Life & Culture

Video of the Week: “Uptown Funk”

(Video link for mobile)

Alex Boye’s “oldtown” remake of the 2014 hit “Uptown Funk” went viral last week, careening across the Internet and clocking up more than a million views in three days. That’s nothing new for the video’s star and producer, Nigerian-born, U.S.-naturalized Brit Alex Boyé, whose remake of the “Frozen” theme took YouTube by storm last year. But Boyé’s “Uptown Funk” is a music video with a difference; as you can read on its YouTube page, its background singers and dancers are all grandmas and grandpas who range in age from 65 to 92, and between them they’ve raised 500 children, 1,200 grandchildren and 250 great grandchildren. Not to mention that they’ve got some serious moves.

Curious about these seniors? We tracked down their backstories (thanks Google!).

The Grandmas

Known locally as Jean’s Golden Girls, the video’s Dancing Grannies are among 100 or so women who congregate almost weekly to perform at basketball games and other events. The senior dance troupe was formed almost 20 years ago by dance instructor Jean Dixon Elliott. “The ideal age for women may appear to be getting younger and younger. Jean has a different perspective,” Kaelyn Johnson writes on the Golden Girls blog. “The dancers come in all shapes and sizes – tall, thin, short, and thick. The dancing whittles away pounds and adds muscle. Many women in their 80’s and 90’s have doctors who are amazed they can dance at “their age.” Through the group, the women also find connection. “Divorces occur. Children move back in. A new great grandchild is born. Another dancer auditions for heaven’s dance line.  Through it all, the 100 women are there for each other.”

Read more about Jean’s Golden Girls, AKA the Dancing Grannies here and watch them perform “Gangnam Style” below.


The Grandpas

Who are these guys with swagger? Turns out, they are all members of the Genesis Group. Originally founded in 1971 by African-American members of the Church of Latter Day Saints in response to discriminatory church law, the Utah-based group was relaunched in 1981 by Jerri and Don Harwell – Don is among the grandpas on “Uptown Funk.”


“Many Thanks to my funky seniors!” Boyé writes on his YouTube page. Indeed!

Ready to get your move on?


2 responses to “Video of the Week: “Uptown Funk”

  1. Oh, I’m getting my move on, alright!

    I’m one of five women (four of us who are 62) dancing a jazzy little number to “Puttin’ on the Ritz” (Robbie Williams version) this Sunday in a variety show!

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