Hanna is ‘Golden’ on TikTok
Hanna Is Golden – she’s the TikTok phenom with more than 150,000 followers glued to her every move, most of which are dancehall.
Adding to her allure are her Korean descent, Swedish residence and long history of teaching dancehall when the term ‘tick-tock’ was associated with a whining technique (and clock sound effect) versus a social media app.
Hanna Is Golden, whose given name is Hanna Min-Jung Herbertson, started going to dance schools at six years old, and was introduced to dancehall while growing up in Gotland.
“It was there I first heard Chaka Demus & Pliers on the radio and saw Shabba Ranks and Sean Paul on MTV,” Hanna Is Golden told The Gleaner. “I immediately fell in love with the vibes and tried to learn how the dancers moved in the music videos. The style was like nothing that I had ever seen or heard in my life, but I was immediately hooked.”
Her interest led to investment as she started ordering DVDs of parties like Passa Passa and immersed herself in dancehall culture from the moves to the fashion. She learnt popular dances created by iconic figures like Bogle, DHQ Carlene, Keiva Di Dancing Diva and John Hype and began hosting her own fusion dance classes in Sweden, integrating hip hop, French Caribbean and dancehall moves. She eventually moved to New York in the early 2000s, where she continued her dance classes and learnt from Jamaican dancers there.
“After teaching, performing and pushing dancehall for ten years in NYC and on platforms like YouTube and Instagram, I was exhausted,” she shared. “I felt I needed a change and took a break from dancing. I had been doing more and more digital marketing for different companies and artistes, so I decided to move back to Sweden for a while and focus fully on this new career path.”
The creative strategist and A&R was initially drawn to TikTok as a tool to help her clients, but found a personal creative escape in it too. From her signature laundry dance videos to her dance breaks as a world traveller, Hanna Is Golden has amassed more than three million likes as a TikTok content creator.
“Several of my videos went viral in the US, Canada, Panama and around the Caribbean where I did skanking, dancehall and whining last year,” she shared. “Worldstar, with over 33 million followers on Instagram, and artistes like Chance The Rapper reposted me. It has been so crazy and unexpected!”
Hanna Is Golden said the feedback has included commendation on her research on the dance forms. The comments about her being Korean-Swedish doing dancehall also come, but Hanna said, “It’s all good; I am used to breaking norms and crushing stereotypes.”
Plus, tapping into a new generation when she thought she had shelved dancing has been a delight.
“From young people saying I dance like their grandparents to older folks reminiscing on the days when they bussed the Gully Creeper at parties. Recently when I visited NYC and Jamaica, people came up to me and told me they follow me. After posting content for over 15 years and thinking that I would not be able to reach more people, TikTok came along and changed all that.”
With her additional hat as a DJ, she is quite busy but is trying to set aside time to conduct online dance classes through her HiP WERRK brand.
“HiP WERRK is a fitness dance class concept that I developed while teaching at a gym in Bed-Stuy, Brooklyn. It pays less focus on choreography and more focus on drills for the hips, core strength and vibes.”