Jesse “Smiley” Rutland known for his role in the creation of The Harlem Shake dance craze has died.
The New York Daily News reports Rutland was shot at his home in Brooklyn Dec. 10. His children were reportedly in the home when the incident happened. He was taken to a local hospital where he was pronounced dead the next day. Rutland was a member of the Crazy Boyz Dance Crew, who helped revitalize The Harlem Shake dance in the early 2000’s. The dance was adopted by acts like Chris Brown, Eve and Puff Daddy.
The Crazy Boyz Dance Crew and other legendary Harlem dancers came together to share the origins of the dance, going as far back as the 80’s after the release of Baauer’s “Harlem Shake” single in 2012. “We’re just using whatever recognition we have to reach the youth so they can feel bigger than themselves and think, ‘I am somebody,'” Rutland said in 2013.
The group also reunited recently on stage with Eve. Founding member Maurice Strayhorn posted the video to Facebook last month along with the announcement of Rutland’s passing. “His 6 year old son attempted to revive him and ran out in the snow seeking help from a neighbor,” he said. “Unfortunately my beloved beautiful brother passed away at 8:30a.m. at Kings County Hospital Sunday Morning.”
Police arrested suspect Kumar Reid the same day. He was charged with second-degree murder and weapons possession.