THE BLOG

Circle Twerk in the Media: An Open Letter to Teddy Wayne

09/17/2013 12:44 pm ET | Updated Nov 17, 2013

Mr. Wayne,

I start by saying that I have never read any of your work outside of your piece about twerking, and only because the piece flashed through my Twitter timeline. I have to assume that you are a writer of at least some substance to write for a publication like the New York Times. As a writer I aspire to the level of recognition you have clearly achieved. Which is why I can't understand the motive for delving into a subject to which you clearly were not knowledgeable, even as an attempt at satire.

To be clear, I am not writing in defense of twerking. I am not claiming that it has any cultural significance. In my opinion it is a fad that will prove to have the shelf life of planking, Gangnam Style and the Harlem Shake. However, I have watched you and your ilk attempt to ascribe some significance to it, namely by speaking on black culture and making inaccurate, awkward and in some cases offensive, correlations between twerking and black culture.

To wit, "Explain that twerking is a dance move typically associated with lower-income African-American women that involves the rapid gyration of the hips in a fashion that prominently exhibits the elasticity of the gluteal musculature."

Where, sir, are you deriving your information to comment on the socioeconomic nature of the women (and for that matter, men) who twerk? Please enlighten me to the extensive research that justified your coded language posing as edification?

Your piece along with the coverage of other major outlets with regard to Miley Cyrus and twerking continue the legacy of America's ability to simultaneously consume and deride black culture to the extent that fads can be assigned to black America explicitly for that purpose.

Mr. Wayne, your transgression is neither unique or even the most egregious example of black derisiveness that any of us have ever seen. You are however, for me, the straw that broke the camels back. Your piece was the one that turned fatigue into annoyance. If I were bold enough to offer any advice it would be this. In the road of life the lanes can be very wide, but the walls are very hard. Stay in your lane Mr. Wayne. Stay in your lane.