Educated Bboys Part 2: The Business of Bboying
There has been an increasing amount of talk about the need for bboying to move to the “next level“. Bboying has evolved at a rapid pace over the past 10 years. The number of jams thrown, prize money awarded, bboys dancing and even sponsors involved in the culture have all grown exponentially. Despite the significant growth, there is still a lot of ground to cover in order to get bboying to where it could be.
[blockquote align="left"]I’d like to see bboying on television, where battles is watched on tv like world cup soccer, or grammy awards. I’d like to see bboy companies rise up, making millions, affecting the consumer market, and in return putting money back into the bboy communities. (Bboy Dyzee)[/blockquote]
“Hopefully one day we can have bboys getting paid like athletes, like Tony Hawk. That’s what I’d like to see bboying get to.” (Bboy Roxrite)
“I’m hoping that the scene comes to how it is for skaters where you get to that level where you could live off of this...” (Bboy Keebz)
(interviews can be seen here MoreThanAStance)
Quick disclaimer: Yes, we dance because we love the dance. We are passionate about it and do it for the love. I’m not saying the focus needs to be the money. BUT, how great is it when you can do something you love and get paid well for it.
The bottom line?
Bboys deserve to get paid. Think of the hours you’ve spent on the floor training. Countless hours. There are some bboys that are putting in the same hours LeBron James, Derek Jeter, Peyton Manning and Shaun White are putting in. Do those athletes deserve to get paid more than bboys? No. But there is a HUGE business surrounding each of those sports that has been meticulously planned to appeal to the public in order to generate revenue.
If you think skateboarding is more popular than bboying then attribute that to the fact that a group of smart individuals put together a great business plan to market skating to the public in order to increase the popularity of the sport.
“Skateboarding grew faster, because those OG skaters, usually from decent homes, actually had the money to go to school and bring skating to a pro level.” (Bboy Dyzee)
You might scoff at shows like America’s Best Dance Crew or So You Think You Can Dance (although you shouldn’t scoff at SYTYCD because Tadd is KILLING it on there) because of how “commercialized” or “not true to the roots” they are, but they have shown us that there is a HUGE dance market out there. People love to watch dance. The connection between the music and dancers resonates well with the public. When the public loves something there is money to be made. There is a major disconnect between ESPN — sponsors — the public — bboys — competitions. The key is to find a way to link these together in a way that will be mutually beneficial for everyone involved.
The whole point here?
We need some educated and business savvy bboys to step up and help guide the culture to the next level where they can help bboys get the compensation they deserve. We need bboys to start acting more intelligent when they do interviews so that the public will take them a little more seriously. We need bboys to begin to make themselves marketable.
Dyzee, Roxrite and Keebz have a good vision. Bboys should be sponsored. There could be bboy tours, or professional bboy leagues that have competitions aired on ESPN. These are all possible, but it is going to take educated individuals within the scene to make it happen.
Why don’t we just hire some businessmen to help move the scene forward? That might be one of the worst things that we could do. Anytime you outsource work you end up with individuals who do NOT understand the needs of your group/company. We don’t want a random group of suits telling us what bboys need to change and do in order to get paid. We need individuals who understand the needs of the bboy culture and the business world so that the two can be merged to the benefit of everyone involved.
Recently, the need for greater education has been recognized and there are several groups trying to help make that possible. A huge tip of the hat to The Bboy Spot/StrifeTV for recently sponsoring a bboy/bbgirl scholarship.
You might not be the next Bboy Ronnie, Bboy Roxrite or Bboy Kid David – however, with an education you could stay involved with the culture long after your body has fallen into an arthritic mess. We need marketers, salesman, accountants, designers, business managers with bboying backgrounds. I’ll never be invited to judge an international event, or compete in the Red Bull BC One, but if I can get involved in the business aspect of bboying I will still be able to contribute to the culture that I love and care about. We can all contribute in different ways. Bboying continues to give me what I need and I will continue to do the little things I can do to help give back in some way.
I had the opportunity to exchange some messages back and forth with Bboy Dyzee who is actively seeking to help move the scene to the level it needs to be at. He had some suggestions for bboys everywhere on how they can play an active role in properly promoting the bboy culture.
“I would suggest to bboys, to start thinking about the future, not just for yourselves, but for the entire community. Start thinking about, how can I do my part, not just for me and what i believe, but how can I include everyone. When something good is happening, support it! Share it, tell people about it, because without support, none of these things can happen. Join OUR Bboys assocation, get to understand the OUR system, and keep an open mind, always being a student. When you see a problem in the community, don’t complain, find a solution. Look for people who already have solutions, and work together. Don’t just think about what you believe, and what you like, think of others as well. Don’t divide the community, unite!” (Bboy Dyzee)[divider]
Up Next: Educated Bboys part 3: Finding The Balance.[divider]
What do you think it is going to take to move bboying to the next level? Leave your comment below!