The Loud Whisper Takeover

6: Krump Dancer and Barber: Creating an Empire of Transformation

May 22, 2024 Cindy Claes Episode 6
6: Krump Dancer and Barber: Creating an Empire of Transformation
The Loud Whisper Takeover
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The Loud Whisper Takeover
6: Krump Dancer and Barber: Creating an Empire of Transformation
May 22, 2024 Episode 6
Cindy Claes

Krump is a dynamic and expressive dance style that originated in South Los Angeles. As a powerful form of self-expression, it allows dancers to release pent-up emotions. This dance style emphasises the importance of community and provides many young adults with a positive lifestyle alternative in an area where joining gangs or following the wrong path is not uncommon.

When longtime friend Fudd, founder of the Demolition Crew, joined me for a conversation, the complex tapestry of his upbringing unraveled. In an environment where the lines between Blood and Crip territories are blurred, it was his mum's parties and her community-building spirit that offered him a sanctuary from the harsh realities of street life.

As we reminisce about spirited late-night Krump sessions in Fudd's local barbershop, it becomes clear that this space transformed into a refuge, a haven of peace and togetherness, for Krump dancers and young adults seeking guidance.

The Demolition Crew's T-shirt designs symbolise the resilience and healing power of dance. Today, Fudd advocates for mental wellness and supports community members through various activities, including Krump dance events, business mentorship, and mental health discussion groups. His barbershop is becoming a true cultural center, unlike anything you've ever seen.

Our conversation not only reflects on the past and our memories of our first Krump theatre show but also serves as a call to action to empower the next generation of leaders. Fudd and I explore the importance of mentorship and breaking generational patterns of negative behavior that no longer serve us. Fudd is a role model who didn't fully grasp his potential until he stepped into his role as a leader.

Demolition Crew's next venture is the creation of a cultural center and a nonprofit to expand the reach of their transformational work.

PS: In the Krump World, I am Lady Fudd 

Guest's Instagram:
@fudd132_kutz
@demolitioncrew100

Guest's Contact:
demolitioncrew100@gmail.com

Want to send Cindy Claes a DM?

Support the Show.

Let's continue the conversation on Instagram:

Cindy Claes - Host
@cindy_claes

Loud Whisper VZW - Producers
@loudwhispervzw

Join the community:
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Show Notes Transcript Chapter Markers

Krump is a dynamic and expressive dance style that originated in South Los Angeles. As a powerful form of self-expression, it allows dancers to release pent-up emotions. This dance style emphasises the importance of community and provides many young adults with a positive lifestyle alternative in an area where joining gangs or following the wrong path is not uncommon.

When longtime friend Fudd, founder of the Demolition Crew, joined me for a conversation, the complex tapestry of his upbringing unraveled. In an environment where the lines between Blood and Crip territories are blurred, it was his mum's parties and her community-building spirit that offered him a sanctuary from the harsh realities of street life.

As we reminisce about spirited late-night Krump sessions in Fudd's local barbershop, it becomes clear that this space transformed into a refuge, a haven of peace and togetherness, for Krump dancers and young adults seeking guidance.

The Demolition Crew's T-shirt designs symbolise the resilience and healing power of dance. Today, Fudd advocates for mental wellness and supports community members through various activities, including Krump dance events, business mentorship, and mental health discussion groups. His barbershop is becoming a true cultural center, unlike anything you've ever seen.

Our conversation not only reflects on the past and our memories of our first Krump theatre show but also serves as a call to action to empower the next generation of leaders. Fudd and I explore the importance of mentorship and breaking generational patterns of negative behavior that no longer serve us. Fudd is a role model who didn't fully grasp his potential until he stepped into his role as a leader.

Demolition Crew's next venture is the creation of a cultural center and a nonprofit to expand the reach of their transformational work.

PS: In the Krump World, I am Lady Fudd 

Guest's Instagram:
@fudd132_kutz
@demolitioncrew100

Guest's Contact:
demolitioncrew100@gmail.com

Want to send Cindy Claes a DM?

Support the Show.

Let's continue the conversation on Instagram:

Cindy Claes - Host
@cindy_claes

Loud Whisper VZW - Producers
@loudwhispervzw

Join the community:
Buy Me A Coffee VIP Zone

Speaker 1:

Welcome to the Loud Whisper Takeover podcast. Today I'm talking to somebody that is into the crump world. I'm talking to a very, very dear friend of mine that I met about 15 years ago in the south of Los Angeles. We did projects together. We actually met in some sort of youth center because I got some fundings out of London and I wanted to learn about crump. When we met I was just a little lost chick, you know, in the south of Los Angeles trying to find Crumpers. When he found me it took me under his wing and our friendship has just been growing since then. We've done projects together in San Francisco. We did a Crump theater project together that took us both, with some people from his crew, to Hollywood. So I'm introducing you to Ferd Willie Hodge, who has Demolition Crew and he's tuning in straight out of Los Angeles. Hey, ferd, how are you doing?

