Today I want to talk on the subject of the Harlem Shake and whether it Scriptural or should be in the Church. I have seen plenty of the videos on the Harlem Shake and think it is an abomination as well as a blasphemy to our Lord Jesus Christ.
To say the least, I would like to say that I feel exactly as Pastor Eddie James does & couldn’t have said it any better, so without further ado:
To all parents, pastors, and leaders who have questions about the appropriateness of this video, and have trusted me as a voice of hope, freedom, and truth I want to start by giving my sincere apologizes to you in that this video was not meant to compromise the sacredness of the Gospel of Jesus Christ or the Worship of God. At the time I started working on the EJM Harlem Shake Remix I had limited exposure to Harlem Shake. Some friends of mine and youth I have worked with showed me videos suggesting that I do something similar. I was turned off by the vulgarity of some of the dances I saw in these videos so I did very little to entertain the thought. Later on I was shown a Harlem Shake video of a ministry that I trust. If I said their name everyone would know them. We do songs from their worship all over the world. I saw them do it and I felt that it was safe because they would not knowingly put something like this before people of faith and people not of faith if they knew it would be harmful to the cause of Christ. At this point, no one spoke with me of any controversy surrounding them doing the Harlem Shake Video. When I saw Harlem Shake done by the ministry I respected, the first thought in my mind was this, “what a healthy display of joy and fun among believers”. This is a side of the body of Christ the world doesn’t get to see much. We do not show the world what healthy fun looks like. This sparked a desire to do it inside of me.
Many of you know that I have a youth program that takes in those who were messed up in addiction, gangs, life in the streets, perversion, and various issues of this nature. I am a person of principle and I keep them in prayer, Bible study, and services/events as part of their process and journey to wholeness. We do very little of sports, movies, hanging out, etc… I truly felt this to be a great way to encourage healthy fun and fellowship with young people of faith.
My decision to do the Harlem Shake was sealed when I looked up “Harlem Shake”. This was my only concern. What is the Harlem Shake. My personal research made it clear that what was being called the “Harlem Shake” was not the “Harlem Shake” and there are those from Harlem, NY and those from the 1980’s – 1990’s era who wish they would call this something else. In other words, there’s no specific dance move that is labeled “Harlem Shake” (at least, not today). It’s just a phrase or a title.
Knowing that a trusted ministry did this and that Harlem Shake was not a specific dance move, I went for it. Here’s what I didn’t take into consideration. I didn’t take into consideration the lyrics that are in Spanish. The only words of this song in English is “You can do the Harlem Shake”. I thought, this is harmless and clean. The Harlem Shake can be whatever dance move you determine. There’s no content that is anti-Bible or against Christ (so I thought).
Here are the lyrics in Spanish:
Con los terroristas, Ey Shake, Ey Shake
Ey, Ey, Ey, Ey
Shake, Ta. Ta
And do the Harlem Shake
Ey Shake, Ey
Shake, Shake Ey
Shake, Shake, Shake
Con los terroristas
Ey, Con los terroristas
Here are the Lyrics in English:
With the terrorists Hey Shake, Hey Shake
Hey, Hey, Hey, HeyShake, Ta. Ta
And do the Harlem ShakeShake Hey, Hey
Shake, Shake, Hey Shake, Shake,
Shake With the terrorists
Hey, with terrorists Hey, Hey
I personally can no longer stand by a song that suggests having either fun with terrorists or shake “in fear” by what they do or intend to do to invoke terror. Many Americans and people all over the world have been gravely impacted by terrorists. I have STRONG Convictions about this. I do not support nor allow in my ministry music that conflicts with the principles of God’s word. Music that endorses or promotes drugs, perversion, witchcraft, etc… I am strongly against. The Spanish Lyrics in this song shocked me when I saw it for my self. I thought the Hispanic lyrics were just fun “hype” sounds. Who puts “Harlem Shake” and “Terrorists” in the same song? The writer of this song did. I can not support it as that the acts of terrorism is nothing to joke about.
Having seen this for myself I apologize to all parents, pastors, and leaders for the making and release of this video. I truly thought the song and idea was harmless. I also encourage other Christian believers who do the Harlem Shake to prayerfully consider if this is something that honors God considering the lyrical implications of the song.
Eddie James Ministries: https://www.facebook.com/EJMOfficial
I would like to Thank Pastor Eddie James for this article and Honesty about his thoughts, feelings, & actions on this subject and his Ministries. I Commend you so very highly and would like to say keep up the good work and decisions that impact our youth of today.