I think there might have been a little bit of over intelectualisation as to the reason for certain movements within popular culture which isn't necessarily a bad thing, although the conclusions as to why certain things happen might be a little off to my personal perception. Its very easy to read into a situation and attribute a whole bunch of other stuff as to the reasons for the causes for something that may not have been for why certain things happened to begin with.

Lets face it, we now live in an age where more than ever people are more subject to social conscience than they used to be, and more often than not mainstream popular culture in the west is shaped and influenced by this. As most will know, the mainstream of popular media itself wasn't always like this, or at least not to the extent to which it has become today in trying to incorporate and reflect the broader cultural facets of a mass population.

At one time long ago, the wants of a white conservative media was the norm influenced by an elite and their tastes in what they thought was acceptable for a mass media consuming audience of that time, and generally it did very little to incorporate facets of the broader cross sections of the mass population. 

In the truest sense, the mainstream of US media (beyond the bounds of music) doesn't fully truly reflect its fluent English speaking youth population of fully fledged Americans if we were to look at the ethnic makeup in terms of numbers whilst factoring in Asians and Latinos. The reason why black culture remains so prominent as part of the popular culture movement in the US? Because the Afro American struggle has been the most prominent, most vocal and most documented in terms of the historical struggle they've faced as the oppressed in the US which is heavily entwined with American culture itself as far as America's history is concerned as a country.

Rock'n'roll? There couldn't be anything more American to have influenced the global music scene that the youth generations of the time lapped up as the sound track to their rebellious youth and love lives through its various taints from 50's onwards. The youth loved it whilst the establishment at the time hated it. But before it became big in its time to be mainly fronted by white artists for the mass media, it was originally created as a music by economically challenged black people from none privileged backgrounds looking for put forward a more upbeat sound for themselves that was born from another black music movement called the blues.

The blues as a music movement very much so embodied the struggles that a slave class of Afro Americans, and generally the lyrics often spoke of woes for the sound to intonation a deep melancholic feel. I guess it could be seen that rock'n'roll was the antithesis to this created by a black youth that wanted to party having just gotten bored with feeling "blue" all the time.

Even before rock'n'roll was born in the US we had the first ever early forms/variants of Jazz music born there too as a black music movement. Jazz as a music form gained traction to eventually become a music that was enjoyed by a mass white audience at the time to also eventually be fronted mainly by white artists for the mainstream. At which point Jazz as a movement in music fronted by white artists and composers suddenly became much more popular and palatable to the elite and under privileged alike. In relative terms even Jazz was a global phenomena as a US export in its time. However unlike rock'n'roll the Jazz thing continued to bubble and evolve as a predominantly black music movement beyond all its more mainstream variants. 

Need we mention Motown and the music scene that came out of Detroit that gave rise many of the forms of R'n'B we have today? Detroit also known for its car manufacturing and for all those into house and Techno music, Detroit house and techno which also incorporates elements of Jazz albeit a little more confined to a repetitive groove based structure within the electronica genre. 

Pivotal to all of this global success? Vinyl records and radio. Rock'n'roll came to the UK to capture the imagination of a lesser privileged youth, British rock'n'roll bands formed amongst which the fab four came to be which was then exported back to the US etc, etc, etc.

Its easy to try and spin it all as if it was music for the sake of music. But the truth of the matter is that the music industry from its beginnings is first and foremost a business beyond the actual creative process just in how it operates. The reason I say this is that it might have once been the case that there was a relentless search to get that sound of substance that had that "magic" about it that record companies wanted to sell as a product en mass. 

But as the music industry has matured it has proven time and time again that its been able to sell certain types of mainstream music through marketing over actual musical substance when it wants to many a time. There's also the fact that its become very good formulising popular music types to the point that its able to churn out highly polished and samey-samey sounds to the point it becomes tired and boring within specific genres. The music industry up until the internet arrived was a relatively iron clad money making machine beyond the pursuit of actual art. Record companies are first and foremost concerned with making money but even they know that they need to nurture creativity, new sounds and new talent from time to time. The mainstream music industry business was and is first and foremost concerned about what sells to often disregard certain cultural boundaries for the sake of profit. Its only with the arrival of the consumer accessible internet that this grip has significantly loosened prompting the industry to rethink their business model. The millions that superstar artists used to make was merely a tiny fraction of what the record companies were actually making per artist. 

Given this context, the rise of hip-hop/urban culture needs little explanation.

From what I can gather "twerking" mainly involves women provocatively batty shaking and rapid gyrations which to my mind is nothing new, since its been a part of the dance-hall and ragga scenes coming out of the West Indies for as long as I can remember. All they've done is tweaked it a little and given it a name. Although I must admit it is a little odd seeing guys seriously doing it. 

Then again, what usually happens to all fads? How I reckon it might have come about....

   
Twerk-ing

Twerk - "to work" said very quickly in a west indian accent?

eg. 

"she is going to work that batty."
"she is going twerk that batty."
"she twerking it."
"she's twerking"

Now its a name for a dance routine involving batty shaking.