5) The Best Man – The wedding
The moment Uncle Skeeter says, “I’m gonna get it started ya’ll,” it sets off a rallying cry that unites everyone at the wedding to perform the greatest dance in Black American history: The Electric Slide/ Hustle. Despite an exposed secret nearly destroying their bonds, all the beloved characters get in formation and two-step in harmony to Cameo’s “Candy” in a generational ceremony that transcends friends to family.
4) The Wood – The school dance
You’d have to be a soulless refrigerator not to feel the emotional touch of Big Luther’s vocal supremacy as a teenage Mike builds the courage to finally ask his middle-school crush, Alicia, to dance to her favorite song. Mike survived a big brother beat down and avoided jail from an armed robbery involvement just to make it to the school dance, making him quite the likable underdog. This scene captures Mike’s nervous heart and rising anxiety (among other things) that are reminiscent of that short, enjoyable period of life without adult complications.
3) Girls Trip – Club bar scene
Not only did this scene reunite us with “Set It Off” wigs worn by Jada Pinkett-Smith and Queen Latifah, but it delivered an amplified (albeit hallucinatory) girls’ night out. Joined by Tiffany Haddish and Regina Hall, the fierce foursome’s onscreen chemistry was identical to black college friends at Homecoming—complete with throwback dances and ancient beefs with the same fake people from undergrad.
2) SCHOOL DAZE – Pajama party
This classic soulful musical has plenty of memorable moments, but none stands out like the pajama jam with D.C. GoGo band EU’s legendary performance of “Da Butt”. School Daze the film introduced the outside world to Black College life, and the pajama party created an invitational allure of black joy that many young black co-eds were soon to accept.
1) House Party – The dance battle
Add the innocence of Kid, the slickness of Play, the confidence of Sydney, and the sophistication of Sharane to get the perfect recipe for a timeless, epic dance scene that has influenced the culture many times over. House Party was the fictionalized story of real-life rap duo Kid ‘N Play who were known for their feel-good music and impressive, often-attempted (and usually failed) dance moves. The set up was as organic as it gets: a challenge accepted for the all-time title of “Who is the best dancer.” Kid ‘N Play were victorious (it was their movie). But the win margin grows closer every year TBT, while the jump-leg attempt is still tried at least once at every family reunion, cookout, and wedding.
These dance scenes captivated us, changed us, and kept us talking about them for years—long after their film debuts. These were not merely enjoyable moments—they etched into our hearts and minds the beauty and vulnerability of our souls on the silver screen. The mainstream was privileged to catch a glimpse.