A Stunning Upset, But What Was That Dance? Meet the Nae Nae.

Slate's Culture Blog
March 21 2014 4:53 PM

A Stunning Upset, But What Was That Dance? Meet the Nae Nae.

Kevin Canevari does the Nae Nae.

Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images

On Friday afternoon, Mercer pulled off the biggest upset of the NCAA tournament so far, beating Duke 78-71. After the game, the Bears’ Kevin Canevari—who had already garnered one viral moment, albeit one that was slightly embarrassing—broke out into a boisterous GIF-worthy groove, repeating a series of steps over and over again to the delight of his teammates. Much of the rest of the world, however, was probably wondering what the heck he was doing.

He was doing the Nae Nae, a dance created by Atlanta fivesome We Are Toonz. As Billboard pointed out a couple of months ago, it’s loosely inspired by the character Sheneneh, played in drag by Martin Lawrence on his popular eponymous sitcom from the ’90s. (Like all new dances, the song comes accompanied with a song, “Drop that #NaeNae.")


The dance has since become a national phenomenon, particularly among athletes: You can find plenty of videos of players Nae Nae-ing in the locker room or on the court. Even Dwight Howard has proved unable to resist the joyous dance. Back in January, he appeared in a skit alongside We Are Toonz, enthusiastically joining in on the fun.

Below you’ll find a few more examples of what is likely to become this year’s “Crank That (Soulja Boy)”:

Aisha Harris is a Slate staff writer.



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