From Janet to 'Sorry': A Music Video Herstory of the All-Girl Dance Routine

sorry justin bieber gif

Well. Justin Bieber. You did it. You've finally won me over with the help of perhaps the hottest song of 2015—in a year rife with bangers—and a dance video featuring some of the best bad bitch choreography I've seen in a while. Basically, this was me walking around town all weekend:

sorry justin bieber gif

Just struttin' in my Tims and a booty short, earrings down to my nipple and not a care in the world. Well, it's really choreographer Parris Goebel, who—with her dance crews, ReQuest and The Royal Family—have given us all a reason to forgive the Biebs.

Such is the power of the all-girl dance routine. It can change hearts and minds in addition to inspiring countless nights of dancing alone in front of the mirror. In honor of the ladies of "Sorry" let's rhythmically strut down music video herstory with some of the most empowering, memorable and influential all-girl dance routines. 

Janet - "You Want This" (1994)

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Where else would we start? Janet was the first female artist to really serve it to you as hard as dude, but for "You Want This" Ms. Jackson got in touch with her homegirls for a dance battle of the sexes in the middle of the desert—an oft-repeated motif (see also: Mya).

TLC - "Creep" (1994)

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Ah, the halcyon days of '90s R&B, when TLC reigned as The Supreme(s) girl group, and boys and girls regularly swapped the same baggy pant, wife-beater and flannel shirt combo. Also known as what's currently happening in the streets. 

Missy Elliott - "She's a Bitch" (1999)

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No one was ready for this video when it came out, but Missy's always been ahead of her time, so starring as a bald, androgynous, leather-clad, coal-black-from-head-to-toe post-Apocalyptic diva with a troupe of gimped-out female dancers was just another day in the life. 

Mya - "Case of the Ex" (2000)

mya case of the ex

Here we are again in a desert dance battle of the sexes, this time with Mya and some light cane work. These guys chose the wrong desert dance battle to ride up into. 

Aaliyah - "More Than a Woman" (2002)

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A true one in a million, Aaliyah's last-released video was maybe her best. White catsuits, high ponytails, early-00s highlights and some great choreo done (as always) effortlessly. R.I.P. 

Britney - Overprotected (DarkChild Remix) (2002)

britney spears overprotected gif

"I'm Not a Girl, Not Yet a Woman" may have been Brit's bid for adulthood, but the message was delivered crystal clear when Ms. Spears writhed on the ground in the rain singing about how she wasn't going to let anyone tell her what to do (do).

Ciara - "Like a Boy" (2007)

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"2007—ladies, I think it's time to switch roles." And with that, Cici kicks off her gender-bending masterwork, serving you TLC "Creep" tea while proving that not only can she do it like a boy—she can do it a whole lot better.

Beyoncé - "Single Ladies" (2008)

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I'm a let you finish, but this is the greatest all-girl dance routine of all time. And it will be performed by everyone, boy or girl, and their grandmother at every wedding forever and ever. Amen. 

Nicki Minaj - "Anaconda" (2014)

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Nicki Minaj is not a dancer, but that's neither here nor there. "Anaconda" is her post-millennial feminist manifesto, praising her curves and owning her sexuality like Janet taught her—and really, all of us— some 20 years earlier.

Well, there we have it, kids. 20 years of gals just dancing their hearts out for no one but themselves. Now if you'll excuse me, I must be going. 

sorry justin bieber gif

Les Fabian Brathwaite—is it too late to say sorrynotsorry now?

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