The Miley Cyrus Aftermath: Top American University Makes Twerking A Punishable Offence

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Historically black university Hampton University in Virginia, USA has warned his freshman students about the dangers of twerking and that it was illegal in the school.

Business Insider reports that as Hampton students are in the midst of New Student Orientation, multiple photos posted on social media websites show a slideshow presentation from the school’s Center for Information Technology with three distinct “takeaways”:

  1. Hampton Ladies Do Not Twerk!!!
  2. Hampton Men Do Not Take Twerkers Home To Mother
  3. Employers Do Not Discriminate Between Twerkers And Twerkees

According to, Hampton has banned the dance from the school’s campus and will seek disciplinary action against anyone caught twerking.

“Multiple sources confirmed that [Hampton] gave a lecture to entering Freshman about the ‘Dangers Of Twerking.’ During the lecture they said that students who were caught twerking (presumably on Instagram) could face school penalty,” they report.

One Hampton alumnus defended the school, writing in a column on theGrio:

[T]he presenter at Hampton University (which happens to be my undergraduate alma mater, so I speak from experience) is using humor and colloquialisms to do one of the most important things to be accomplished in a student’s first week at college: connect. This is especially important at Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) where low teacher-student ratios and close-knit campus environments remain two of the strongest points of their appeal.

The pop culture reference to twerking was an attempt at connection with the students – a technique that has proven benefits on retention and graduation.

More importantly, the university was attempting to provide the sort of life education that HBCUs take pride in offering. At their founding, these schools were deliberate in their mission to provide an education for black students that they had been denied elsewhere. This education extended beyond mathematics and liberal arts. It also included practical skills like specialized trades and business acumen, along with normative behavior instruction like social etiquette and grooming.

This special mission has evolved into advice to students on proper dress and acceptable behavior in certain environs that will make them competitive in the national economy, instead of just in the agricultural localities that most blacks once lived in.

Twerking gained notoriety this week following Miley Cyrus’ performance Sunday at the Video Music Awards and the term’s inclusion in the newest edition of the Oxford English Dictionary.

The OED defines twerking as “to dance to popular music in a sexually provocative manner involving thrusting hip movements and a low, squatting stance.”



Quo non Ascendam. Writer. E-mail:

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