New Criticals

In March 2014, the rap video "Hot Nigga" was released on Youtube. The video shows Bobby Shmurda and his entourage in the streets of Flatbush, Brooklyn, rapping and dancing to an anthem about their crew GS9. Shortly after the release of the song, a six-second clip was extracted from the video and broadcast on the social media app Vine. The clip shows Bobby throwing off his hat and commencing a dance characterized by his sloping shoulders and switching hips, which he later coined the "Shmoney dance." The clip went viral, accumulating millions of views within a few months. This made Bobby incredibly visible, if only in a virtual sense—it allowed him to acquire cultural capital while his own agency and political visibility remained the same.

After the release of the vine, the "Shmoney dance" was performed by celebrities including Rihanna, Chris Brown, Drake, Taylor Swift, Justin Bieber, and Megan Fox. The common thread between these celebrities is that they are granted a different set of consequences by hypervisibility. Their lives and careers operate in a fundamental contradiction to Bobby’s. They work in an economy in which they are rewarded for reproducing this gesture (and other Black vernacular gestures) through their own bodies.