The origin of the popular dance called the “Renegade” was virtually unknown until now. According to The New York Times, 14-year-old dancer Jalaiah Harmon from the suburban area of Fayetteville, Georgia, created the viral dance.
Jalaiah is a dancer that takes professional classes in ballet, jazz, hip-hop, lyrical, tumbling, and tap at a dance studio in Atlanta. In her free time, she is creating a career online, studies viral dances, collaborates with her peers, and creates original choreography to post online.
One of Jalaiah’s choreographed dances became wildly popular and has made a major viral impact. Even celebrities like Lizzo, and A Rod have performed the “Renegade” dance.
The dance became viral after a popular TikTok personality with over 26 Million followers named Charli D’Amelio posted the dance on the app. The unfortunate part for Jalaiah was that she was not credited. Jalaiah told The New York Times, “I was happy when I saw my dance all over, but I wanted credit for it.”
Although the TikTok app has only been around for about a year and a half, it has become the most popular app for viral dances.
What some fail to realize is that these dances are often created by young black talent on smaller platforms like Dubsmash, Funimate, Triller, and Likee. These dance creators are called “Dubsmashers”. They create dances to the songs they love, and then it is copied by users on TikTok with usually no credit given.
“TikTok is like a mainstream Dubsmash,”Kayla Nicole Jones, an 18-year-old well known YouTube personality and artist, told the NY Times. “They take from Dubsmash, and they run off with the sauce.”
Rapper, songwriter and producer Polow Da Don, said, “Dubsmash catches things at the roots when they’re culturally relevant. TikTok is the suburban kids that take things on when it’s already the style and bring it to their community.”
On September 25, 2019, Jalaiah created the choreography for Renegade. She posted the choreographed dance moves with her friend Kaliyah Davis using the chorus of Atlanta rapper K-Camp’s single “Lottery” to the Funimate app. She then posted the video to Instagram, where she had 20,000 plus followers at the time. On Instagram, her post received almost 13,000 views. This is when her video started spreading like wildfire. When TikToker Charli D’Amelio posted her version of the dance, Renegade became popularized.
Although she wasn’t given credit by Charli D’Amelio, Jalaiah doesn’t have any hard feelings towards her and hopes to collaborate with her one day. Charli D’Amelio’s Publicist released a statement where Charli expressed that she would love to collaborate with Jalaiah as well and will give her the credit she deserves for Renegade.