Can We Talk About?…The #BeforeILetGo Challenge: A Tutorial

Bunny hop, bunny hop, drop! Pop!

Can We Talk About?… is a weekly series that’s completely vers and therefore going to Purgatory, I guess?

As if Beyoncé hasn’t given us enough, your summer barbecues and weddings just got extra lit thanks to her #BeforeILetGo challenge. Inspired by Queen Bey’s infectious cover of the Frankie Beverly and Maze classic—and unofficial black national anthem—“Before I Let Go,” Instagram has been filled with people doing their best dance routines—from a young expecting couple to Beyoncé-approved drag all-star Shangela.

But if anyone’s done a definitive take on the challenge, I’d have to give it to New York-based choreographer Charles Smith, Jr., whose slaytastic routine has been shared by Essence magazine, Bey’s mom Miss Tina Lawson, and the Queen Bey herself, among others.

No wonder, as Smith and his troupe of fabulous black women are serving you looks, hair, body, face, and some truly inspirational choreo in the heart of Harlem—and again in Times Square.

To prepare you for your own challenge and all those impromptu cookout dances, let’s break down some key moves. Count us in, Janet!


The “I Just Wanna Have a Good Time”


The “Twirl That Ass to the Right”


The “Bunny Hop-Drop-POP”


The “Cross, Turn, and Clap”


The “Shuffle and Glide”


The “Drop It Down Low”


The “Bring It Up Roll”


The “Step On Em, Step”


The “Step, Kick, Stomp”


The “Swag Surf”


The “Rock da Boat”


Now live your best life!


Before you let go…


Before you let go…


And don’t forget to put some shoulder into it.


Study the full routine below because it will be followed by a pop-and-drop quiz.

Lester Fabian Brathwaite is an LA-based writer, editor, bon vivant, and all-around sassbag. He's formerly Senior Editor of Out Magazine and is currently hungry. Insta: @lefabrat