Last week, Beyoncé began to utilize her Instagram Stories feature by reposting several dance videos that were set to her re-worked version of Frankie Beverly’s “Before I Let Go.” The track was produced by Tay Keith, and interpolates “Candy” by Cameo to create a modern rendition of the cookout-ready classic.
Dance fans from all over have been gathering their squad and practicing their best two-step for a chance at being acknowledged by the Queen Bey, and Times Square was the scene of one of the most shared entries of the #BeforeILetGoChallenge.
NYC choreographer Charles Smith Jr. shut down the Big Apple for his video, which was dripping in Black Girl Magic and Black Boy Joy from start to finish. While he initially posted a video of the dance at a different location, the response for a second version of the dance was highly requested.
“After the initial video, I received crazy amounts of DMs asking me to teach it again in a class setting,” Smith told VIBE of the first video, which was reposted by Beyoncé on her Stories. “I was adamant on not ‘charging’ folks to do this slide, you know, because it was created as a love offering to us black folks. So, I decided to just do it again in a larger setting, and where else but Times Square?”
Smith has choreographed for various NBA dance teams such as the Brooklyn Nets, Chicago Bulls and Atlanta Hawks, as well as Jidenna, T-Pain and more. Recently, he was an assistant to creative director Jemel Williams for Lizzo’s Coachella set and tour. Since releasing the Times Square version of the dance, Smith’s choreography has been shared by Ms. Tina Knowles, Michael B. Jordan, Essence, BET and more.
“I created this in the image of my mom, my grandmas, my aunts, my sisters, my cousins,” he continues. “When I heard it, for obvious reasons it took me back to my childhood cookouts… I wanted to create something we could do now! Something that we could all get up and do when the song comes on. It’s not about the steps, it’s about the feeling of the steps.”
Peep the video above.