By Dyzee Supernaturalz
Whatsup everyone, it’s Dyzee here, writing another blog, this time to urgently bring to your attention an important matter about the future fates of our worldwide B-Boy culture. I’m going to try to break this down to you as simple as possible in four major points. To simply state, right now, we the world wide B-Boy Community are at a critical point in B-Boy history. Our culture, is heading towards another global media explosion, much like it did in the 80’s. There are only two possible outcomes, I’m sure you already know one of them, which is similar to what happened after the mid 80’s. So I urge you to really think about this, and hopefully rise up and make a stand, before it’s too late.
Let’s take a look at the four points.
Point #1: “We are at a critical point in B-Boy history”
At this current moment, in 2014 has brought in the birth and rise of the Pro-B-Boy movement. Now, I’m sure some of you may be wondering “what the F**** is the Pro B-Boy movement?” In essence, it’s three things:
- The rise of organizations, associations and leagues in our scene who want to take B-Boying to the next level in terms of high quality and production events and battles.
- The rise of the professional B-Boy as a career. Where B-Boys actually can make a decent living from not only travelling and judging, but also battling, and more importantly, being paid to practice!
- The rise of “B-Boy ACTIVISTS” who are fighting to unite this divided scene, and to not only preserve the culture, but also to protect it from outside (or inside), selfish interests, while building opportunities and ways that all B-Boys (past, present and future) can have an equal opportunity to make a decent living.
The Rise of B-Boy Organizations, Associations and Leagues
Unless you’ve been living under a rock or in your own bubble, you may have already heard whispers about the different movements towards B-Boy governing bodies, each of them having their own objectives, motivations and methods for creating these groups. Below is a list and brief description of the different organizations recently formed:
- The “UBA” (the United Breakin’ Association) is an association founded in the USA, comprised of a committee of mainly east coast B-Boys. But, most interestingly, it is being put together by a lawyer/sports agent named Ellen Zavian who has represented many NFL players, and negotiated large contracts for professional skateboarders and other professional athletes. http://unitedbreakin.org/
- “UDEF” (the Urban Dance & Educational Foundation) is a not-for-profit corporation run by breakers and promoters, which is putting on the “Pro Breaking Tour” in the USA, where cash prizes total $250,000 US dollars, the most ever in B-Boy cash prize history. The interesting thing about this is that the person behind the funding, who is known as Silverback, is a Wall Street corporate investor (or something along those lines) who has been heavily invested in the underground B-Boy community, not only by being a middle-aged B-Boy himself, but also by sponsoring large sums of cash prizes to underground B-Boy jams and providing various types of work and gigs for the B-Boys. This man/organization has the actual funding ability to take breakin’ to the next level, and UDEF seems to be taking the initiative through the Pro Breaking Tour. https://www.udeftour.org/
- The “WBS” (World B-Boy Series) is a union/federation of the top worldwide battles in the entire B-Boy community. For the past few years, top events such as BOTY, UK Champs, IBE, FSS and R16 have been attempting to find a way to join the events together rather than compete with one another. Without disclosing too much information, it’s safe to say that there is an initiative set forth to create something fairly new revolving around these major events.
- The O.U.R. B-boys Association is a complete grass roots unofficial association which focuses entirely and specifically on the unity of the world B-Boy perspectives and factions, creating standards based on the collective knowledge of the top B-Boy’s in each various element, while creating a product, method and system that can not only protect and preserve the B-Boy community from external or internal monopolization, but puts the power in the hands of the B-Boy community itself. www.ourbboys.com
- The “OUR BBW FED” (OUR B-boyworld Federation) is the combined efforts of the OUR B-Boys, Bboyworld, and many high-level grassroots events to create an international ongoing league season where the winners of a participating international events will automatically get invited to the next participating international event while collecting official points on a ranking system. This joint venture initiative is meant to focus on the uniting of the worldwide community while creating an international platform for all B-Boys to have a chance to travel, battle, and judge worldwide. www.bboyworld.com
The Rise of the Professional B-Boy as a Career
Some people have had to accept that for them, there is no way to make money in B-Boying, so they get jobs and break as a hobby. Others have made B-Boying their life and career, and frankly, don’t have any other options.
