One of slavery’s many pernicious effects was the suppression of African cultural traditions. In the following video, dancer and choreographer Camille A. Brown discusses the history and importance of social dance in Black America.
This TED talk has also been adapted into a TED-Ed lesson, which you can use to include this topic in classroom settings! Brown is also the creator of Black Girl: Linguistic Play, a phenomenal dance performance that incorporates playground rituals and dance into a meditation on Black girlhood (check out the highlight reel below!).
We also suggest reading this essay by Tressie McMilan Cottom, When Your (Black) Body is a (White) Wonderland, which discusses the dark side of dancing in Black America: the appropriation of Black bodies, as epitomized a few years ago by Mylie Cyrus’ performance at the VMAs.
This sort of hypersexualization isn’t new: this piece on Jean-Paul Goode’s photography discusses how these themes repeat over a longer time-scale too.