Black Women & Booty Dancing…Why Did It Get a Bad Name?

Just mentioning “booty dancing,” conjures up all sorts of images of half dressed Black  women (or these days non-black) gyrating and grinding up against a man and degrading herself to no end. The image that society, in general,  has of booty dancing is one of the video vixen getting a credit card swiped down her cheeks, while the man stands around like a King in his harem. It seems like booty shaking, twerking, booty clapping and any other type of booty dance is such a taboo in society that some people don’t even want to acknowledge it as a valid type of movement or dance?..

We all know the stereotype that Black women are more likely to have rounder booties. There may be some truth in this stereotype, although this stereotype is obviously not true for everyone. As a Black woman who has always had a protruding booty, no matter how much weight I lose or gain, I feel I should speak in defense of booty dancing.

I have always struggled with my body image. It took me years to accept my natural body shape. As a Black girl in a predominately white school, I always felt like I was not pretty compared to my white classmates. Most of them were straight up and down thin with long silky hair. I, on the other hand, was a short girl with short kinky hair, brown skin and a big booty. I sincerely believed that if I dieted and worked out, my butt would get flat like my classmates and I wouldn’t stand out as much. I remember getting a lead role in the school musical and we had to wear a lavendar top and these black capri pants in one scene. Whenever I was on stage I was thinking about how I looked. It was my moment to shine and all I could think about was how big my booty probably looked with the lights shinning on me in those capris. When I joined weight watchers and lost 32 pounds, my stomach got flatter and my face and arms thinner, but my booty was still round and protruding. It took me years before I finally realized that I was built differently and that my body shape was actually not that uncommon for many Black women.

There are many black women who are built very similar to myself and they’re in GREAT SHAPE. Just LOOK at Serena Williams, Anika Noni Rose and Angela Bassett!

Which brings me to booty dancing…

Moving your hips, buttocks and gluts in a rhythmic way is actually very difficult. Not everyone can do it, additionally to get the full affect, you need to have a booty that protrudes out somewhat.

When I see Black women booty dancing, (in a non-degrading manner) I enjoy it because it reminds me that to many people, my body shape is a thing of beauty. For years I thought of myself as abnormal and fat just because of my body shape, but when I see traditional booty dancing, I recognize that my shape is actually a normal body type and that many women (particularly Black women) have it and it’s okay.

It’s okay to look the way I do.

Booty Dancing is a traditional dance, which originated in Africa. I’ve seen many different types of traditional African dances that involve booty dancing and guess what…it’s very beautiful, it’s not degrading at all. The women are dancing beautifully, shaking their booty and often wear waist beads…I LOVE IT!

I’ve  realized that the Booty Dancing that we see  in the west, is a corrupt version of the type of Booty Dancing that originated in Africa. So, it is not booty dancing ITSELF that is degrading, it’s the manner in which people choose to use booty dancing that makes it degrading.

Let’s be honest there’s quite a difference between having fun and just booty dancing while fully dressed and booty dancing in a thong with a man swiping a credit card down your azz. Big Difference. I believe that the only reason Booty Dancing has gotten a bad name is because it originated in Africa and it’s something that generally only Black women do. Not to mention, has anyone ever noticed that on the rare occasion that a non-black woman booty dances, people think it’s sexy, but when a Black woman does it…it’s trashy and ghetto…?

Very few people get up in arms when you talk about belly dancing, even though it involves moving the pelvis, hips and stomach in a suggestive way, but many people get offended when you mention booty dancing. Both CAN be just as suggestive as the other, but for some reason Booty dancing isn’t accepted, even though it’s been a part of traditional cultures all around the African continent for many years.

Since I’ve learned more about the history of Booty dancing and Black women’s sexuality, I’ve actually started booty dancing MORE. I do it in my room, I put on my waist beads and I just let loose so to speak. I dance the way I want to, I don’t film it or anything, but I enjoy doing it. If I was ever in a situation where I needed to booty dance, I would do it, as long as I was fully dressed and not doing it in a degrading manner. I won’t have a man standing over me when I do it, I won’t have someone slap or swipe a credit card down my azz, but just doing it for fun…what’s wrong with that?

I say, if it’s okay for other women to belly dance, then booty dancing should be no different. As long as you’re comfortable and you’re not degrading yourself, I feel there’s nothing wrong it.

If you can do it, go ahead, don’t be ashamed! DO YOU! AND BE PROUD of Your Body, It’s a thing of Beauty!

What do you all think about Booty Dancing?

Below are some videos of TRADITIONAL & BEAUTIFUL Booty Dancing:

Video- Congolese Soukous Dancers Booty Shaking/Dancing

Dutty Wine Booty Dance-


Black Women & Booty Dancing…Why Did It Get a Bad Name?

21 thoughts on “Black Women & Booty Dancing…Why Did It Get a Bad Name?

