Photo Credit: @jalaiahshypeman on Instagram
For a while, professional choreographers have battled with having other people take credit for their work, and now this important issue has trickled down into the world of social media. Until recently, no one knew that 14-year-old Jalaiah Harmon, from Fayetteville, Georgia, was the originator of the wildly popular dance ‘Renegade.’ After being overlooked for many months though, Harmon finally got her time in the stoplight when she was invited to perform her dance at the NBA All-Star Game on February 16.
Harmon originally made up the dance ‘Renegade’ in her bedroom and didn’t dream that it would become so widely popular on the Internet. According to Rebecca Jennings of Vox's The Goods , Harmon originally posted a video of ‘Renegade,’ choreographed to Atlanta rapper K CAMP’s ‘Lottery,’ in September 2019. Funimate, which is a social network where users upload short music video clips, was Harmon’s social network of choice when posting the original, and most difficult, version of her dance. Later, she also posted it to her Instagram page which got about 13,000 views.
Then, on October 5, 2019, @global.jones introduced the TikTok community to Harmon's ‘Renegade’ coupled with some additional moves. Soon after, TikTok celebrities such as Charli D’Amelio and Addison Easterling became known for making the dance viral among their millions of fans. Although, when TikTok influencers like D’Amelio received millions of views for posted videos of themselves doing ‘Renegade,’ Harmon was never tagged or credited.
The dance became so popular that celebrities, social media stars, and TikTok users all were performing it without knowing that Harmon created it. Today, the ‘Renegade’ challenge isn’t just popular in the teen community; celebrities such as Lizzo and Alex Rodriguez have posted videos of themselves doing their own versions of the dance.
“I was happy when I saw my dance all over, but I wanted credit for it,” Harmon told the New York Times.
Earlier this month, D’Amelio, Easterling, and other TikTok stars were invited to take part in this year’s NBA All-Star festivities, but Harmon wasn’t lucky enough to score an invite to the event. Following backlash on social media though, Harmon got a special invitation to perform at the actual NBA All-Star Game and recorded herself dancing with D’Amelio and Easterling for Instagram. Thankfully, the world was finally able to identify the right face and name as the originator of the ‘Renegade.’ After being recognized at the game, Harmon even got a shout out from Michelle Obama and was invited on Ellen to perform with tWitch.
Harmon currently trains as a competitive dancer in hip-hop, ballet, lyrical, jazz, tumbling, and tap at Sky Dance Academy near her home in the suburbs of Atlanta. At Sky Dance Academy, members of the competition team are at the studio three to four days per week taking higher-level classes that are focused on technique and choreography.
To see more of Harmon's great dance skills, you can follow her @_.xoxlaii on Instagram and TikTok.