The Nae Nae is a hip-hop dance that involves planting one’s feet, swaying with shoulder movement, placing one hand in the air and one hand down, and incorporating personal creativity. The move typically follows another move called the "whip". The Whip involves lifting one foot off the ground and planting it with a stomp; simultaneously, the dancer twists and extends their opposite arm forward.[clarification needed]
The Atlanta hip hop group We Are Toonz is credited for inventing the phrase with their hit song "Drop That NaeNae" in 2013. The dance was based on a character from the 1990s sitcom Martin. In the series, Martin Lawrence cross-dressed to play Sheneneh Jenkins, an exaggerated, sassy “ghetto girl”. The group member Callamar stated in an interview with Billboard, “It’s really just based on a ratchet girl in the club dancing kind of funny and the best girl to describe it is Sheneneh from Martin.” In one interview, Martin Lawrence stated he was “flattered” by the dance.
Throughout 2014, the song achieved widespread popularity on social media such as Vine, Twitter, Instagram and YouTube. It has also been performed as a celebratory dance at collegiate and professional sporting events.
In 2015, American rapper Silentó released his debut single "Watch Me (Whip/Nae Nae)" which also included the Nae Nae along with other dance moves, appearing in viral videos and mainstream media.
Numerous celebrities have been covered by the social and mainstream media when they performed the dance, including Jeremy Lin and Stephen Curry, Dwight Howard, Lance Moore, TLC, John Wall, Pharrell Williams, Miley Cyrus, and J. J. Watt. The video game NBA 2K16 allows players to dance the Nae Nae. Fifth Harmony also mentioned the dance move in their song BO$$.
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- Iyengar, Rishi (October 30, 2015). "D.C. Policewoman Who 'Danced Off' With Teenagers Praised by President Obama". TIME. Time Inc. Retrieved October 31, 2015.