Chicken Noodle Soup -- by Kendra Desrosiers, September 2006
All too often history turns its ugly head and repeats itself. One hundred some odd years ago, White Americans entertained themselves by putting on minstrel shows.
This minstrel show consisted of African Americans with black painted faces and white and red clown mouths, where they would dance around and perform skits that made African Americans come off as uneducated, absent minded and lacking any form of common sense. The minstrel show became a widespread form of entertainment and has returned today in an unsuspecting form. While many of today's top rap artists can be comparable to minstrel show characters due to their exploitation of Black and Latino culture, I would like to instead direct your attention specifically to the dance moves found in some of the latest radio hits.
Radio heads have found themselves doing everything from snapping and jocking to leaning and walking as dance related tracks continue to stream on radio stations across the country. While said dances may seem harmless, the most recent and popular dance craze, Chicken Noodle Soup, has had critics raising their eyebrows to its origins. The Chicken Noodle Soup dance includes footwork similar to waddling which coincidentally, is how Blacks were portrayed during minstrel shows, "waddling fools" who danced because they were too simpleminded to accomplish anything of substance. Why the topic of Chicken Noodle Soup became a dance or even a song is oblivious to most but the history behind the moves is much more subtle. While such dances don't need to necessarily be condemned, the Hip Hop community however, shouldn't conform to a new dance craze simply because a rapper mentioned it in his or her music.
Never allow the media to tell you what you should like, tell the media what you like and they will hopefully, adhere to it. I can't stress enough how insulting it was when BET announced it chose to ban artists such as Little Brother and A Tribe Called Quest because their music was "too intelligent" for its viewers. That was as if too say the Black community lacked the ability to be socially conscious. It would be unfair to say that the Hip Hop community generally does not favor "conscious" music if media outlets such as BET refuse to air the videos. The viewers are subliminally being directed towards liking a certain type of music and until viewers are given a choice, artists like NaS cannot deem Hip Hop dead. Hip Hop is not dead; its possibilities have yet to be revealed.