‘Soul Train’ dancer and Harlem Shake creator was paid NOTHING
“They gave you a chicken box from Kentucky Fried Chicken. You got two pieces of chicken with mashed potatoes, gravy and a soda. That was it."
By Brelaun Douglas via SWNS
A former "Soul Train" dancer, who is also credited as the creator of the Harlem Shake, says he was paid NOTHING for working 14-hour shifts in over 18 YEARS on the show.
Myron Montgomery, 61, began dancing on the hit TV show in 1976 when he was just 15 and continued until 1995.
“There would not be a ‘Soul Train’ without the dancers. The dancers are what brought the fire,” said the Los Angeles native.
“Contrary to what people believe, they didn’t pay us anything to do that show. We just did it for free, but everybody assumed we made money off of it.
“They used us. The name ‘Soul Train’ was forged off the sweat off our backs. People watched the show to see the artist on there, but they really watched to see their favorite dancer.
“I don’t want to speak against the network because they gave me this opportunity but that’s the God’s honest truth that it was forged off the sweat off our backs.”
While Myron got many perks from appearing on the show for so long, he said the only compensation the show gave them was lunch during its monthly tapings.
“I didn’t get money, but I could go to any club. I was a star. I got a couple of perks from it and it was fun,” he said.
“We would film once a month and would film four shows on one weekend, so a month’s worth of taping.
“We would start filming at 9 A.M. and finish around 11 P.M, with a lunch break.
“They gave you a chicken box from Kentucky Fried Chicken. You got two pieces of chicken with mashed potatoes, gravy and a soda. That was it.
“They could have given us something, but they did not.”
"Soul Train" was an American musical variety show that aired from 1971 until 2006. It featured performances from popular musical artists, as well as dancers and the famous "Soul Train line."
“It was a groundbreaking show when I was on it back in 1976. Back then, there really weren’t any shows that depicted people of color,” said Myron, a songwriter and producer who is also currently working on his memoirs.
“It was a hell of a show and I was a dancer. I saw those dancers getting down and I was like ‘I want to be on that show because I can get down.'"
During his 18-year run, Myron was one of top dancers on the show, even creating the 'Harlem Shake' during his time there.
“It happened in 1981 and the show supports it. That’s the beauty of YouTube, you look and who do you see doing it? Me,” he said.
“I just called it ‘The Shake’ and people adapted it and this is what they call it, but it originates from me, my movements, my signature moves.”
At 33, Myron decided to leave the show after getting his SAG card and has since appeared in feature films and shows such as "The Young and the Restless'" and '"The Bold and the Beautiful."
“I enjoyed it until I just didn’t want to do it anymore,” he said.
“If they paid me I would have still done it for a couple more years, but 18 is enough.”
Myron still dances and said he’d be open to do something like "Soul Train" again.
“It’s in my blood and I can still get down, trust me,” he said.
While Myron is grateful for his time on the show, he wishes the dancers who brought it to life would have received more support.
“Praise God that I’ve been able to manage because I have other things that I do, but some of our members hit hard times and there wasn’t a pension or something that could help those people,” he said.
“All these years have gone by and one was living in a home, he was homeless, he got hit by a car.
“These dancers, a lot of them are dying off. We lost three of them this year (2021) to COVID and those are like my brothers and sisters. I knew them for years."
Myron and some other dancers recently appeared in interviews on the show’s YouTube.
“They’re taking advantage of us again,” he said.
“The more publicity I get the better, but for whom because they didn’t pay us to do this interview again, so they’re doing it all over again.
“I’m just thinking now that they’ve made the money they made they could at least go back and break some of these dancers off.”
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