Speaker 2:

Good I'm good, I was super excited.

Speaker 1:

I was super excited about our session today because we often have phone calls and we always end up having deep spiritual conversations, so it was a must for this podcast.

Speaker 1:

So the first thing I want to ask you, because you have a very rich life, because the way I see what you've created is not just a Chrome crew. Obviously, you're also a business owner, like the whole Chrome movement you created has become international. You have a t-shirt business, you are a barber, you are now building some sort of cultural center. But before we look at all of that, can you first explain how would you describe where you grew up? What is society like? What are the vibrations like? What are the challenges that people are facing? Can you give us a context, the challenges that people are facing? Can you give us a context.

Speaker 2:

So my parents were really young, my mom had me at 16. She moved out, got her own place Her and my dad got married and stuff like that and then moved to. I can look at it now and say that it was a more gay-affiliated. It was a more um, gay affiliated. It was a tough area, a lot of drugs being sold on the street, like right, and you know, when she moved there she was like, you know, because she also did, my parents, um, you know they don't like to brag about it or you know, but they had to protect themselves by being a part of gangs. You know my mom was, uh, was a, was a. What you caught quick, my dad was blood. So with them moving in the area they had, uh, you know it was a more blood area but it took a like that's what mom almost like, it's sort of like a big homeless or it's what your libraries, the other members, so I would hang out at the house and stuff like that.

Speaker 2:

So when I was younger I got had access to all these people and she kind of look at bag. He kind of used it as a like a. She was more like a community leader, yeah. But that's how I look at it now. But at the time there's just young people having fun going to parties, stuff like that. So I was around a lot of different gang members and drug dealers and stuff like that and it was like I said, it was a tough area. Yeah, it was crazy, but it seemed like being a kid and being protected by all these know, but it seemed like it was, you know, being a kid and being protected by all these people. So, like it was, it was cool. At the time.

Speaker 1:

Looking back I'm like, oh shoot, that was a tough area, you know, but it actually made me pretty tough also so can I just summarize it for people that are not from the us and that might have less of an understanding of what gang life actually means in the US. So number one there were. In the South of Los Angeles there are two big gangs, let's say it like that, the Bloods and the Crips, and you are basically the child of a union between a Blood and a Crip, which actually never occurs.

Speaker 2:

Like this is a rare event.

Speaker 1:

So can you explain what that actually entails, because that in itself has an impact on the story of who you are today.

Speaker 2:

Like you said, they're like naturally sworn enemies, like the Bloods and the Crypts, so they'll, you know, come together and you know form an exilion and like move into another area that they would probably deal with these. You know they're forming this union and like moving to another area that they wouldn't be with. These. You know like bigger people to look up to they kind of in a way, like I said they had. They used to have parties a lot and they used to have all kinds of people from all over. So they had like this respect from everybody because of where they were and they used to just throw parties, two or three day parties.

Speaker 2:

I would be downstairs just moping around, jumping around and stuff like that Looking at it. That's the only reason I look at it now. Growing up in that environment, I just had all these different people that just was there to protect me and family members. I didn't know no difference who they were, good or bad, because they always treated me with respect because of my parents and I was Willie and Val, so they were trying to create better life for us.

Speaker 1:

Like I said, they was pretty young when they had us or had me I want to talk about this concept of being related in between brackets, of being related to a gang, because I think, from a european perspective, because gang culture, we don't relate it the same way and what. What I've learned from you and correct me if I'm wrong is it's not because you do all the bad stuff right that you're part of the gang.

Speaker 2:

Sometimes you're far away from the center of all the bad actions, but you still are related to it or you have to sort of identify with it so that you can navigate society, school, in the streets in general yes, for the most part, every neighborhood has their like their territory and sometimes it can be by blocks, like a certain radius, can be like a blood blood gang here and then two blocks down, another blood and another couple blocks down from here, the Crips. So they all have their territory. They have their territory where they work. They have their grocery stores, their stores, gas stations, schools.

Speaker 2:

The area I grew up in I had to go to blood schools, even though that was like a school within a district, but most cases I had to go to us, even if it wasn't my district. It would be better for me to go to a school that had similar people that I grew up around so there wouldn't be no conflict because of how intense it was. How intense it was in the 80s I mean, especially back in the 80s it was really intense with, you know, drugs and crime, crack epidemics and stuff like that. So being raised, born and raised in that era, it was really tough.