Up until now, the main four ways to make money through breakin’ (while actually having to be a B-Boy) is:
- Commercial work (television, music videos, movies, concerts etc)
- Theatre (shows, performances etc)
- Judging (free travel, food, hotel, nice judging fee plus treated like a king)
- Teaching (regular classes, workshops, etc)
But who would ever thought that B-Boys can be paid to just B-Boy, paid to battle, paid to practice, and paid to do what B-Boys love to do, which is practice, battle, and earn a rep?
The Redbull BC One Allstars are the first sponsored B-Boys who get a sponsorship salary to just be good at breakin’, not to mention, monetary incentives for every battle they win, and even, how far they place! Other crews in the scene such as the Ruggeds are working to get a full crew sponsorship in order to do what they normally do, which is just travel, break and battle.
The following question was asked on the “B-Boy Statistics and Research” group on Facebook:
“If you could B-Boy professionally as a career job, and make enough to pay the bills, support your family and send your kids to college, which of the following would be your “Dream” B-Boy job”?
– 2.8% said they want to be a Judge, travelling and judging worldwide competitions. It’s ironic because this is how most full-time B-Boys make their money in B-Boying.
– 5.6% said they want to be Artist by filming oneself and produce B-Boy videos, sort of like how Skateboarders make their living.
– 6.6% said they want to work in the Entertainment industry doing commercials, movies and being extras. In the USA, the majority of the best B-Boys moved to Los Angeles in order to find work as underground B-Boying doesn’t really pay the bills.
– 14.1% said they want to work in Theater, creating shows, concerts, and performances.
– 24.5% said they want to be a teacher, doing workshops, classes, or coaching.
– 46.2% said they would love to be Battler who is paid to compete and represent their crew, city or country! This goes to show how much the “Battle” is an important and loved aspect of our culture.
To check out more b-boy related statistics, join the B-Boy Statistics and Research group on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/groups/204841879681584/
The Rise of B-Boy Activists
In the past few years, a lot of B-Boys and Organizers had to operate with a “Hustling” kind of mentality. A lot of cliques were made, as well as character assassinations and fighting over judging gigs.
Now there seems to be an increase of positive thinking B-Boys who are working to correct the problems of B-Boying culture. There are B-Boys who no longer talking about just one absolute correct way to break, but rather, all types of approaches are equally valid components of our community, while some B-Boys are looking forward and supportive to the day that B-Boyin goes Professional.
So as you can see, the rise of the Pro-B-Boy movement is bringing us to a critical moment in the history of B-Boying. These new movements and ways of thinking were never in the culture until now which brings me to my second major point….
Point #2: “B-Boying is heading towards another Media Explosion”
If you look at the past history of B-Boying, you will see that Breakin’, in the blink of an eye, exploded around the world through the media in the early 80’s. In the UK, it was estimated that there were one million people who had some experience with breaking. Even the smallest little towns had their own B-Boy crews, who would travel to the other towns and battle the hometown heroes. City and town squares were always packed with different crews breaking on cardboard. But as we all know, the media pushed breakin’ as entertainment… thus all types of entertainment trends eventually come to an end. By the mid 80’s, it completely died and our culture went into the dark ages.
Then in the mid 2000’s, another media explosion came. Who could have thought that it would happen in the most unsuspecting country, South Korea?! Breaking came back but this time, the “Battle” was what was marketed. Korean B-Boys who won international battles became overnight national heroes, not only to Korea, but also became heroes in the international worldwide B-Boy community as well. Korea became a “cool” country. B-Boy crews became superstars, each crew having their own professional studios, managers and marketing teams. Corporations and banks sponsored some of the highest level events such as Cyon battle, KB battle, B-Boy Unit, and eventually the government recognized being a B-Boy as a legitimate profession. Each crew had countless fanatics and even organized fan groups!
