Editorial: When is Cultral Preservation Playing the Race Card?
SINCE WHEN IS CULTRAL PRESERVATION PLAYING THE RACE CARD?
Some of you know me from my Locking days others know me from my work in the music industry, Well, allow me to introduce myself. My name is Michael Frenke. I’ve been an audio engineer for over 25yrs. Working with some of the most well known artist out there When I was a dancer i was known as peek-a-boo .a member of the “yoyo brothers”, “the which away dancers”, “thirty 3 rpm”, and danced with some of the best since the inception of Locking in the early 1970s. It truly amazes me that, after more than 30 years, the dance has not only survived, but has progressed to the point of global influence.
Generations have experienced the joys of locking!!! But many from my era can also remember the lack of opportunity that existed for those born on the wrong side of the tracks. With all the opportunity that exist today, I know that there are many out there that just cannot understand the circumstances that existed back then. So It puzzles them when the true story is told of the struggle and the people that lived that struggle. Many of today’s beneficiaries of that struggle holler that they do not receive what they deserve because of our desire to tell that REAL story, They holler that they are the victims of reverse street dance racism, It is remarkable and unbelievable that an entire generation can forget what the situations was when locking was first developed , what’s more shocking is that they ask us who lived it to forget.
I believe that the world must know that the history involved around the contributions of the many of the minorities, and especially the African American history has always been distorted. Most never hear the stories, of Marcus Garvey, Sojourner Truth, George Washington Carver, or the Buffalo Soldiers, The stories of Black wall Street, or Rosewood was originally never taught or they were distorted, So why is it so unthinkable that our younger generation has been taught a distorted view of the dance Art form of Locking. It only seems to reason that the people who don’t want the true story and inspirations of any of the above events to be told, either have something to gain or something to hide.
In my 25 years of musical involvement, I have found the music industry much the same way, Artist with the social advantages or opportunities have often befriended or studied other cultures, songs , music and ideas and that access have often put millions of dollars in the hands of those that had a social or racial advantage. While those with the talent and ideas could only watch and holler foul, just ask Little Richard about the Beatles inspiration, Ask John Travolta his inspiration for the dance he did in the movie saturday night fever. Elvis himself, once told the press his inspiration came from Blues and Gospel music. I know that many people do not want to here that. Is it because Elvis is the king, So I guess the King couldn’t possibly be inspired right. But thank God that he had the strength to acknowledge where his inspiration and ideas came from.
Many who where inspired by early locking don’t have that strength The facts about Locking remain the same, although there has been many great contributors of all races and nationalities down through the years. The facts are that it was born in the African American Community at a time when racial inequality existed. It is the product of a struggle and movement. At that time areas were segregated, bussing and integration was just beginning, so at first the dance movement was confined to the African American community.
1.Do not be misled or mistaken. the street dance phenomenon started in the streets of Watts, Compton, Inglewood, and South Central L.A. not on the stages of Hollywood.
2.It was considered , raticle by some, to ethnic by others. And a dead in non career path by many parents.
Now I ask you How many people did u see in 1972 at WATTSTAX Concert in the L.A. Coliseum representing the middle class or the supburbs of Orange County or better yet the San Fernando Valley, neither us nor the dance had yet been accepted in those areas. That’s the way it was and will forever remain in the true history,
Now comes the beauty of The dance it opened doors, Some people were willing to cross those lines and mend those gaps. The art form allowed us to go places and show people who we couldn’t even be around or socialize with before the dance, and it allowed people who was not exposed to our cultures to experience them first hand, It built friendships, It worked through racism. And now that we won’t change that history and put some of those that came later in the beginning, with those that bore the struggle. we hear their cries of foul and from some of the very ones that financially benefited from their social advantages of the time. How remarkable things are when times appear to change.
The Point that I’m making has nothing to do with how well someone may dance, it has more to do with their acceptance and respect for the heritage of the art form they now claim to represent. . This is something that many great street dancers like Skeeter Rabbit, Tony GoGo, Bishop CoCo, The original Captain Crunch and many of my other peers did not just dance but still Live.
Now here I am,34 yrs. later, being put in situation where i just have to speak up.it is truly sad that because of greed some of the pioneers that i so admired, and their need to break so many brotherhood street codes in there pursuit for glory and the distortion of the history, That they did not speak up long before Lockerlegends had to put it out there,
It was not LockerLegends that created the group name LOCKERS WHITE. It is only obvious that it was done by someone who understood the social advantages of using that DISCRIPTIVE name during those times…and those are some of the people that today are hollering foul the most,