Speaker 2:

So you had, like I said you know blood schools, crib schools, la, for the most part of South Central and Los Angeles, and all these different areas, theserip schools, LA, for the most part of South Central Los Angeles and St Compton, all these different areas, these short areas, but we all, because we grew up in it, we know exactly what areas have what. It's the Crips over there and Long Beach, it's the Bloods over there and Eaglewood. You know what I mean. It's different parts, so we know how to navigate. You know what I mean Because of you know what I mean Because of the connection that we have to, like family members and people that stay in different areas.

Speaker 1:

Yeah, so from a very young age you're very aware that you're sort of of this mixed union and you're very aware of how you, as a a mixed blood crib sort of kid, are going to have to navigate society in general, streets, school yes grocery store yeah, so so for the most part, like my mom's side was the side that was mostly gangbanger the most she actually.

Speaker 2:

We actually had my aunties, my auntieie, my uncle, underneath my mom, my younger siblings. They all both came back. But my whole family moved from a crip neighborhood and it wasn't just us that moved to this blood. We had like four different, four or five different apartments that we occupied in our same building. So my grandmother came from another auntie the same thing. So my grandmother came another actually then the same thing for my dad's side. They came too, but the rest of his siblings and stuff didn't interact with gangs. It's like he was the only one because his thing was. It's like he uh decided to be a part of the gang just to protect his siblings because, like they were guys in Texas they would try to recruit you, stuff like that. That was his reason that he told me for him being a part, but he didn't want his siblings to be a part of it. So so I had overall in our, my apartment building that was a. It was a new apartment building that had just been developed. It was like probably born. They moved in. We probably had 10 apartments on. Like as far as my dad's side and my mom's side, we had 10 apartments, yeah, 10 apartments, 10 apartments in the apartment building. It's like an 80 unit apartment building. So we had 10 of them. It was like most of my family, so it was a.

Speaker 2:

I grew up around a lot of my family my dad, siblings, my grandmother, both of my grandmothers. They all stayed in the same front building but, like I said, the neighborhood was also gadget-festive and it was a lot of different activities going on. So I would say Ramal actually left the gang life when she had me, but she still had. You still have, like this, this programming, this certain concept about how you need to move and maneuver. Even though you're trying to like move yourself from it, you're still there. It's just certain things that it comes with being raised in certain areas in LA where you had to certain way you wear a certain color you wear, you put certain hat to a certain way you wear a certain color, you put certain language that we all can't understand, certain things that you don't, certain things that you don't do with your hands, certain things like that. But my mom was, like, real respected. My parents were really respected in the area. Everybody took a life and was always over the house.

Speaker 1:

So your upbringing the environment was rough. There were, like you said, it was, gang infested. There were drugs, like the crack epidemic and stuff. When I met you. Another thing I want to also say is that you are in your early 40s and I remember when we met and you shared that story, I also had to think, wow, I need to think we are friends. You're in your early 40s and you were born with parents that related to a gang.

Speaker 1:

Like that is also something that, as outsiders of the US, you know, like we don't. Sometimes we don't realize how ingrained it is in society. So, and then I met you about 15 years ago and we worked with a lot of crumpers. Crump is a dance form that is actually trying to give positivity to people so that they can process their emotions, express their emotions, also be part of a positive movement. And when we worked together, there were a lot of young people, young adults that had parents that were in prison, parents that had problems with addiction. There were some young adults or young people that were in and out of real gang life. What would you say is society like now? Is it still very similar, or have things changed in the surroundings now? Is it still very similar or have things changed in in the surroundings? I'm not talking about what, what your work does, because your work is obviously creating a lot of positivity, but, generally speaking, what is the environment?

Speaker 2:

the environment in la right now it has morphed. It has morphed and changed, is as stern as it was before. As far as like you you know what I mean Like I can wear colors now. I never used to wear colors. I will never wear blue. I will never Like. When you met me, I was wearing black. I was always in black.

Speaker 1:

If I can say one day, because I didn't have enough money to rent a car when I was in LA. So I was taking public transport and I once came to your barbershop and I was wearing something with color and you were so upset with me. You were like Cindy how dare you coming like? That here and then you drove me all the way back to Hollywood because I was not allowed to go back home alone.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, because at that time it was like the color thing was, if you could walk to one neighborhood it might be harder to go to the next. But it's like you know what I mean. Me being who I am. I always wanted to make sure that I took care of my people, because I know the stories and the different things that could possibly happen by wearing these different colors. So the colors everybody's dressed in the way they want to dress.

