Throwback: B-Boying & B-Girling
Malcolm Mclaren’s “Buffalo Gals”
B-Boying started in the late ’60’s and ’70’s in the Bronx section of New York City but like so many Black cultural products was heavily influenced by James Brown. The ‘B’ means in most cases the boy who would dance to the break part of the song cued up by the DJ. The dances were called top-rocking, up rocking, power moves and the suicide or freeze started by Frosty Freeze and the west coast contributions of popping and locking. The backslide was a dance that b-boys were doing and it eventually became commercially known as the moonwalk when Michael Jackson learned it from Jeffrey Daniel and Geron “Casper” Candidate and did it on Motown’s 25th Anniversary show. Early pioneers of b-boying include The Rock Steady Crew, The New York City Breakers, LA Breakers, The Electric Boogaloos and The Lockers. There were B-Girls such as Bunny Lee who was the first female to join the Rock Steady Crew, Debi Mazar, Baby Love and Suga Pop.
‘Xanadu’ was the first film to show locking with an appearance from the Electric Boogaloos. Fred Berry who was a member of The Lockers is best remembered for playing Rerun on the TV show ‘What’s Happening.’ ‘ Wild Style’ was the first hip-hop movie and The Rock Steady Crew are captured performing at their best. ‘Beatstreet’ from 1984 was directed by Stan Lathan (Sanaa’s dad) and produced by Harry Belafonte and it features the famous clip of The Rock Steady Crew and The New York City Breakers facing off in a battle. Malcolm Mclaren’s “Buffalo Gals” video has dancing from The Rock Steady Crew and it helped hip-hop become popular in England. Michael Holman hosted the first hip-hop TV show in 1984 called ‘Graffiti Rock’ where The NYC Breakers also get camera time. The movie ‘Breakin'” showcased the dancing of Shabba Doo who was a member of The Lockers and Michael Chambers who was a well-known street dancer. This movie gave the media license to call B-Boying breakdancing which is a term most purists detest.”Flashdance” from 1983 also gave The Rock Steady Crew another display for their talents. Most people know that Jennifer Beals had a body double to do most of the dance scenes but they don’t know that Crazy Legs put a wig on to do the famous continuous backspin on the floor during the audition scene. Like the other elements of hip-hop culture B-Boying spread to the entire world. Contemporary b-boy crews that are recognized include Flying Steps, Massive Monkees, Gamblerz and Last For One.