Saturday, July 16, 2016

David Hopkins displaying visual, kinetic aspects of hip hop knowledge

David Hopkins, b-boying in Fort Greene Park, Brooklyn, NY in May 2010.

When I led trips to New York City with students, I often asked them about any special plans they had in the city. They'd almost always respond by mentioning key places that they would like to visit, like Times Square, the Empire State Building, Harlem, and so on.

But not David Hopkins, one of my student travelers. Back in 2010 when I asked him about his plans, he gave a novel answer. He said he was going to do b-boy poses around the city.

Early on when I'd ask my men travelers why they were interested in the trip, they all had a common answer: New York is the birthplace of hip hop.

Al Henderson, Justin Slay, Dometi Pongo, and of course David were all deeply immersed in various kinds of music and especially rap. A trip to NYC was, for them, a kind of spiritual journey to a place that gave rise to an art-form that they cherished.

For David, striking b-boy poses around the city was a playful, thoughtful, and creative way to pay homage to a history of music that he long studied and observed. He was also acknowledging that hip hop was not confined to the realm of the sonic. Instead, the music or, better yet, the culture of the music was also visual and kinetic.

A notebook on knowledge, creativity, and collegiate black men

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