Having grown up in the south all of my life I was exposed to many southern traditions. One of those traditions were the marching bands and football classics of HBCU's(Historically Black Colleges and Universities). I never went to these events to actually watch the football game, I couldn't be bothered, especially when the dancers were in the stands throwing off sequences!
Every Black college marching band has a line of female dancers, at Alabama State University they're called the Stingettes, at Southern University they're called the Dancing Dolls, and at Jackson State University they have the famous J-settes, the latter has inspired an underground spin off of their signature style among Black gay men across the south and mid-west.
These men command the dance floor at clubs and gay pride events all over the country. Last week I felt the urge to go clubbing and I ended up at Club 708 , hands down the most ghetto club that I've ever been to, but I digress.
I've seen the kids J'sette in the club before and my initial reaction was quite negative. As a professionaly trained dancer it makes me want to look away and hurl when I see people on the dance floor looking a hot mess and selling it with confidence.
They take over the floor and it becomes a show that I did not and would never pay to see. During my research on this underground phenomenon I was surprised to learn that there's "J-setting"(is that a word?) teams. These men get together and rehearse and take it to the clubs. Maybe I'm getting old, but who has the time to rehearse routines for the club with no compensation? Will this dance form be to the current generation what vogueing was for the legends?
It annoys me, yet I can't deny that it's entertaining. I'm not in L.A. anymore where hip hop reigned and dancers were freestyling and battling each other all night. I'm in the "Dirty South" and when you go out in Atlanta it's impossible not to hear "Walk Wit It", or some other "crunk" song with a little Beyonce thrown in the mix every now and then.
If you've never seen J'setting before then brace yourself for the clip below. There's also instructional clips available on youtube. Move all of your living room furniture and go at it !