David Gonzalez/The New York Times A paint-flecked floor is Nelson Seda’s stage. When the weather is too cold or wet, he clears the chairs from his bedroom, turns up the music and dances, his arms and legs a blur of impossibly graceful angles. An hour later, he may pick up his markers and draw – on canvases, old posters, shoeboxes, anything. And for good measure, he might end the day freestyle rapping.
SIDE STREET David Gonzalez reports from corners of the city in words and pictures. Nelson is a young man possessed – in every sense – of a singular idea. For him, the various aspects of hip-hop have become touchstones, inspiring him to push himself and share his art with others at workshops, after-school centers and parks. Only 20 years old, he’s always being told that he was born 25 years too late for the culture’s heyday.
But he’s catching up.
"I have to find my own way,” said Nelson, who goes by the name Chief 69. "It’s something I can’t ignore. We have to find that expression. We all seek that voice. We all look somewhere to be accepted.”
Nelson was born in Brooklyn. His family moved a lot – to Florida, Harlem, and the Lower East Side, before he settled near West Farms in the South Bronx. It wasn’t until he was in New York in the third grade that he heard his first rappers. By the time he reached high school, graffiti writers and dancers entranced him.
The world made perfect sense.
"I ended up meeting people dancing in the hallway and I said ‘Yeah!’” he recalled. "I was never a dancer before. I mean, I danced if my grandparents gave me a dollar to dance salsa with my little sister. I had to be bribed.”
By the time he graduated from high school in 2009, he was intent on making his mark in hip-hop. He went out and promoted his paintings, taking every chance to exhibit them. He became a familiar face at summer park jams in Harlem and the South Bronx, often being the first to arrive and the last to leave. Jorge Pabon, known as "Popmaster Fabel” and a legendary old-school B-boy and vice president of the Rock Steady Crew, took note.
"He’s an ambitious young puppy who started out a little awkward trying to get into the groove of all this,” he said. "But he’s passionate about the dancing. He’s got the right spirit. He’s using his intellect. He’s really a philosopher of sorts.”
Inside his bedroom, where the hiss of the radiator blended with the blare of music from a neighbor’s apartment, he smiled modestly at the compliment. He admits to spending a lot of time thinking about what it means to follow this path, which others would dismiss as childish or trivial. Even some young people on his block – which is down the street from a youth center that hosted storied rap battles in the 1970s – have little idea of the culture he has embraced.
That’s why he has been busy hosting workshops and panel discussions about hip-hop. And when he has an exhibit, he’ll often just give away his work. He thinks having a piece made by someone you know from the block is worth more than anything bought in a variety store.
He once wanted to be famous. Now he just wants to make art accessible. He hopes to land a job at an after-school center. That would make him happy.
"It’s always good to assure yourself that you have some impact,” he said. "We have to. That’s why when we walk out our doors every day, we decide to put a smile on someone else’s face. Sometimes when I dance, it’s not for me.”
The weather was too cold this week to go outside to the park. His radio was busted – the battery had melted. Undaunted, he followed the example of an earlier generation of Bronx B-boys and improvised. He turned on a small television and tuned it to a cable channel that played ’70s disco and funk. He smiled as he heard the chugging guitar of "Shame, Shame, Shame” by Shirley & Company.
Can’t stop me now. Hear what I say. My feet want to move, so get out my way.
In a tiny room where the walls are covered with his art, Nelson Seda, Chief 69 and founder of the Floor Royalty Crew, spun and popped, dipped and darted, gloriously and happily. For now, he danced for no one but himself. And there was no shame.
Word To Da Wize Episode 1 : Asia One promoter of world famous bboy event "Bboy Summit", joins BNC's brand new web series called "Word To Da Wize", a look into the aspects of creating a successful event as explained by well known promoters. Outline of questions asked in this episode: 1. Why did you start throwing jams? 2. What are some of the most important components of a jam? 3. What do you do to draw your audience in? 4. What do you suggest for new promoters to get started? 5. How to work your negotiations 6. What is the most difficult part of organizing an event? 7. Last thoughts
To all of my friends in the NYC area DECEMBER 17th I and THE BRONX BOYS ROCKING CREW are organizing and hosting a complete underground TRUE HIP HOP cypher of EMCEES and BEATBOXERS, come out TO THE SOUTH BRONX...WE NEED TO BUILD AND UNITE TO FIGHT THE SYSTEM THAT IS NOT LETTING US WORK TOGETHER AND SHINE TOGETHER RESPECTIVELY....IT TAKES ALL OF US TO MAKE A TRUE CHANGE... POSITIVTY AND NEVER NEGATIVITY
correction: the person that uploaded that video made a mistake, its not jazzy jay in the background..according to crazy legs Rock Steady Crew himself it is Dj Whiz Kid, promoter is Kool Lady Blue. 1982
Breakfest 2011, Sat 26th November, Birmingham, UK. A DJ Mushroom event, sponsored by Taboo.Highlights of the 3 v 3 comp, winners were Trinity Warriors (Kid Karam, Ling, RJeezy). This clip shows a few of the up and coming uk b-boys.DJ's Aiden Leacy and Skamrok, Judges: Gabor, Nene and Foggy,Host: Swifty,Music: Laura J Martin - Spy (The Simonsound remix)
Red Bull BreaKin 2011 regional competition witnessed its grand and stylish finale marrying modernity and tradition on the Roman Amphitheatre in Jerash, Jordan with the crowning of B-Boy Waleed as the Arab and Middle East Ambassador to the “Red Bull BC One” Championship.The Red Bull BreaKING, launched for the first time in 2010, is the first Regional B-Boy Championship in the Middle East, based on a one-to-one battle format. It consists of National Qualifiers in each of the participating countries [Qatar, Oman, UAE, Kuwait, Jordan, KSA, Lebanon, and Egypt for 2011] where the top 2 B-Boys from each country were sent to represent their countries in the Red Bull BreaKING Middle East Final Battle, Jordan, Jerash on Oct. 7th 2011