Jesse “Smiley” Rutland, the co-creator of the Harlem shake dance craze, was reportedly murdered in his home.
According to the New York Daily News, Rutland was home with his children on Dec. 10 when he was shot. Although he was taken to the hospital, he was pronounced dead the day after the incident.
Police arrested Kumar Reid and have charged him with second-degree murder and weapons possession.
Reid was arraigned on Friday, at which time his lawyer, Jay Schwitzman, entered a not guilty plea on his behalf. If he is convicted, Reid faces 25 years to life in prison.
The Crazy Boyz Dance Crew marks Rutland’s passing
After Rutland’s death, his fellow dancers were among those mourning the loss.
Maurice Strayhorn, a member of the Crazy Boyz Dance Crew, posted about Rutland’s passing on Facebook along with a video of the group reuniting on stage recently.
“His 6 year old son attempted to revive him and ran out in the snow seeking help from a neighbor,” he wrote. “Unfortunately my beloved beautiful brother passed away at 8:30a.m. at Kings County Hospital Sunday Morning.”
The Harlem Shake
The Crazy Boyz Dance Crew, along with other Harlem dancers, helped to revive the Harlem shake in the early 2000’s. The dance had been huge back in the 80’s, and the dancers wanted to bring back the craze to give kids a sense of identity and pride in their heritage.
“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 dance craze swept through the nation and resulted in viral videos of so many people taking up the Shake. Chris Brown, Eve and Puff Daddy even used the dance in their acts.
Our hearts go out to Rutland’s family in this difficult time of grief and loss.