Recently, producer and Blackberry spokesmodel Diplo released his Express Yourself EP. He simultaneously ran a contest, encouraging female fans to, um “express” themselves in odd locations, preferably by popping their butts in public, as pictured above.
The hash tag #ExpressYourself was employed, the responses overwhelming. Grand prize winners (like the ladies above) received guest list for life privileges to any of Diplo's shows, while others got some swag. We interviewed a bunch of them about issues pertaining to popping that ass and #ExpressingThemselves.
How coordinated and/or fit do you have to be to #ExpressYourself?
You definitely need some kind of upper body strength to support yourself while shaking your thang.
Looks like your #ExpressYourself pic could've gotten you arrested. Were you worried about #Express(ing)Yourself on a cop car? Were you prepared to get locked up in order to #ExpressYourself?
The only thing I was worried about was if it was crazy enough to win the contest. … I'm such a diehard fan of Diplo and Major Lazer, I would've done anything in order to be able to go to their shows for FREE for LIFE. You just can't beat that prize.
How would you suggest someone who is old or obese or sick #ExpressThemselves? Is it possible?
Weight is never an issue with dancing. … Big girls especially can express themselves, they got more to shake! If old or sick people want to express themselves, they may need a partner to help them out.
When and where do you plan to #ExpressYourself in the future?
I plan to express myself in Ecuador when I go back there to visit in August. I'm about to bring this movement to the third world!
Is there a trick to poppin' the ass out after you've done the #ExpressYourself handstand?
Just follow the instructions of the song: “spread your legs, arch your back, go up and down and make it clap.”
Are there places where it's inappropriate to #ExpressYourself?
One of my attempts involved #expressingmyself against a beverage refrigerator in my local Duane Reade with two friends. Before my friend Andrew could snag a photo of us, the security guard walked over, inquiring about our rightfully suspicious activity. Considering we never were able to document our shining moment, I now assume that Duane Reade is one of the most finicky places one could choose to express oneself. That being said, I hope that #expressoneself trends one day.
How would someone with, say, osteoporosis #ExpressYourself?
I find this question completely inappropriate by all forms of journalistic integrity and can't qualify it with a response. But I'm sure the answer has something to do with milk intake early on in life.
What's the hardest thing about Express(ing)Yourself?
The hardest part is definitely the twerking aspect. If you've never seen the “Express Yourself” music video then you might not realize that it's not a pose, but a full on dance move! Something like a upside down booty shake! So it definitely takes some skill!
You're in New Orleans, right? Tell us a little bit about the place you decided to #ExpressYourself.
Living in New Orleans for the past five years I've grown to love so many parts of the city's unique culture, especially bounce music and the food. Manchu is, in many locals opinions, the best place for fried chicken in the city. In the music video, one of the dancers, Quack, expresses herself right out front — using the wall of the famous purple building as her backdrop. It was a no-brainer that I had to take a picture expressing myself in the same exact spot.
Were you happy with where you placed? Is it one of those “Just happy to be nominated” type things or are you genuinely bummed you didn't win a guest spot for life?
Anyone that knows Diplo knows he's famous for his fan girls. He's the only DJ/producer that could get as many photo submissions as he did. With hundreds of entries, I feel honored to have been recognized at all. Given that I am such a big fan of the music, of course I would have loved to win the lifetime guest list to all Diplo and Major Lazer shows, but I guess I'll just have to figure out some other way to get in for free!
First, what made you decide to #ExpressYourself where you did? It looks fucking TERRIFYING!
I am from Chicago and I have never been to the Willis Tower. (P.S. I work 2 buildings away) I heard about the contest the day Diplo announced it, and immediately thought of “The Ledge” on Willis Tower's Skydeck. Even after days of pondering, I couldn't think of a crazier place. On my lunch break, my co-worker and I went up to the top to take my photo. Once we got up there I was terrified to even step on the glass, but I kept telling myself “free tickets for life, free tickets for life!” After a couple of minutes, I grew some balls and just did it, eyes wide open … European tourists staring.
Say you're someone who has never found an occasion to #ExpressYourself. What's the proper technique?
No technique. Do what feels right! It's all about expressing yourself.
Do you get dizzy when you #ExpressYourself?
Not normally, but at the time I took the photo, I was actually dizzy and shaking because it was scary as shit to look down 103 stories.
Are you happy with where you placed in the #ExpessYourself contest? Who placed above you that shouldn't have?
I was hoping to be one of the top six so that I could be on Diplo/Major Lazer's lifetime guest list….You see, Diplo tweeted me three days before the contest winners were announced, saying that I was top 5 for sure, but then placed me at #14. Once I expressed my disappointment on Twitter, he ended up giving me the lifetime tickets anyway (Diplo is a solid dude). Everyone who won was unique in their own way and incorporated something that represents them or the city they are in and they all deserve my respect … except for the nursing home girl. That was fucked up.
Below: The Nursing Home Girl
Winner: @vnessav (far right)
What's the hardest thing about #ExpressYourself? It seems like it would take a lot of arm strength. Does it?
It doesn't take that much arm strength to hold a #ExpressYourself position at all. If you got arms, knees to bend, and legs to spread you can do it! The hardest thing for me was actually trying to come up with crazy ideas on where I should best express myself around the city. Toronto is kinda boring, not much to see here but the CN Tower and that's it. I did however expressed myself with the Toronto skyline behind me. This picture wasn't the one that won but it's still pretty cool. Check it out.
How long can you #ExpressYourself before you get dizzy? Does the blood rush to your head?
I just timed myself: 1 minute and 6 seconds
Give us the scoop on the old folks home you #ExpressYourself at in the photo. What made you think “This idea is a WINNER!” and did you get any curious looks from anyone there?
I love old people. They are hilarious and wanted at least one of my photo submissions with my grandma and some of the residents from her nursing home. I had a friend help me gather some old people on wheelchairs and push them into a room quickly before any of the supervisors saw us. I made my grandma wear a Mad Decent t-shirt, but you can't really see it because her plastic doll is covering it. My grandma lives on the floor of the nursing home that specializes with elderly people who have Alzheimer's disease. So yeah, basically no one in that photo remembers anything that happened that day.
When/where do you think you might #ExpressYourself again?
Well, I have a flight to catch to Philly and NYC in a couple of days. So maybe on a plane would be cool. Or I might just express myself at IKEA on furniture or something.
What's the story behind your photo? How old are the kids in that classroom? Are you a teacher? Student?
The classroom is actually a driver's education classroom. I work there and i brought my friends there to take the picture with me. They are 18 years old. I am not the instructor, but I am the secretary at the office.
Say you're looking to #ExpressYourself for the first time. You have any pointers for the an #ExpressYourself rookie?
My advice would be to tuck your shirt in and don't wear sandals/flip-flops (as you can see, my sandal fell off in the picture). Also, the “make it clap part” isn't for everyone…
The lyrics to “Express Yourself” include the instructions “spread your legs,” “arch your back,” “get low” and “make it clap”? Which of these is the most important?
I would say spread your legs is most important. Otherwise you are just doing a handstand.