To Twerk, or Twerking is a phenomenal. If you are unaware of this new dance crazy, which I believe should be part of the 2016 Olympics, you should check it out on Youtube, FAST! Merriam-Webster is yet to give it an official definition; however, our favourite online dictionary for all things colloquial has. Urban Dictionary’s most colourful definition is: “The rhythmic gyrating of the lower fleshy extremities in a lascivious manner with the intent to elicit sexual arousal or laughter in ones intended audience”
The exact origins of this dance form have not been publicized. Some would state that it originated in New Orleans, Louisiana; others claim it is a strip club subculture from the USA. I would argue that the first time I saw someone “twerk” was in Koffi Olomide’s “Loi” music video.
The dance gained popularity after the Twerk Team – two young ladies in Atlanta, Georgia, namely Miz Twerksum and Lady Luscious – started posting videos of themselves twerking to various songs on Youtube. With that, there has been a barrage of “Twerk Anthems” such as Waka Flocka Flame’s “Round of Applause”, French Montana’s “Pop That”, and more recently Juicy J’s “Bands A Make Her Dance.”
Thanks to the videos and songs, twerking has reached our part of the world, with both sexes fascinated – for different reasons – by the new trend. It was not long before South Africans had their own Twerk Team. Six young ladies, Queen Twerk, Miss J, Terry Berry, Sweet Ass Koki, LadyKim, and A$$ Plicid, collectively known as the Protwerkers. The ladies gained major notoriety in early February, when they opened for one of the world’s hottest hip hop stars, Kanye West, in Johannesburg.
Pride Magazine meet the Protwerkers when they were in Bloemfontien for the “Bachelor(rette) Party” hosted by Reves Entertainment on the 22nd of March, 2013 on the Stanville Hotel rooftop.
The Protwerkers were seated in their hotel room before their scheduled appearance. We had a very casual conversations and spoke about how the group was formed. Miss J explained that Queen Twerk came up with putting the group together. They are all friends, two of them being cousins, but the unifying factor was their assets. They agreed that they were selected because of their shapely posterior.
The girls did get upset at the backlash they receive from people criticizing their dance form. A$$ Plicid stated that people twerk in Jamaica, and other places, and yet, when it is in South Africa they “hate.” The question they dislike the most, “What do your parents think about you twerking” Their response: “Some of you dance even worse at the clubs, then come and criticize us.” They also want it to be known that twerking is not their only profession. They all have jobs outside of Protwerkers, like Miss J works at a gym, and they are using the Protwerkers as a stepping stone to other ventures within the entertainment industry.
The event itself was an enjoyable night, with a purely hip hop set. People mingled on the Stanville Rooftop, and thankfully the weather gods gave us a cool evening. Bloemfontien looked mighty pretty from the rooftop view. The first few hours were meant to let you soak in the music, the people and the atmosphere. The DJ was late to arrive, so Reves made due with a preselected playlist. The attendees were more than content with the feel of the night, and happily conversed with each other. When the DJ finally arrived, however, the mood changed, people had a new sense of hype, and were dancing in pockets around the venue – some of it initiated by the MCs for the evening who tormented female patrons to twerk in anticipation for the main show.
As expected, the highlight of the evening was the Protwerkers performances. Cameras flashed at every instance, and the boys almost started crying at what was in front of them. Admittedly, I even had to sit on the floor at one stage because I did not know what the appropriate reaction was to what I had just seen. Even after the performance, people still gathered in front of the performance area, unable to move, discussing what they just saw – it was short of catharsis.
Besides the Protwerkers, our interest in this event are the ladies behind Reves Entertainment, two ladies, Basotho in origin, who are based in Bloemfontein, Boreng “Bonnie” Maharaswa and Mamaitse “Chichi” Moloi. So we sent them these questions about Reves Entertainment, and the “Bachelor(ette) Party”:
Who is Reves Entertainment and how did it begin?
Boreng and Mamaitse: Reves, which means “Dreams” in French, is currently an entertainment company, as opposed to an events company, because we would like to be and do more than events. Reves is pretty much the beginning of our dreams. We started it because we have a vision and common desire for our lives and love the [Entertainment] industry. Since Bloemfontein’s live entertainment industry isn’t much to write home about, especially for the youth, we wanted to change people’s perspective of it with Reves. We were ambitious (and frustrated) enough to get up and start something. We already wanted to jump into major concerts but learned the hard way that the best and simplest way to get longevity for the company was to start small.
Can you tell me a little bit about the concept for inviting the Protwerkers, how did it come about and what was your objective?
Boreng: As you might have heard or seen, Kanye West was in South Africa and we went – we can call it research, haha – and realised that for the most part, people were very agitated and impatient with the opening acts until the Protwerkers came on and performed. The response was amazing. We had initially wanted to go bigger [For the first event] but a personal friend advised us otherwise, especially with our resources and it being our first event. So after a brainstorming session, the Protwerkers came out as what we needed for our target market, brand and first event, as the hype around them would result in hype around us and our parties and events.
What was your experience putting an event like this together? Can you delve into the step by step planning a little bit?
Boreng: The experience was more than crazy. The first and most important step, as one would assume, is getting the funds for this to happen. One needs trust, a relationship, and some success behind their name in order for someone to trust you with their money, and we thank SABMiller for being the ones to take the risk to sponsor us, which was appreciated and mutually beneficial. Once that is done, the rest is pretty much logistical, you have to find, secure, and work with everything and everyone for the night of the event, meaning artists, brands, marketing, and those may be as hard as getting the sponsors. Working with people, especially in this industry, isn’t easy, but we love the feeling of a successful event, it’s all worth it.
What were some of the challenges and more gratifying experiences from it?
Mamaitse: Funding. It’s the main reason why people have plans for a venture like ours but can’t follow through. We had plenty of support from our family and friends, which is one of the gratifications, as well as the feedback from the people that enjoyed the Bachelor(ette) Party. It was positive and has geared us up for the second event.
Boreng: The most gratifying moment, honestly, is seeing a dream become reality, an idea materialise and very close to what we envisioned. The feedback was also amazing.
What is next for Reves Entertainment? Where do you want to see this brand grow to?
Boreng and Mamaitse: Events are our main focus but the main idea is to become a media and entertainment powerhouse. We want to build Reves into a reputable brand so that people can either approach us with their ideas, or when we do our events people will trust that it will throw down. We are also in the process of becoming the managing company/agent for artists in Bloem[fontein] and are excited to add that to our repertoire of success. We’d like the events we do to grow bigger and better, for us to become a loved and trusted brand and company, to provide many types of entertainment to the industry and public as well as establish good working relationships as far as our events may take us.
Photo Credits to Masiu Photography @matt_one