Delta gets the last laugh on Wayans' selfie

JOEL MEARES
Last updated 16:55 05/08/2014
Delta

LOVABLE DAG: In defence of 'unrhythmic' white people.

 Marlon Wayans
Marlon Wayans/INSTAGRAM
NOT IMPRESSED: Marlon Wayans captured Delta Goodrem dancing at a Jay Z and Beyonce concert.

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OPINION: It's the most viral selfie since Ellen and her buddies pulled out the iPhone on Oscar night: Marlon Wayans' selfie from a Beyonce and Jay-Z concert showing Delta Goodrem, "the most UNRHYTHMIC WHITE WOMAN", dancing in the background.

"Man I got the most UNRHYTHMIC WHITE WOMAN dancing next to me at the jay and bay concert," Wayans said on Instagram. 

Ouch (unless they're buddies and both in it, in which case: bravo - ya got us). 

When the man who gave the world White Chicks and the woman who gave Australia Brian McFadden get in a fight, it's tempting to sit back and hope that poetic justice takes some sort of revenge on both. But I can't help jumping in to what I've dubbed "unrhythmicgate" and leap to Delta's defence.

You see, I too am a non-rhythmic white person. Like Delta, I move like a newborn giraffe dropped on an ice rink. Like Delta I throw my hands in the air like I just don't care ... that there is a rhythm to be followed. My signature move is this thing where I hold my hands together at waist level and move my torso side to side like a metronome. 

And like Delta I too have danced badly at a Beyonce concert - three, in fact. And at two Destiny's Child gigs. When I close my eyes and contemplate the quality of Delta's Single Ladies hand flip, I imagine it is as charmingly awkward and offbeat as my own. 

But if you don't like it, no need to put it on the internet, Marlon. 

As a fellow "unrhythmic" white person, I know the anxiety of going to a pop concert and having to dance like nobody's watching when a couple of people to the left and right of you probably are. Of seeing that everyone around you is getting into the groove of things, doing the dance just like in the music video and moving their arms just how the artist's hype guy is telling them to, and knowing that you either have to join in or look like your row's grump. Or a music critic. And so, knowing that you're 100 per cent going to be the guy who waves his arms left as the crowd waves right, you plough on in because, hey, it's a pop concert and everyone's here to have fun right? 

That ability to just let go, despite your limitations, is what I've always liked about Delta. After more than a decade of televised evidence that she has the rhythm of a just-Morteined roach - those ill-advised music videos where she steps out from behind the piano to frolic; those too-stiff Celine arms whenever she hits the high notes - she still goes for it, shooting her arms up and shaking her hips when things get all up-tempo on The Voice. 

Delta is a dag. We love her for it, and frankly, with her perfect looks and mega success, we're relieved by it. And she has a decent sense of humour, tweeting a short clip of Seinfeld's infamous Elaine dance as a response to Wayans. 

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What irks me most about the Wayans selfie - and the giddiness with which it was received on its quick journey to viral status - is the judgmental nastiness behind it. 

When Famous magazine posted the picture, Facebook comments included "Were [sic] not the only ones who can't stand Delta" and "just another thing to add to my 'why I hate delta' list". Others, it's only fair to note, queried the use of "white" and "bitch" in Wayans' post. But that's a whole other kettle. 

The list of "things we are judged for in the modern day" is as long as it is cliched: our looks, our style, our brains, our friends, our tastes, our weight. Social media has exacerbated all of it, of course, whether we voluntarily post a picture or statement on twitter and receive some unexpectedly rough feedback, or we find ourselves the unwitting contestant in a game of "hot or not" when friends of friends trawl through Facebook on a slow Friday night (I have teenage nieces - it happens).

But the darkened front rows of a Beyonce concert should be off limits - a booty-shaking sanctuary where we can just let our long Delta locks down and get loose without dirty looks or nasty laughs or global social media embarrassment. 

To the man who starred in and co-wrote Little Man, I just say this: ebony, ivory, let's dance together in imperfect harmony. 

- Sydney Morning Herald

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