November 9, 2005
It was a sit down, not a get down explained Rokafella.
Rokafella is a trailblazer. She was one of the first. If today's b-girl feels she's in a male dominated scene, imagine back in the day. Rok recently organized a b-girl discussion and book launch for "We B*Girlz", a book that celebrates being a b-girl. The event was a first of its kind. I was in NYC visiting friends and discovered an ad for Hip Hop History Month at The Bronx Museum. This was part of that program. You can imagine how excited I was to be able to attend such a gathering, and in the birthplace of it all.
I wanted a circle. With so many b-girls in the room, it seemed wrong we weren't dancing, but I understood. It was time to get down - to business.
The concept was to talk about "being girls". What does it mean to be a b-girl? Has the cypher changed for b-girls? Sexual tension. Getting older. Education. Why are we doing this in the first place? It kind of reminded me of your typical battle roadtrip chat. B-girls and boys love talkin' shop. But this time, we were taking notes.
The discussion was overwhelming. I was frustrated with the debate at times, but also inspired that this is a start to something.
Some of the key points from the panel: "b-girl" is a title that is earned. It's about rocking the beat and earning the correct respect. The creators of the book brought up Europe. In France there are a lot of b-girls, as well as events for b-girls. There's a connection there. Around the world, where ever you look, there are more b-girls than ever before. Someone in the audience asked if breaking could become The X Games? This is something I feel strongly about, using the template of success from skateboarding for b-boying/b-girling. Rok stressed that if money is to be made, it has to start right here. She also added that we need to get our paperwork together and grant proposals going. And we were warned to be careful in the archiving of our own history - do it yourself!
When shebang! was interviewed by 'NOW Magazine', writer Sarah Liss asked if being a b-girl is a form of activism. Good question. Yes. It is. Just stepping into a circle as a female says something. shebang! was created in a response to the lack of b-girls in Toronto. As a crew we feel we have helped develop a space for b-girls by teaching classes, featuring Bonnie & Clyde battles at break & enter, and even running this site. And we did all of this, by simply doing it, just like "We B*Girlz" the book and the sit down.
I bought five copies of the book, one for each member of shebang! I did so for a few reasons. Aside from knowing the girls would love a copy, there's a book about b-girls. A book! All about b-girls! And if there's one thing I took away from the night, it was to support. I also wanted to own a piece of what was missing from the history books - herstory.
So take you ideas b-girls and make it happen! "It's Just Begun."
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