last real negus alive.


Not Enough Day Drinking

Hi Michael,

Thank you for taking the time to apply. Unfortunately at this time your skill set doesn’t match what we were looking for. We’re really interested in someone who could Charleston, Sprinkler, and Robot and we don’t feel your cabbage patch and electric slide skills will transfer very well.

We wish you the best of luck in your future endeavors.


J. Tribe