Speaker 2:

So people are fashion forward now, but you still have gays. You still have people being a part of gays or wanting to live a certain lifestyle. Now it's not as like you used to have to like stay in the area to be a part of that neighborhood. Now they're kind of recruiting from everywhere, so it's not as crazy as it was Then. I think people were kind of like a little bit more, just about like you know, traveling and you know and just trying to be better. But you know it's still got its bad parts. It's still like tough to go to certain areas. It's still like know when you hurt people, hurt people and uh and other hurt people also want people to be or feel the way they feel about certain things, because you still got fatherless kids, you still got drugs, still got I mean it's just it's morphing to different things. You still have people that's impoverished mentally when they're afraid to like step outside their comfort zone because that's impoverished mentally, really afraid to step outside their comfort zone, because that's what it's raised for the most part, or that's their parents at this point.

Speaker 2:

You know, like you said, I'm 44 now, so my view and take is slightly different. So look at it if I was in my early 20s or 19. Most people it's in their bloodline. Now it's a generational thing. Look at it if I was in my early 20s or 19. Most people bloodline that was a generational thing. The grandma gang, the dad, the parents. Now it's a part of a legacy. So our very best psychos really hard. La has a big gay culture period. I mean, from Hispanics to the Blacks to the Whites, it's a lot. The Asians, it's a lot of different components that come into play and they all influence everything we do, everything we do out here, on how we move and how we operate. Especially, if you stay out here on the left, you will start to attach certain things, not in bad ways All of it is bad, but you tend to walk and move a certain way after you get familiar where to go and where not to go.

Speaker 1:

And so that's why you're saying there is like literally a social pattern that needs to be broken and all your work is actually going in that direction, and with the barbershop and with the cultural center and with all the crump activities. Now, one big thing in the world of crump as well, for people that don't know, is that there is some sort of system of mentorship, I would call it so you have the big homie that is looking after, yeah, his group of homies, but there is really some sort of mentorship. Now, a lot of that, a lot of that mentorship was actually first expressed in your barbershop. And I want to talk about this because when we met your barbershop, what I was at the crossroad of those two territories, isn't it? Or it wasn't very far from the crossroad of those territories.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, right down the street.

Speaker 1:

And so what really happened in your barbershop? Because it's at the crossroads of those two territories of gang versus gang. But your barbershop, the way I view it, I feel it was like a mediation center. It was where everybody seemed to be okay to meet, and I feel it's really because of you, because you navigated both worlds for a long time.

Speaker 2:

All right, so before we go all the way there. So, like I said, my mom and my pops they partied, they had fun, but they're not outside of just partying. They made their home a safe space for people to hang out, chill, you know, do adult things. So it was always people at the home. So that's what I know. All I know is that we always had people there. The people cared for us, they protected us. They protected us. They treated us like family, and my mom used to always have the music playing all day.

Speaker 2:

So we were always dancing, we was always dancing. It was always something, even if our friends would be over. We'd be like well, if you're not dancing, you got to go. You can't just be in here and not do nothing. You can't just be sitting. Still, you got to bounce around. You gotta go. You can't just be in here and not do nothing. You can't just be serious, you gotta pass around. We chug chug a lot, while as a child she always picked me up to chug chug.

Speaker 2:

So you know, also with them throwing parties like one, one artist. Everybody should know this person. He was basically basically out of our hole and started doing music from my mom's daughter, dr Dredd, famous artist producer. Dr Dredd yeah, his career, basically the seat was planted there. My mom saw seeing that and the way I was protected. So, like you know and that's you know, a lot of it is like gang culture or just family gay culture type.

Speaker 2:

So when I hit a certain age and I got involved in, I've always played sports. I've played college football. I've always been a part of teams, even like the gays they look for people to be a part of their association or whatnot you know being in to do with selling type environment if they're doing good or bad. But it's always been a grain in everything I do. So when I got into prep it was like, oh, these are also the opponents and I'm just a likable person. So I had friends all over. That never stopped me from I don't care where you're from, they knew me for me. You know what I mean. People knew where I grew up at, but it wasn't a thing to me where, like, well, I can't be a friend because I stay over here. I think that's what sports did for me is open up the door as much as possible, shoot. I don't care where you're from, but I like you by the time we get to the barbershop I have like customers from all over, I have friends from all over and even like these dancers I'm meeting, I know.

Speaker 2:

So it's like nah, you know, in the neighborhood it was pretty tough. It was. It was like the crossroads. It was a couple different gangs. It was like the crossroads, it was. It was a couple of different gangs. That it was. It was this one gang's territory but this other gang used to hang there but we had access. Other gangs used to run by and try to shoot and stuff like that.

