Krumping Africa

American photographer David LaChapelle’s 2005 krump documentary, “Rize,” (trailer here) included a laughable section that invented a history of the dance genre among “traditional” Africans.* I guess since the dance originated and was popular among black teenagers and young adults in poor parts of Los Angeles, it had to have African origins. But not even LaChapelle would have guessed his documentary’s enduring legacy back on the continent. Take this recent four minute video, above, about krump’s popularity among teenagers in Liberia. Then there’s this video shot in Cape Town of “krump crew” Royal Fam Kings (R.F.K.) [H/T: Dylan Valley]:

Finally, remember when visiting filmmakers (and music producers) spliced together images of krumping Rwandan youths with European dance music:

* As Ed Halter, reviewing the film for The Village Voice, wrote at the time: “… Attempting to provide deeper historical background, LaChapelle suddenly cuts to what appears to be tribesmen dancing, wrestling, and face painting. Inserted to follow a statement from one performer that his skills simply came naturally, the footage appears without context or explanation. One suspects LaChapelle meant to offer an illustration of krumping’s ultimately African roots, but in fact the anonymous tribesmen’s dancing looks very little like that of the SoCal teens. It’s as if a Martha Graham documentary suddenly jumped to stock shots of traditional Irish jigging but left its argument at that. Far more remains unsaid about how krumping incorporates more historically recent gestures. Break dancing is given a brief nod, but even casual observers might recognize elements of electric boogaloo, capoeira, and ballet; one kid even high-steps a cakewalk.”


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