Crew Vs. Crew
In any exploration of the origins of bboy subculture and its crucial role in the development of hip-hop, one of the best rabbit holes to dive into is the work of Bronx street photographer Ricky Flores. The stark black and white imagery from these formative years carries a unique fluidity and exuberance, but Flores was capturing something more than just innovative dance moves. Breaking was the phoenix rising from the (literal and figurative) ashes of Bronx neighborhoods in decay, left to crumble after property values declined, oftentimes intentionally set ablaze by unscrupulous landlords for insurance payoffs. Bboy subculture was, and continues to be, the survival, rebellion and joy keeping youth alive and moving forward.
“It’s a story about art and human beings’ resilience, and their ability to use art as a tool to rebuild themselves and create beautiful things out of tragic situations,” Flores told VICE in a 2019 article by Cassidy George about the bboy emergence in 1970s New York. It’s something totally worth checking out as an excellent starting point to exploring bboy history and relevance.
In present day Austin, we have the BBoy City and Hip Hop Culture 5-Day Unity Event, honoring the bboy/bgirl roots, 50 years of hip-hop culture, and celebrating the 29th anniversary of BBoy City, the longest-running breaking/hip-hop convention in the South. Everything kicked off Wednesday night with the Breakin’ Austin – Can’t Be Stopped art exhibit at Riches Art Gallery, and continues today through this weekend with events showcasing DJs, breakers, art and graffiti artists. The entire event culminates with the Snipes Pro Breaking Tour finals competition at 3 p.m. Sunday at Waterloo Greenway at Moody Amphitheater, featuring a performance by Brownout.
Tonight, the BBoy City and Hip Hop Culture Unity Event continues with the first annual block party at Riches Art Gallery, 2511 E. 6th St., starting at 7 p.m., with a street wear fashion show, live painting, art installations and more.
<figure id="attachment_262571" aria-describedby="caption-attachment-262571" style="width: 626px" class="wp-caption aligncenter"><figcaption id="caption-attachment-262571" class="wp-caption-text">Brownout performs at the BBoy City XXIX main event: Snipes Pro Breaking Tour, Sunday at Waterloo Greenway.</figcaption></figure>