Unfortunately, just like the popular dance trend era of America’s best dance crew and So You think you can Dance national contests, B-Boying’s popularity came to an end once the audience realized that unlike sports, the winner of the battles are often determined by the luck of a judges panel, rather than a fair game and set of rules where “may the best man win”.
So these two media explosions in B-Boy history can be used to determine two things:
- B-Boying certainly does have the ability to be “HUGE” enough to gain the interest and support from not only sponsors and investors, but also fans and supporters.
- That history tends to repeat itself, and that it’s no longer a question “if” B-Boying can explode in the media again but, “when”?
As I explained in my first point, if we can read the signs and see how much progress the B-Boy culture is growing, then we can predict that soon there will be another media explosion, either in a specific country, or worldwide. However, as history tends to repeat itself, this brings me to my next point….
Point #3: “There are only two possible outcomes of the next media explosion”
When the next wave (global or national media craze) sweeps back in to our community, it is going to be a great time of abundance for the people in the B-Boy community. Much like the B-Boys of the 80’s and the Korean B-Boys of the mid 2000’s experienced, there will be a lot of huge benefits such as:
– Fame and Exposure (Media, Television, fans, fanatics, B-Boy mania)
– More teaching gigs (classes, workshops, etc)
– More performances gigs and shows (concerts, showcases, theatre shows, etc)
– Plenty of opportunities to travel (tours and guest appearances)
– More industry work (commercials, movies, etc)
– Sponsorships and Funding (popular brands, investors, government grants, etc)
– More high production level battles and competitions
– Bigger cash prizes
– More judging gigs
– More people who break
– More places to practice
I know some people may be thinking, can this actually happen? As I stated in my previous point, this HAS ALREADY HAPPENED BEFORE (in the 80’s and in Korea) and it’s no longer a question of “can it happen” but rather, “when and where”? But when and where is NOT the major concern. The biggest concern is, what will happen AFTER the media craze ends? There are only two possible outcomes:
A) B-Boying will die out, and we will be worse off than the situation of B-Boy culture today
B) B-Boying will have a solid foundation to remain in popular mainstream culture, even after the entertainment value fades.
FATE #1: “If B-Boying Dies Out again”
Just like in the 80’s and in Korea, once the media finds B-Boying no longer “entertaining”, they will pull out of the culture, and so will all the sponsors, funding and support, thus B-Boying will return to another dark age, WORSE than the situation of B-Boying today. If you watch the documentary “The Freshest Kids”, you will see what the Bboys of that time went through, from famous, to being kicked to the curb, with people hating on Breakin, saying its “played out”.
The same situation happened in Korea, I was here to witness it myself. Each crew had their own studios and staff managing and promoting them. Each crew was busy with multiple shows lined up and I remember B-Boys driving nice cars. There were huge battles happening every week, broadcasting regularly on television. But once it began dying out, in the blink of an eye, all events and crew funding came to an abrupt end. Practically all crews lost their studios, sponsors and majority of fan support. Although the Korean B-Boys pretty much lost everything they worked so hard for, there are two reasons why the B-Boys didn’t end up being treated the way the B-Boys of the 80’s were, which was:
- The Korean B-Boys who continued to win international events bringing National Pride to Korea
- Government supported events that continued to support the international respect for Korean B’Boys.
But no matter what, after the next media explosion, if B-Boying dies out, we as a community are going to be left far worse off than we are today.
FATE #2” “If B-Boying Survives the next Media explosion”
The fact of the matter is, that if everything stays the same in our B-Boy community, history will repeat itself a third time. However, if we the world wide B-Boy culture can come together and prepare ourselves for the next media invasion, we just might be able to create our own self-sustaining industry and thriving B-Boy culture, much like how the MMA and Skateboarding cultures were able to accomplish.