Speaker 2:

But I was working in an area at that shop and at the time because my mom I said because I grew up and I grew up down the street, I'm like if anything was to happen, I could call the people I grew up with and I let them handle it. I mean I can call, like they're literally two blocks there. So that's my thought process. It wasn't an anger story at the time because it's just something I thought just happened. I thought people get shot, people get everything, people, you just you get programmed in a way. You think that's the way it's supposed to be. So when we started having crumb sessions and stuff there, I don't have everybody turn over, yeah, because just to clarify.

Speaker 1:

A lot of crumb sessions were happening at the barbershop.

Speaker 2:

At the barbershop All the time.

Speaker 1:

During working hours after working hours nighttime, daytime all the time.

Speaker 2:

All the time and then not to all right. So I also had two kids at the time. It was yeah. So Lenny, when we had two, it was two, but it started off with Brennan. So Lennon, when we had two, it was two, but it started off with Brennan. So the respect that I had coming from my mom, that translates to respect that I have to the community, to all these different guys, to all these different people. So when I'm having a cramp session, even the gangbangers, they're like well, shoot, that's fun, that's his people, they're going. We cool, they're going't do nothing. They're not committed to what we call gay bag on them. Nah, they don't want to walk their desks.

Speaker 2:

It was a safe space, even though it was in a part of the neighborhood. It was a safe space where we could just get off. And it wasn't even my shop, it was somebody else's shop a friend, a beat co-worker but I just had access to being there as long as possible and sometimes we'd be in there two or three blocks away or just dancing. We just saw nothing. Thank God that nothing ever happened, just us being there. It was just cool. We were there. We were there pretty deep. We used to have weekly sessions. We used to have labs and we would do our actual pump battles rope pump battles when we had 40, 50 people, one small space.

Speaker 1:

Yeah, it was a very small space. I can't believe that you were 40 or 50 in there.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, yeah, it was a very small space I can't believe that you were 40 or 50 in there, yeah so I just want to fast forward now before we say what happened in between.

Speaker 1:

So you had this barber shop at this crossroad and I find it quite phenomenal because I feel like you are a person that is guiding people when they are at a crossroad, and so you are at that crossroad with your barbershop. So we're between two territories. You are actually talking all day to people and trying to get young people and young adults out of anything bad that they're doing. You're organizing crumb sessions as well, those that are into gangbanging. They even respect that and they're like nope, they're dancers, we leave them alone. Now I want us to fast forward, right? So 15 years later, here you are now, and for me you have created an empire and it's an empire of transformation. So can you tell us what you do? Because? Because there is the barbershop, the cultural center, the crump movement, the business. Tell us what you do, where are you at right now, and then we'll rewind.

Speaker 2:

So back then I didn't have to say what was going on. I didn't know what I was doing. I was a part of things and I felt like I had access to have sessions, have them regularly, have safe spaces, until one day somebody said, hey, that's all time, we didn't know that fun bit, keep me inside of trouble. And I'm like what? I'm like? Oh, that's right, because if we're sessioning, if we're dancing all the time, if we have something to do and a lot of times I was cutting these students hair for free, I was having it would be over to just even if it was sit down and talk they don't have time to get involved in certain things because they'd be so focused on let's go here, let's battle here, let's do this, let's do that. So once I figured that out, that's what I was doing. Now I can really effectively do it where it makes sense. And also I like to say that people still decide to do certain things, but it just I'm like okay, my mama did this. She didn't my side to do certain things, but it just I'm like okay, my mama did this. She didn't really understand how effective she was also, and my uncle also added value, because when I was younger, I was dancing with his dance crew when I was real little. So I'm like I love these people so much To this day. They both passed away about 13, 14 years ago now. But these people, I want to honor them in everything I do because that's who shaped me to be who I am to this day.

Speaker 2:

So I'm like I need to. I have like I've charged it up and manifested I'm like I need a warehouse. I need to. I have like I've charged it up and manifested the. I'm like you're the warehouse. I need a studio, I need it. Like this. I really want to be able to give back to people, give them a safe space where even if it's like today it's just a sit here Anybody can talk in a shop and shit with anybody Talk or whatever. And I know the hardships that people deal with with the streets and just being a person like business, money, finances, all that. So I'm like all right, and also with the stuff that Cynthia said to me and stuff that I didn't believe at one point she was like bud, you can do anything. And I'm like who is this person that be telling me I can do anything? She don't know what I thought through. She don't know what I'm doing and he's like no.

