On Saturday, June 18, singer-songwriter and actor Justin Timberlake's dance to Beat Ya Feet went viral and received many mocking comments online. The video originated from Timberlake's performance at the Something in the Water music festival in Washington, D.C.
The singer's take on the popular step from the DMV (District of Columbia, Maryland, Virginia) in Washington D.C. surprised fans, some of whom decided to mock the artist. A Twitter user compared Timberlake to a "Dad at the barbecue," presumably referring to old men who dance at social events.
This music festival was situated at Washington D.C.'s Independence Avenue and lasted for two days, June 17 and June 19. The roster of artists who performed at the event included Pharrell Williams, Anderson.Paak, Ozuna, TI, Tyler the Creator, Post Malone, J Balvin, Denzel Curry, Swae Lee, and Omar Apollo. However, Timberlake's dance was the most viral moment of the event.
Reaction to Justin Timberlake's take on Washington DC's uber-popular Beat Ya Feet dance
In a viral video from the concert, Justin Timberlake can be seen in a half-sleeved shirt and khakis, which sparked many humorous responses from viewers online. A legion of tweets compared Timberlake to an awkward dad.
Other responses expressed the hilariousness of his "dad moves." A few tweets also joked about how Janet Jackson faced an embarrassing situation because of Justin Timberlake. This was a reference to Timberlake's involvement in the 2004 Super Bowl halftime show controversy, which also featured Jackson.
Meanwhile, a clip of Timberlake's dance on other platforms like TikTok also sparked many hilarious comments aimed at The Social Network star.
What is the origin of the Beat Ya Feet dance that Justin Timberlake performed in Washington D.C.?
Beat Ya Feet originated in Washington D.C. during the Go-Go music scene from the 1960s to 1970s. The music was brought forth by African-American artists at the time. It became synonymous with the musical culture of Washington DC.
According to WUSA9's interview with John Pearson (also known as Crazy Legz), the dance form was popularized amid the advent of the internet during the late 1990s and early 2000s. The dancer also states that the origin of the dance step lies in another form called "hee-haw." The latter form of dancing was also popularized with the influence of the Go-Go musical subgenre of funk.
Pearson told WUSA9:
"It became the staple dance of Washington, D.C., especially within the inner city."
Following the recent boost in popularity of the dance style, in 2021, Beat Ya Feet Academy was established to teach the dance style to local children in Washington DC. This dance academy describes Beat Ya Feet as:
"...an art form of dance that originated in Washington, DC and is performed mostly to Go-Go music, a rhythmic, percussion-dependent style of music (mostly played by local District bands). Beat Ya Feet has evolved over time through the creativity of D.C.'s local talent."
While Justin Timberlake is being trolled for his attempt at the Beat Ya Feet dance, it is certain that the Washington D.C.-based dance style received a boost in popularity following his performance.