The hip-hop dance scene of b-boys and b-girls isn’t exactly underground — 39 million votes were cast for the second season finale of “America’s Best Dance Crew” on MTV, and movies such as the 2007 documentary, “Planet B-Boy” and the movie “You Got Served” from 2004 (or, for that matter, the previous generation’s “Beat Street” and “Breakin‘” and “Breakin’ 2: Electric Boogaloo,” all from 1984), have all proven that there’s a healthy above-ground audience for the exciting moves and urban beat culture of hip-hop dance.
But last night, when Erin and I attended Rockers Rumble III, the third annual competition of Colorado breakdancers, held at CU-Boulder’s Glenn Miller Ballroom, I had a flashback of nights hanging out in crowded clubs, makeshift concert halls and low-rent bars in the early ’80s, when I used to be a music critic. The scene back then was small but growing, and there was a palpable sense of community, kind of a shared language and shared values. Everyone knew what was good and what was bad, and everyone agreed on the sound and spirit of the underground music scene.
Check out the move that comes about 20 seconds into this clip — and then watch for a couple more seconds. Continue reading →
Super Cr3w, the Las Vegas-based group of b-boys that includes Asian Americans, has won the top honors for the second season of producer Randy Jackson wildly popular show, “America’s Best Dance Crew,” on MTV. Congrats to the six-man group.
We took a break from incessant Olympics viewing to watch the live MTV season finale program last night, and were holding our breath. An astounding 39 million votes were cast for these two finalists, a reflection of how huge the hip-hop dance culture has become.
We wanted the other finalists, SoReal Cru from Houston, because they’re all Asian Americans, two of the members are women, and one of the members said poignantly during the season premiere that their parents expected them to be lawyers and doctors but they wanted to pursue their passion for dancing. Continue reading →
We happened upon a two-hour special tonight for the final auditions before the second season debut of “America’s Best Dance Crew,” and got entranced by the amazing moves by the groups from all over the country that tried out for the series. These crews compete with incredible, acrobatic break-dancing and hip-hop popping, spins, leaps and tumbles. (The video above is from MTV.com, on its page of bonus videos from the auditions.)
Whenever I see an Asian on TV, either in a program or on a commercial, who’s the brunt of some comedic joke, my first reaction is to clench my stomach in anticipation of some personal embarrassment, as if the Asian on screen could easily be me.
But here’s a TV commercial that makes fun of an Asian guy, that manages to be funny and doesn’t bother me (although the first time I saw it I did clench up, expecting that slap in the face), and respectful of the Asian dude’s dancing ability — that is, until, he screws up.
The commercial, for Southwest Airlines, makes me chuckle every damned time, and I’ve seen the thing a lot. What makes me feel good about the video is that the African Americans in the scene start out skeptical of the Asian guy’s ability to impress the woman (that’s Ellen Cleghorne from SNL, isn’t it?, but then everyone in the club, includig the DJ, give the guy his props and start urging him on. That’s when he knocks over the turntables.. and the tagline for Southwest comes in: “Want to get away?” Continue reading →
I caught a cool video story today on NYT.com, about a Double Dutch competition held in Harlem. (You may have to do a search for it once you get to the NYT video page).
Interestingly, the competitive African American tradition, which counts the number of times you can jump rope in two minutes and then add on layers of amazing acrobatic performances, has become a focus of Japanese youth who are fascinated with black culture. The NYT story points out that Japanese teams have won “Best of Show” in this competition eight out of the past 10 years, and sure enough, a team from Chiba, the city northeast of Tokyo, won this event.
Another manifestation of this cross-cultural fascination are the young Japanese women who dress in retro-funky ’70s black styles, who are called “ganguro” — “gang girls.”