Speaker 2:

You saw something that I didn't even see myself, but now I get it. So I'm making a point to you know, I got a shop, an actual shop. It's not a farmer's shop, it's something. It's somewhere where I actually get here, but it's a safe space for creativity. Safe space, uh, uh, like life, just for creativity, to release your thoughts, come up with ideas. I mean, I help people conjure up ideas for their brands. We have here I have the barber chair where I work has a printing station where we can print up clothes.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, if that's me, or if I want to teach somebody else to possibly do it, I want to give people the tools to actually also learn how to start a business the podcast room where we actually do a lot of podcasting and there we can switch out the backdrop or whatever we can get into anything. So, yeah, we have the podcast room and my friend he works the space out, does his podcast, and we also do our club sessions here. This is also DCX headquarters for us to do a session weekly to practice, and I wanted to make this place the epicenter of what we do in life, just what we do as dancers or what we do as a collective, like I said, just being able to come here and just share ideas and come up with different things. I call this a charging port. This is where you come to charge it. It's like the ultimate charging port. This is where all the energy is. This is where all the energy is Because I don't welcome nothing negative because of stuff prior in the past.

Speaker 2:

So these steps have been taken to get to this point.

Speaker 2:

It's really to really help people mentally and spiritually, help them artistically, help them come up with ideas and find ways to create a business or finances so you can talk about certain things and we can bust our things with a lie when it's really like people are really frustrated about certain things in their life, when you talk about it and I guess they can feel relief.

Speaker 2:

This I have to max this space out first to get to the next step, which is going to come soon and I know it's going to come soon. It's an actual warehouse with a lot more space, office space and things like that, so we can do a full cultural center where we can have hard days for kids, have summer programs. I want to also do a day program for people with developmental issues and stuff like that I just want to open it up across the board and get people access awesome like do a day program for people with developmental issues and stuff like that. I just want to open it up across the board and get people access to different things that they're kind of eliminating out of LA, out of LA County. It's like you're not really worried about people's creativity anymore, being able to take their ideas to the next level. So I don't know, I'm invested in other people's dreams and stuff.

Speaker 1:

Now, what I mean now, it's always been like that, but even from not really understanding that you were creating so much changing people, you start to become aware, you start to build bigger and bigger programs. Just to give people an idea, how many people are you actually touching right now in la? And then obviously your crew is international now, so how many people are you actually touching?

Speaker 2:

so in the crew dcx or demolition crew it's about 15 chapters around the world now and it's like we're actually like 200 members and that's just in the crew. That's also like the people that I connect with, the people I've pushed out there, motivated them to dance, to take dance to the next level or supported them to take a project to the next level or get in photography, videography, animation or even be a producer. I'm in all these different areas. I'm constantly just like instead of investing in people's dreams.

Speaker 2:

I go and I see like what they can do in ways they can touch people and reach out to people. So I've noticed that all you need is one, one person. You just change the trajectory of one person, the area they're going. You can change the world that one person. Just imagine Dr Dre was given an opportunity to flip a record at my mom's house because she used to have parties a lot in the school years. Today I don't want to be something or a person like that to be able to help spawn the next Dr Drake or next biggest artist. So I'm investing in people's dreams.

Speaker 1:

I want to talk about a big turning point in your journey, and it's actually also related to the designs of your t-shirts. Your t-shirts started with hammers, then there was a bear Tell us more about, and then now there is something to do with repair. So there was like demolition, like the demolition of challenges. Then there was a bear that sort of looked a bit roughed up, and then now there was the idea of repair. So there was a turning point in your life.

Speaker 2:

When we started the crew, we felt like a bunch of misfits, that was a bunch of different pieces that people didn't want. Like we felt like we was getting done a certain kind of way because we didn't dance. A certain way the collective wasn't a popular group or we just stayed there and like we wanted to dance. We didn't want to do all the extracurricular stuff, we just wanted to dance and we wanted to be characters when we dance. I'm a DC college fanatic. I was Superman is my favorite character. But we would talk about things like that Like, oh, we want to play. When we decided to start a crew, it's like we don't even pick DC, dc. Oh, let's do DC. So everybody, we would work on these characters. We'd be in a mirror and work on these characters, characters. I'm like we can't even see a scene. We'll be so famous. They were trying to sue us. So I'm like, oh, that crew. My cousin Blaze was like like what, that crew? I'm like that crew, that ain't hard. He was like that's weak. I'm like, alright, I remember something my mom always told me. She said whatever you do, go 110%. Whatever you do, go on it, demolish it. Like the demolition crew. And I was like, oh, dc Demolition crew. So I said, oh, they demolish everything and our thing can be to watch the dance floor, you know what I mean. And it can be more broader. That's just demolishing anything, any obstacle. That's our way, we're going to demolish it. We, over 110%. So when we started that we drew, we were like, all right, I have it. It happened to do our mistakes. Then the bear because, like I said, I felt like we was these individuals, that was these different pieces. The bear was. Really was us together, formed as one, like this texture, connected to this texture, that split down like a Chucky dog, like he just all beat up and torn apart and we came back together. It's breaking there and yeah. So we had that concept. It's like that's a definition. So yes and yes.

