MJ Didn’t Moonwalk First, But He Did It Best
Bobby Brown has claimed that he taught Michael Jackson how to moonwalk. It’s a bit of a hot take as it is widely believed that dancer Jeffrey Daniel taught Jackson. In an interview with the podcast The Cipher, he explains how he came to teach Jackson the dance.
“We was poppin’. He was watchin’ us pop,” Brown said. “He saw me do the moonwalk. And he [asked], ‘What is that?’ And I did it again. He just watched it, and he just started doin’ it.”
Whether or not you believe that Brown taught Jackson the famous dance, the question still stands: who invented the moonwalk?
No one really knows.
There have been speculations and strong opinions about who invented the move. Some have pointed to dancer Bill Bailey or comedian Dick Van Dyke as inventors of the move.
Rolling Stone says that James Brown performed the move for years before Jackson came along. However, HowStuffWorks writer Shanna Freeman says that move came to be with 70 years of evolution in dance.
Dancer Bill Bailey did a version of the move at the Apollo Theatre in 1955.
Jazz singer and bandleader Cab Calloway performed the move before that in 1933.
Other dancers and performers perform some semblance of the move during their time.
So the answer to the question of who invented the moonwalk is: no one. As dance evolved, so did the moves that would become the moonwalk. But there is no doubt to who popularized the move and changed the game of performance as we know it: Michael Joseph Jackson, the King of Pop.
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