#1003. Clarence Clemons Clapping

Editors note: Gear up for a flurry of new entries tomorrow and this week.

Black people are big fans of dancing, with many people believing Black people to be the personification of dancers. Quite often, Black people use white people as the punch line of their jokes, saying derisively to fellow Black people who can’t dance: “You dance like a white girl/boy.”

Media (whether through music, movies, television or other forms of popular culture) shapes the general populations perception of reality and a deliberate move to codify Black as ‘cool’ and ‘hip’ and white as ‘square’ has been an on-going strategy for years.

 The Onion recently satirized the lack of Black nerds in film and television, which only further underscores this point. Steve Urkel and Carlton Banks were on television years ago and nearly forgotten today.

SBPDL found the epitome of uncool recently while watching a Bruce Springsteen music video from the 1980s, Dancing in the Dark. Amid a sea of white people, The Boss danced to one of his top pop hits while saxophonist Clarence Clemons stood around looking like that last party guest still lingering after the party had officially ended.

Doing his best to fit in, Clarence is reduced to being caught on film performing a double-clap maneuver that is captured for the benefit of future generations, much to the chagrin of Black people everywhere.

In that song, Springsteen sings a line that cuts to the core of the message behind SBPDL: You can’t start a fire without a spark.

Lord of the dance Clemons is not, with the double-clap move shockingly not a joke but a page right out of the Minstrel show book.

You can’t start a fire without a spark.

 Stuff Black People Don’t Like includes Clarence Clemons clapping, for the music video to Dancing in the Dark is remembered less for introducing the world to Courtney Cox, but more for the hilarious double-clap move by the lone Black guy at the venue.

The ultimate put-down for a person who lacks a high level of dancing adroitness would be: You look like Clarence Clemons. 

Clemons will always be out-stepped, but never, ever out-clapped.

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