Speaker 2:

I mean, like I didn't think I love it, like the Brad cause I I was just doing t-shirts just to have I didn't think they'd love it, like the brand, because I was just doing T-shirts just to have I said, if not, we can't get trophies every year, like I'm a dude, like I get it, it's sports. I got a wall full of trophies, me and my kids, we all have football, basketball, track. We have all these trophies. So I had. I'm like, if we have this crew, what can I give them that they can kind of like look back and be like, oh, that's nice. Oh, I remember this time, friend, so I was like T-shirts. So I started making T-shirts and it was just a DC Donut Sink crew but you got DC clothes. So I was like dang, something was in my head that was like it's not done, but we were still making shirts.

Speaker 2:

So as we started to figure out that also with this podcast and what it's going to do because we have people that's gangbang, they come from gangbang, come from broken homes and things like that they deal with a lot of different issues and different trauma. Because we're allowing that stuff to come out when we dance, we're really tapping into the darker side and letting that stuff come out and in so many words, it's helping. It's helping us cope with certain things. So it's like therapy. Once I started to realize what it's doing and giving people a safe space, it's like, well, this is therapeutic, this ain't just some random dance from Los Angeles. This is something that can really help people and it's been helping. So we started attaching that to the brand, the condom brand, which was DC Clothing at first.

Speaker 2:

Then one day we was talking about the lead project on somebody else and he was like, yeah, you ain't going to say crew, we do our stuff and we do this.

Speaker 2:

And that he was like we break your barriers. And we both looked at each other like breaking bear, bear sort of bear, the idea of the bear that we already had created 10 years, nine years prior. Now it like integrate with what the clothing brand should be Breaking Bear is, I mean because it's still doing addition cues. So we're like, oh shoot, breaking Bear with a Play-O-Bear. So now we're like, all right, that's the brand, that's it. So now the logo, the hammer. And then we made 10 years as a crew. I decided to. What inspired me when I was younger were always like Transformers, voltron, like these different American partials and stuff like that I'm not for sure if it was all rare, but like Power Rangers. So when we made 10 years as a crew, we didn't make them so much. We now made it a decade. You can't tell me nothing about that. We'll ever quit now because we didn't made it 10 years. That's a big feat. 10 years made a decade. I decided to get this character his name is Baratron to symbolize a decade, so this symbolizes the decade 10, the number 10. We added the X for DCX of DC 10, the 10 year mark. So now that's why our name now is DCX. It's because we made the decade mark, but we just kept the X because now it covers everything we do on some brand. It's DCX breaking barriers. And we have the three characters, so the bear, the hammer and bear trap. And now there are three different stages with that the brand of mental wellness and where you at in your journey on getting better mentally. And so recently I didn't think it was complete, I'm making clothes. The last five years I'm just like something's missing To me.

Speaker 2:

The bear was always broken because he was broken up into different pieces. He's broke, he's broke, he's broken. And then recently, the other year, I'm outside running and I was talking to me and he was like you're looking at the bear world. I'm like I'm looking at the bear world. He said he was like, yeah, you looked at the bear world. I'm like I'm not looking at the bear world. He's broken, he's broken. That's also how I felt about myself.

Speaker 2:

I was always this broken person because of the way I was raised and stuff like that, and I have access to certain things, or certain things happen in my life. So he's out, you look at the girl. I'm like, oh, he broke. He said, oh, he's repaired. And at that moment I'm like, oh.

Speaker 2:

So I ran inside the shop my son's girlfriend's in here and I put the bear down and I said what does this bear? In one word, what does he represent? She said, and normally she second-guessed herself. She said repair. And I knew that moment I said, okay, now everything is complete, the whole puzzle, everything we're doing is complete. Because that's what I was looking for Spiritually. That's what I was looking for Knowing that, like because, like I said, I was looking at the fear, like I said it was me and I was also looking at other people. Like that it's like we're these broken people that just walk on the rocks each other, that we're these prepared persons for ourselves, walk to the works each other. Not that we're these prepared persons for ourselves, that going through these things eventually just test them for a bigger purpose, a bigger something to express to people that what we've been through is us, is how we dealt with it. So it opened my eyes a lot.