  1. Jules says:

    That Chantal is a performer extraordinaire. All blakc ppl throughout thw wrold have their own interpretation of the booty dancing. from the wine up soca, reggae, zouk, samba and the African style. It must be something in our blood that no matter where we are, we still do booty dancing. Honestly, I appreciate all styles.


  2. Jenny says:

    I am African, I believe that as a Black woman one should master waist twisting or booty dance; whatever you call it. It is a must! And we are taught and practice it since childhood, when playing with our fellow sisters. And in our society once you get a man for marriage you are fully taught of all that in private to help you learn and master it fully on how to do that in marriage. I believe all men and women regardless of race like our booty twist and dancing no matter how hard they try to say negative words at it, actually that shows how much they try to fight the fact that they like it and would love their women to do it too but they just cant.


  3. Interesting post.

    As you stated, there is no difference between so-called “belly-dancing” and booty-dancing. Both are traditional on the African continent.

    Belly-dancing styles and origins differ, from the gypsy dancers of the Ghawazee, to the more refined dancing of the Almeh.

    Southern African, Western African and Central African hip-undulating dancing (as I like to call it), varies across the Mother Continent.

    It is when it is degraded and defiled (Nelly “Tip Drill”) that a malicious image is sent round the world that denigrates an enjoyable, relaxing, and even spirit-lifting dance form.

    Dancing, that many generations and centuries later, still survives even in Mother Africa’s Diaspora descendants.



  4. joanne says:

    In the Caribbean we call ‘booty dancing’ – ‘wining’ (why-ning). The dance started amongst the freed Africans who were celebrating the various Carnivals after the abolition of slavery. It is indigenous to Africa and Africans and spread over the diaspora in the New World.
    This is our form of dance and we don’t need to apologise for it.


  5. bigvinamac says:

    i’ve taken african dance class and we have done booty dancing before. i don’t see why booty shaking is looked as such a bad thing. i’ve done it before and never degraded myself. people need to realize that it is just dancing, as long as it’s not overboard. when i think of booty dancing, beyonce immediately pops up because i know she gets bashed for doing that.


  6. Peanut, Like you I see nothing wrong with traditional ways African peoples dance (which usually includes lots of twisting, shaking) b/c its in our blood to move our bodies freely with the rhythm. Frankly, i think people who give it a bad name are haters who can’t do it.

    Now I am not saying that some booty shaking in current pop culture has not gone overboard and can be really vulgar in some instances, but in its traditional non vulgar form its just another way African people express ourselves through movement and rhythm.


  7. B. R. says:

    great thread, Peanut,Im a big fan of booty dancing, down here in Brazil, they have it down to a fine sensual art…Tip Drill doesnt look bad to me…that is just my opinion

    I think the concepts for moving the whole body with emphasis on pelvic thrusts and shuffle steps , co ordinated with pollyrhythmic duple triple meter, was a gift from ancient Africa, and actualy touches on very deep implications of intuition and mind and body release…it is a healthy thing , its sexual religious represion that has made it something looked down on…enjoy your dancing Peanut


  8. SoilaK says:

    Great article proudchocolategirl! I am an Kenyan lady residing in Europe & booty dancing is very popular & Whites copying the style get positive comments but African women who choose to are called whores & yet it’s part of our culture. We need to own & embrace our beautiful bodies, nothing to be ashamed of! In Kenya & Tanzania booty dancing is called Chakacha check out this video & have fun dancing!


  9. MandumeYaNdemufayoPatriot says:

    “I believe that the only reason Booty Dancing has gotten a bad name is because it originated in Africa and it’s something that generally only Black women do.”

    Everyone does it, that’s why it’s not objectified in the same manner in Africa compared to the “west”. (I do know that you highlighted “generally” hehe) .
    I remember reading about how there was this huge uproar about mapouka (I guess it was in the Ivory Coast, but I’m not entirely sure) , not because it was overtly sexual (by african standards of course) , but because men were excluded! Which is kind of funny & interesting at the same time.

    The way I see it is that due to our rythms and styles of music, it’s generally very difficult not to wriggle your hips and behind when you dance (there are obviously some exceptions. Many people have different styles of dancing for different occasions) . It’s just who we are. This has unfortunately been corrupted by people who don’t know our culture at all (and thus becoming a form of cultural appropriation) , and it has turned into a gimmick, which is sad.


  10. What a beautifully well written and inspirational article!🙂
    I am so glad it got passed on to me🙂

    This was my favourite bit (apart from the videos)

    “Very few people get up in arms when you talk about belly dancing, even though it involves moving the pelvis, hips and stomach in a suggestive way, but many people get offended when you mention booty dancing. Both CAN be just as suggestive as the other, but for some reason Booty dancing isn’t accepted, even though it’s been a part of traditional cultures all around the African continent for many years.”

    Truth! Afro pride🙂 Let’s all keep dancing into the sun! :p

    More of the same sentiment:


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