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Old School Friday: Why I Hate The Cha Cha Slide

16 October 2009 10 Comments

One of my New Year’s resolutions was to spend as little time as possible telling people what I don’t like or care about. Critique is one thing, but just moaning about how wack stuff is gets lame so fast and is certainly a waste of time. It’s unfortunate then, that I didn’t choose this week’s theme, “Songs I Can’t Deal With,” because then I wouldn’t have to tell you how infuriated the “Cha Cha Slide,” always makes me.

While technically not old school, the Cha Cha slide was invented in 1996 by Chicago’s DJ Casper. According to my inside sources at Wikipedia he created the song for Bally Total Fitness. Bally’s? An organization that, after a three year billing debacle, I can say without reservation that I despise? I was tricked into a long term contract at their dirty, sweaty chain of gyms and even reported them to the Better Business Bureau in the end. It SO figures. There’s strike one for the “Cha Cha Slide.”

You know what I can’t stand? How McDonald’s commercials always make it look like people have an inescapable passion for the greasy artificial fast food they’re about to devour. Sure you can crave fast food and for kids there’s nothing as exciting as a Happy Meal, but it irks me to no end when these ads make Mickey D’s look like a way of life or a big family event when it’s really the most “whatever” meal option available. And I don’t care who you are, if your child brings a boom box to the dinner table with which to coordinate his apple snack dunking you’d better send him to Outward Bound or some other special program that will whip him into shape. This commercial is strike 2 for the “Cha Cha Slide.”

The misanthrope in me hates when anything is accessible to everyone. I mean, voting rights, sure. Health care, definitely. But dances? No, no, NO. The Cupid Shuffle, The Electric Slide, hell, even The Urkel and The Bartman – no one should be allowed to just join in and have fun regardless of rhythmic abilities. When songs have instructions on how to do the accompanying dance, they are not only bad for society but they just generally piss me off. The line dance format is the third and final strike, so here’s the dreaded “Cha Cha Slide.” I can’t even watch it all the way through.

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  • Treina said:

    lmao! Awww, Thembi! I can’t believe it, but I’m going to have to disagree with you on this one. I love the cha-cha slide, if only because I was first introduced to it at a family reunion in Chicago…and it was so inclusive that it got my 80-something year old Grandma up and dancing. I haven’t laughed so hard since. Anything that has such a good memory attached to it is hard for me to hate.

    That said, your commentary is hilarious. Love the blog, as always.

  • Kyle said:

    Misanthropy is essential for a good blog. I completely agree.

  • PPR_Scribe said:

    no one should be allowed to just join in and have fun regardless of rhythmic abilities


    I am particularly starting to dislike these instruction-lyricked line dance songs now that *I* am getting to the age where the younger folk are on the sidelines laughing at my attempts to kick slide to the left turn around bend down touch the ground.

    Happy OSF and have a great weekend.

  • Josey said:

    Re: McD commercial – who’s kid is that supposed to be? It’s like some random mixed race poltergeist disrupted the family dinner for a little dipping sauce hijinx. Are we supposed to think he is the biological off-spring of those two adults? Of course, he could be adopted or just have really recessive genes, or maybe he’s the stepson of one of the parents and has one Nordic biological parent who is not present – or perhaps he’s a neighbor. Maybe he’s a cousin of the wife’s like Oliver on The Brady Bunch or a street foundling ala Leo DeCaprio on Growing Pains… the possibilities are endless but honestly, I believe the true explanation is the perplexing tendancy casting directors have for choosing children who don’t at all look like they could be the biological off-spring of two black parents.

  • Dara said:

    im mad that you even have to explain yourself here! this is right along the same lines as the chicken dance and macarana, except it happens to be black folk. which makes it that much more infuriating! horrible! the dj at my wedding had specific instructions to leave that mp3 at home!

  • regina said:

    ROFLMBO!!! Not the Cha Cha Slide!! I have a love / hate relationship with this dance. It is fun to do and fun to watch ESPECIALLY when drunk but I do hate a dance that becomes less dance and more workout! The hop 1 time is cool, but if I hopped 5 damn times my knee would rupture and my boobs would pop up and knock me the hell out!!
    I also hate the reverse because people ALWAYS screwed that part up, and lastly the charlie brown part was just stupid! After you do this dance you are done dancing for the night!
    By the way I always hated that commercial, but the father is funny!

  • CCGroovy said:


    FEELING U on this one.

    HAPPY OSF!!!

  • Tawney said:

    You really hit the nail on the head with the accessibility argument! I think that’s why I personally have always disliked the electric slide and its cousins. Unfortunately, I have to admit to having loved that McDonald’s commercial when it first came out. But I’ve also always been disturbed that no one at McD’s caught the fact that the first “right foot two stomps” was done with the left hand’s apple dipper…

    But speaking of the dreaded line dance format, have you SEEN the one to “They Don’t Really Care About Us”? I’ve hated it since last year even before MJJ passed away…

    I love your blog!!

  • Bourgie, JD said:

    Aw Thembs… I cannot cosign. I do enjoy the Cha Cha AND the Cupid Shuffle. I guess I blame the time I spent in college and living down south. I have seen a lot of people have fun doing it and you know what, I do too. I’ve even done the Cupid Shuffle with a room full of Japanese people in Tokyo. Awesome. Especially when you put your own little touches in it? Sheeeeeit.

    Judge me. I don’t care, I’m too busy seeing how low I can go then bringing it to the top (like I never ever stop)! LOL

  • jazzfan360 said:

    I generally despise line dances and agree that “The Cha-Cha Slide” is horrible and a blight on humankind. And what the f*ck is the Charlie Brown? The thing I hate MOST about that song is whenever they hit that part, look around the room and you’re guaranteed to see at least six different moves being done for that portion.

    There was a period of my life when I was engaged to a white girl and at her family’s Christmas party her mother made (yes, MADE) 35 people do the Cha-Cha Slide in the basement so she could videotape it, and thought it was just the greatest thing ever. Of course, when I, the lone negro, protested a line dance, nobody took me seriously. What a damned hideous song.

    …Though I will say for some reason I loooove the Cupid Shuffle and will do it anywhere, anytime, and have literally dropped dishes, thrown books, and run away from dates to hit the floor when that song’s come on. I’ve also an affinity for the Whiskey Dance (do other cities have that one?). I feel like it’d be nice to know this Billie Jean one I see folks doin but I swear to god there are like 19 steps, and that’s just way too much choreography.

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