by andrewmam

So I finally sat down, gritted my teeth, and finished the second draft of my paper.

— In Medias Res — Cutshot to beginning of film —

In the first journal entry of my Asia journey in 2011, while I was in Taiwan, I wrote down in my list of life goals that I wanted to contribute back to B-boy/B-Girl culture in a form other than just dancing. I’ve been able to do that with some teaching here and there, but I still don’t view myself that highly as a teacher. I always begin my workshops by saying that I’m just a kid with an interesting perspective, who had a lot of time to think. In this same journal entry, I pondered the idea of writing a paper on the evolution of modern breaking. In April 2011, after a series of epiphanies and events, I embarked on that journey. Over that year I would travel the world, live in Korea, work for R-16, interview my heroes and pioneers, finish my last semester, get into and out of my first relationship, and eventually turn in that paper as my final to a class about sociological research methods. By the way, my degree is directed towards International Development as in a liberal arts degree specializing in the developing world and how shit gets exploited all the damn time. This paper was out of my element and training, but I went for it anyways.

Although I got an A (what what!), it still just wasn’t finished. My professor had done her extensive work with women who had abortions, single mothers, and other affected communities. She was amazing, but hadn’t in the slightest clue much about hip-hop, so her voice didn’t carry the authority of someone who could devastate me with her feedback (unless she gave me an F, which would’ve sucked lol). Over my research period I had met some of the eminent scholars in the break-field, who encouraged me to send them my work for them to review and give me feedback. I was too afraid so I said I’ll send you my second draft. I procrastinated, kinda hard. I was traveling to Cambodia to finish my sister’s band’s music videos, and around the US and Canada for workshops, battles, and judging. I didn’t necessarily waste my time, but I didn’t make the most productive use of it–pushing this monstrous paper I had been working on to the back of my mind for a while.

Just today, after some prodding, as well as rounding out the low curve in a spiritual, mental slump (I’m on the way up), I sat down and finished my second draft. I sent it out, to a lot of people. I’m a bit selective about who I share this work with but if you’re super seriously so-totally interested, then send me a message or leave me a comment, girlfriend. At this point, the paper has become less about academic ambition and more so about personal understanding of my approach to the dance and the culture of hip-hop as a whole. The basis of the workshop I have been teaching in the last half of last year entitled “Perspectives: Foundation and Originality” is essentially based on this paper and all of its research. The paper helped me solidify the workshop’s talking points and major ideological foundings. So to receive feedback on this paper from people I respect and admire, is to shake up the foundations of my understanding, and with their questions and contentions, build it stronger and lay more atop of it. This is an exciting prospect, and one befitting the lay of the land I have painted for 2013.

I’m a half relieved and half nervous. There is so much to do and expand upon. For now though, I’ll be content here and continue my job search. These works and others will take to the wayside until that feedback returns, and my mind begins again to revolve around pondering the nuances and subtleties of this b-boy/b-girl culture I love.

So with that said,