Viral video shows students slow dancing in Holmes Student Center to keep spirits high during finals

By Margaret Maka

Blake Grigsby, junior digital cinema major at DePaul University, brightened students’ day during finals week by asking random passersby to slow dance in the Holmes Student Center.

Grigsby, who runs a YouTube channel, said that although he has help from a management and production company called Black Apple Media, he comes up with all the ideas for his videos. His video showcasing him dancing with NIU community members was posted Jan. 7, and it has received more than 112,000 views.

Grigsby said he started making videos about two years ago with one other friend, and one of his first videos reached 1 million views.  

“It was really exciting that we had a viral video,” Grigsby said. “Then I started making a few more videos and I realized that I loved to make videos that were positive versus like the really aggressive pranks that people do.”

Grigsby jots down his ideas for “positive pranks” and he had the slow dance idea for a while before NIU agreed to let him do it on campus, he said.

“We reached out to a few schools, and since it was finals week everyone was like, ‘This would be disturbing. We don’t want to do it …,'” Grigsby said. “So we weren’t able to do it until we got a response from NIU saying, ‘Yeah, we would love to do it.'”

Grigsby said the response to the slow dance video has been overwhelmingly positive.

“I don’t think we had a single negative response to this video, which was amazing,” Grigsby said.

The slow dancing video was shared by actor Ashton Kutcher and rapper Nicki Minaj on their respective Facebook pages. Similar videos on Grigsby’s channel, including one of him holding a sign that reads “Kiss Me, I’m Desperate” have garnered upwards of 19 million views.

“We like to make videos that people like to watch, obviously, and feel good about themselves after watching it, but we also want to make things that people in the moment that experience it enjoy and have a good story to tell people later,” he said.

Grigsby said he liked the look of NIU’s Martin Luther King Jr. Commons and would like to come back and shoot something again once it warms up. Grigsby said he and his team also filmed another video at NIU that will be released in mid-February.

Watch Grigsby’s slow dance video below: