Jalaiah Harmon, the 14-year-old creator of the viral dance sensation, “Renegade,” received a special shout out from Forever First Lady Michelle Obama after her amazing performance at the NBA All Star Game.
Jalaiah was thrust into the spotlight last week after a profile on her was published by The New York Times revealing that she was, in fact, the creator of the hit dance that's sweeping social media. The Georgia teen created the dance to Atlanta rapper K Camp’s “Lottery,” first posting the video in September 2019, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reports.
After posting the video to Funimate, a social network that promotes short music video edits, Jalaiah then posted it to Instagram. Eventually, the dance was picked up by TikTok, another video sharing site, where users made the dance go viral, with mainstream celebrities such as Lizzo and Alex Rodriguez also partaking in the dance craze. #Renegade currently has more than 700 million views on the site, but in the process, Jalaiah was never credited as the original choreographer.
Eventually, K Camp publicly thanked Jalaiah for boosting his song to popularity, sparking a wave of publicity for the young dancer and finally getting her the credit she deserved. “I was happy when I saw my dance all over, but I wanted credit for it...I think I could have gotten money for it, promos for it, I could have gotten famous off it, get noticed. I don’t think any of that stuff has happened for me because no one knows I made the dance,” Jalaiah told NY Times reporters.
After the NYT report, #BlackTwitter got a hold of the news and pushed for Jalaiah to get the opportunities and acknowledgement she deserved. It led to a performance at the NBA All Star Game alongside K Camp. That performance caught the eye of Forever First Lady Michelle Obama who took to Twitter to congratulate the young starlet.
“Jalaiah, you crushed it - love seeing your talent shine,” Obama said.
The budding star recently joined Twitter and was able to respond to Obama directly. She thanked her for being such a great role model and invited her to dance!
OMGGG! Thank you so much @MichelleObama for your support and for being an amazing role model for women and girls! We can dance together anytime!!!— Jalaiah (@jalaiah) February 19, 2020
Several other celebrities have come out in support of the teen choreographer as well including Hair Love Oscar Winner Matthew Cherry who encouraged everyone to make sure Jalaiah receives the “income and opportunities” she deserves.
Congratulations @MatthewACherry on your Oscar! #HairLove is the cutest and thank you for taking notice of me and bringing light to self-love! I think it would be pretty cool to see me in animation!!https://t.co/IlXiAiW75d— Jalaiah (@jalaiah) February 18, 2020
Congratulations Jalaiah! May your gifts continue to make room for you!