World renowned break-dancer Jarius King AKA Man of God sits down with Church on the Block to talk the evolution of breaking. From the block to being a worldwide phenomenon, we’ve seen the four physical elements of hip hop change the face of music.
We’ll pause here to include the 5th element, knowledge; as well. With the emergence and growing “popularity” of Christian Hip Hop we are; as the elders would say, getting back to our roots. Praise God? Praise God.
Kings’ love affair with the dance began in his teens. “I always struggled with self confidence issues. I was short. I always been skinny. So, people always had commentary, things they’d say about my weight. “From a personal level, it really made me realize, physically I am strong.”
Although he did well in school, he admits that “Breaking was something that really challenged me to really use my mind in super creative ways.”
But this isn’t a fairy tale. This is a story about the exploitation of a community. King, a student of the culture talks the “real life” not so pretty origins of the artform and how the culture was romanticized in the movies.
“One of the things that really drew me to it in terms of the cultural aspect is one; when we really look at it, people say it was a way for youth to get together and solve their differences non-violently. It’s like whoa! Some of our elders will tell you they were still stick-up kids back in the day. New York back then, where they grew up south Bronx, rampant poverty, slumlords, crack era, crack being filtered into black and brown neighborhoods. They were still wildin’!”
He goes on to say what attracted him to the street dance “when you look at it is a war dance…it’s competitive.” It embodies the “rawness” of growing up in the “hood” and speaks directly to the struggle of black and brown communities. “It’s music that really speaks to the black experience. And is rooted out of hundreds of years of cultural lineage.”
And with the advancement of the internet, we see the same struggle is happening all over the world, so it’s no surprise that breaking and hip hop have become the dominating force it is now.
Next year the dance is taking over the world stage. What started out as international competitions has now turned into an official Olympic sport. Just a little behind the scenes history; the street dance debuted back in 2018 in the Youth Olympic Games in Buenos Aires.
It was such a huge success that it is now going to be featured in the 2024 Paris Olympics along with surfing, skateboarding and sport climbing. And it will be open for both B-Boys and B-Girls. At first glance it would appear that Hip Hop has come a long way from the boogie down block. But again, this isn’t a fairy tale.
“Breaking…having traveled the world and other communities adding their own cultural influences and understandings. And also misunderstandings and appropriation all in the mix. Breaking is kind of like everywhere. It’s attached to hip hop traditionally in terms of the framework we give it; the 5 elements. But in my opinion, it’s not a hip hop dance no more.” Jarius explains.
When asked about whether or not we’ll hear a lot of Hip Hop during the Olympic competition, he answers emphatically, “No not at all! You’ll probably hear some production that’s reminiscent of hip hop. Or using some of the same 808’s or the sounds but in terms of bpm’s or actual people rappin’; no.”
With it being centerstage at the Olympics, it’s doubtful we’ll get progressive lyrics, but rather the all too familiar “glamorized” version of hip hop.
What does the future of breaking look like? Let us know what you think in the comments. And don’t forget to tune in Sundays at 10 am est. / 9 am cst. to Church on the Block on Holy Culture Radio, Sirius XM, Channel 154. Follow our host Pastor Phil, Pastah J and DJ Ruckus on Instagram and join the conversation!
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