Imagine a world where B-Boys are heroes? Where all B-Boys can get paid just to battle, practice, film themselves, teach, and make a decent living, enough to support their families, and put their children through college? Imagine turning on the television and seeing the highest level battles on television? Imaging a B-Boy future where people don’t have to fight and hustle over money, where there are B-Boy related companies who pay B-Boys to just be dope, and government support for the B-Boys as artists and athletes. This may seem like an impossible dream, but this is how it was in Korea not too long ago. Imagine this, at a global scale.
So as I pointed out in my previous points, a media explosion is inevitable. If nothing changes, we are doomed to suffer the same fate as the bitter OG’s in the 80’s and the Korean B-Boys in the late 2000’s. This brings me to my last and final point…
POINT #4: “We urgently have to rise up and take a stance, before it’s too late”
So as I continually keep stressing, another media explosion is coming, and if we don’t prepare ourselves for the next wave, then when it passes, our years of progression may be swept away. Now some of you may believe me, and some of you may not, but can you really afford to do nothing? Do you think that if the B-Boys in the 80’s had known, they would have taken some precautions? How about the Korean B-Boys of the 2000’s? Do you think they could have foreseen how big B-Boying was going to get in Korea? Do you think they saw the trouble that lied ahead? Do you actually think it can’t happen again? As I explained in my earlier points, look around you, how big everything has gotten, and how far we’ve come. Take notice to all these B-Boy organizations and associations being formed. B-Boying is growing worldwide, what do you think the future will hold? Nothing ever stays the same.
So you may be asking, “What can we do? What can I do?”
- Make PEACE
- Make a Stand
- Spread the Word
#1 Making Peace
If you haven’t noticed, B-Boys within our culture have been continually bickering and fighting over philosophies and approaches to this global art form. People are continually trying to assassinate each other’s characters and credibility, making movements to divide this beautiful culture. “You’re not a B-Boy”! “You’re not original!” “Your stuff is too easy!” When are people going to realize that we are all parts of the same community and all our approaches are equal and valid? We need to accept and recognize all skills, approaches and members of this global culture and community. If you’re a foundation B-Boy, make friends with a Power head. Break together and learn from one another. Recruit someone into your crew who has a different approach than you. If you’re all about originality, try dancing with someone who likes the fundamental and traditional approach. We are all doing the same thing, just expressing ourselves differently. Isn’t that the beauty of this culture?
#2 Make a Stand
Of all the event organizers out there, I know what it feels like, to just want to only break 24/7 and not have a care in the world. But I had to sacrifice my own B-Boy competitive career in order to make the changes that I believe will take our scene to the place it deserves. If I had chosen to just break instead of move to Korea to try and make some changes for the benefit of the B-Boy community, then who else would do it? I’m making a call to all B-Boys and B-Girls worldwide to become activists in this B-Boy culture. We need to rise up and unite in order to ensure that this culture heads in the right direction, and we need to do this together. If there is a movement or project that helps the scene in any way, you should support it, or better yet, join it. If there is a project that is dividing to the community, raise your voice and demand justice, fairness and equality. If you notice monopolization or exploitation going on, STAND UP and say something, however politely, respectfully and with love.
#3 Spread the Word
I hope this blog has sparked some sort of urgency in you. Are you ready for the 3rd media explosion? Do you think we are ready? Let other people know about this. Share the knowledge, before it’s too late.
So to conclude this article, my hopes are that B-Boys and B-Girls across the globe will acknowledge that we are at a critical point in B-Boy history, headed towards another media explosion, with an outcome that will either lead to another dark age, or to a self-sustaining B-Boy industry. Now is the time to rise up, join the Pro-B-Boy movement, and make a stand for what is right, while spreading the word to all our B-Boy brothers and sisters worldwide, before it’s all too late… for these are the future fates of our worldwide B-Boy culture.
Here is a link to a plan that I proposed 3 years ago, which I sincerely believe needs to be done in order for us to survive the next global craze: http://youtu.be/wOq1HojBJog
Artist: Janice Kim-Alba