Pump Up the Jam!

Three days ago someone posted the Pump up the Jam on Facebook. I immediately ‘stole’ it and posted it on my Wall. Do you remember Pump up the Jam? If you don’t (and if you ever heard it, how could you possibly forget it?), here’s a quick reminder:

PUTJ was a song done by Technotronic in 1989. If your party sucked, it was immediately resurrected with one flick of the cassette tape. Little children and teenagers scattered everywhere, trying to find enough space on the dance floor that would us to perform the acrobatics and calisthenics that we called ‘dancing’ without bumping into another gymnast. Collision with another dancer in the middle of the Roger Rabbit, the Poppa Smurf, the keyhole or the ever dreaded Suicide could annihilate a shin bone, neck connection, or disfigure you completely. By the end of the song we were sweaty in our body suits, viscose shirts, baggy jeans and high-top sneakers. If you still had a jehri curl, juice went everywhere. If you were one of the girls whose mother would not let you get a perm yet, your hair was poufy. The side ponytail and bangs that you had so meticulously arranged prior to the party were in total disarray. In Ghana, songs like Pump Up The Jam fell under a category called asokpo, and before Biggie and Pac, there was nothing we loved more than asokpo.  (I’m laughing to myself right now, because there was a girl in my boarding school called Angela who was an Asokpo Queen. She would only and exclusively dance to techno – no exceptions!) We could dance like that for hours.


So when I saw this throw back video, I was immediately transported to my days as 11 year old girl in the prime of her physical condition. Balancing 2 of my four small children on my knee, I thought I might reintroduce 32 year old Malaka to those carefree days and attempt to cut a step.

Marshall was in the kitchen and I turned up the volume.

“Hey babe! Remember when we used to dance like this?” I asked doing the Running Man.

“No, I didn’t dance,” he said, slicing garlic and looking at me like I was the ridiculous woman I was being.

45 seconds into the song, I stopped. I thought I was going to have a stroke. My heart was racing. My pulse was unsteady. My legs and thighs began to throb and shake under the weight and weakness of 5 years of inactivity. I tried to start up again, but collapsed into the office chair in the effort. It was just no good.

Marshall cackled mercilessly from the kitchen.  I would have laughed too, but my breath was caught in my throat. I waited for my lungs to regain function so that I could hoot at my attempts as well.

But I will not be defeated! I am going to find a fanny pack, a lime green body suit and some matte lipstick and give this another try. Who’s with me?!?!?!


Fine! I’ll just do it m’self.