It's all about J-Setting. Ryan Lee at Southern Voice explores the history of "J-Setting", the highly-choreographed dance style in the music video for Beyoncé’s "Single Ladies." Darian Aaron is on the same page and profiles the young, black gay choreographer behind the pop superstar.
J-setting is a wildly popular in black gay clubs across the country—especially in Atlanta clubs such as Traxx and Chicago clubs like the Prop House—and can trace its origins back a decade to the famed Jackson State University band’s dance line known as the Prancing J-Settes. The lead-and-mimic routine—actually an interpretation of Bob Fosse's style in All That Jazz and Chicago—has been adopted by black gay youth across the country. Laterance White discovered J-Setting when he moved from New York City to Atlanta. After "about nine months of mastering various routines," White began serving the children at the club. White says the style allows him to "slightly express his feminine side and also ignites his competitive nature. 'The adrenaline I get from the crowd is pure love,' White says. 'It’s powerful and it’s a great feeling.' "
Darian Aaron profiles Jaquel Knight, the 19-year-old choreographer behind "Single Ladies" and "I am Sasha Fierce."
"If Madonna introduced the masses to voguing then Jaquel and Beyoncé are introducing pop culture to J-setting," Darian notes, adding that "Jaquel's amazing choreography, the dancers, and the strangely familiar concept for the video has been the subject of online adulation and gossip since it's release." That is a reference to the fierce speculation surrounding the sexuality and biology of one of the backup dancers.
Anyone who reads this blog has probably guessed we're not the biggest Beyoncé fans. But there is no denying her iconic status among black gay youth. You also have to give her credit for hiring the children to choreograph her videos, and, the speculation surrounding her dancer. But it's still kind of meta... Beyoncé and her dancers mimic black gay youth ... who mimic women .... who mimic ...