Last Friday, 24-year-old Los Angeles-raised rapper Doja Cat released the ’70s disco-inspired video for her tune Say So, an infectious cut off her sophomore album Hot Pink that was released last November.
Like Ashnikko’s fuckboy-repelling tune Stupid and Lil Nas X’s chart-topping smash hit Old Town Road before it, Doja Cat’s woozy, rap-pop earworm became the anthem for a TikTok dance trend that went viral on the social sharing platform in December.
Created by Haley Sharpe (@yodellinghaley), a 17-year-old social media sensation and high school student from Alabama, the dance sees teens criss-cross their arms, shake their hips and throw air punches in time with the song’s chorus: “Didn’t even notice, no punches left to roll with/You gotta keep me focused, you want it, say so.”
“My friend had showed me the song and I wanted to make it a TikTok dance to it really bad,” explains Sharpe, “So I just stood in my bathroom thinking about what could work. It probably took about two hours to make.”
Sharpe dropped her 15-second-clip in December and over 16 million TikTokers have followed suit in uploading their own iteration of the dance since, including: The Face cover star Noen Eubanks, the app’s unofficial CEO Charli D’Amelio and, as of last Friday, even Doja Cat herself.
At the time of posting the original clip, Sharpe put out a hopeful message for the Juicy rapper: “dojacat if ur filming a music video for this song and need a dancer, 🙋🏽♀️im here.” It was just two months later that Doja Cat reached out to Sharpe to take her up on her offer.
“I was in art class and I looked at my phone and there was a notification [that said]: ‘Say So music video inquiry’. They reached out on a Tuesday, by Friday I was at the shoot,” says Sharpe.
With her dance teacher in tow (she’s been dancing competitively since she was 11), Sharpe skipped school and took a trip to Los Angeles to appear in the glitzy, mirror-balled disco scene. Dressed in a diamante bralet and blue flares, Sharpe stars alongside Schicka (a real life tiger) and a sequined jumpsuit-clad Doja Cat. “I was so nervous to meet Doja because I’m such a big fan,” says Sharpe of the experience, “She was so lovely though and even thanked me for making the dance.”
Doja Cat’s fans approved of the artist’s decision to thank the originator of the trend – they often go uncredited.
@atomparrishh tweeted: “this is the cutest thing ever”. @Stxrmbxrn agreed: “DOJA CAT DOING SAY SO’S TIKTOK DANCE AND INCLUDING THE GIRL WHO CREATED IT IN THE MV IS SO MFING CUTE “. With @lisacvline pointing out that, “It’s like she’s giving her thanks to all those people who made the trend. QUEEN.”
Since being flown to LA to film a big budget music video with one of her idols, Sharpe’s follower count has climbed from 200,000 to 1.2 million – she’s even been spending her weekends attending meet and greets across the US. All of this off the back of a 15-second clip captured two months ago – why exactly does Sharpe think it was such a big hit?
“I talked to my friends about it and they think it’s because the dance is easy, cute and fun while the song is happy,” says Sharpe. “Whenever I see TikTokers meet up they’ll usually do it.” So what’s next for Sharpe? She’s always on the lookout for tracks to concept a dance to (in the hope it goes viral on TikTok), but first she’s got a big school assignment to hand in this week. We’re sure Sharpe will get top marks on that too.