Speaker 1:

So now it brought everything full circles, everything we can do so um so repaired is one of the bigger uh messages I want to make sure I promote on everything we do now and that's so powerful because obviously, in this podcast we talk about our loud whisper, and so you had that loud whisper to create your t-shirts and the designs, but you felt it wasn't complete. And then, once you felt it was complete, okay, you know, there's the sense of demolishing, yeah, everything that is not serving us anymore. And then there is a bear that is all patched up, roughed up, and then actually he's repaired and you say now I went full circle. But since that moment, I feel everything that you're doing now is just it explodes, like it's becoming bigger and bigger. Since you came to that loud whisper that told you, yeah, you nailed it.

Speaker 2:

So just imagine starting that cruise about demolishing things and every day, like I said, every obstacle, everything that's in the way, just demolish, demolish, demolish. I never thought to think that after demolishing these things, that things will have to be put back together and, you know, need to be a lot stronger. And a lot of times that's what we do, because after the things that try to tear us down, we're built back up and we're more. We have a little bit more resilience than to just, you know, be torn down the same way we were torn down before. It's like no, I know where to go.

Speaker 1:

I know how this works.

Speaker 2:

You know you're more familiar with the attacks that you get on your spirit or your character or whatever you're working. So now I'm just to the point where, like I said, it's full circle. We're repaired. Now it's time to try to repair the people around us, the community, our friends, learning how to really use certain words that actually have the right energy and the right purpose behind it. So it's really been dope.

Speaker 1:

So through all your projects you're helping people to go on the right track, leave the bad track behind, if they were ever tempted to follow that. You've also helped a lot of people with their mental health and stuff and you're helping people on a regular basis in everything that you do, whether you cut hair or do a dance project. I have a question for you, because you're such a humble, cool, nice, gentle man, but 15 years ago you didn't see that potential. I always saw that potential in you. I was like this guy is going to take over. But what it? If there was a young person in front of you and you can see that person has potential, but maybe the person is shy or maybe the person doesn't believe in their capabilities of being a leader, what would be your guidance, your advice to them?

Speaker 2:

Now what I do, what I say? I just push them out there. So I know that's the first step is being pushed out there. And I had those moments also with myself to uh, like I would stand around even in the session because it was scary. At one point I would stand around and I had jumped up the courage to push myself out there. And then, once you push yourself out there, everybody's looking at you. Now it's time for you to do something. You can either fold, go backwards, or everybody can be like, hey, let's do this, start laughing. You know doing that. So I had created that. But then I had every time I would stand around and I'd be like, dang, there's going to be more people going. I'd push myself. So now I've been doing it for a while now. I just push people out there. So I know now that they're out there after being pushed, they have to. You got to do it or you got to do whatever.

Speaker 2:

When I see it, I just try to encourage them as much as possible. Like you know, I was there before. Just take a step, take, just try to encourage them as much as possible. I was there before. Just take that step. Take that first step. You don't have to be the best, just take the first step. That's just putting yourself in that environment.

Speaker 2:

The more you do it, the more you take a step. The next step, the next step, the next step. Now you're the best at what you do. I see it. I see it More and more, more so now than ever I can really tell what people like really thought it gets, like I can't, I mean, and I left kids periods and everybody got that little kid and I see it and I, I remember how it felt when I was young, you know. So, uh, yeah, so I just push people out of there. I just have a cool conversation with them, depending on the setting. If it's about dads, I can push them out there easier. If it's just like you know, we're talking about sports, I can wiggle my way around and try to get on it to get a little bit more comfortable with having a conversation.

Speaker 1:

So you just said that you love kids and you do a lot of projects for kids as well, and you've been a fantastic role model in regards to what it means to be a father, especially in a society where there has been a lot of role models that were lacking or they were lacking a father figure, and I feel that also has had an impact. You really stepping fully into that role of a father, taking it very seriously. I've never seen a father like you. I wish my dad was like you. It's like you were like an amazing father and you've been a role model for other people to understand what it looks like to be a good father. But I feel that also impacts how you are mentoring people in the Crump world. Can you talk about how you see that your role as a father, as a mentor, because I feel it's all a bit intertwined.

Speaker 2:

They make it more complicated than it is. It's not that complicated to be there for your kids. It's not that complicated. You know what you wanted as a kid. Provide that.

Speaker 2:

If you feel like you wanted more hugs, give your kids more hugs. If you wanted more kissing, give your kids more kisses. If you wanted them to have more clothes or shoes, give them more clothes or shoes. You know what I mean, even if you can't just provide the safe space to allow them to be whoever they are and just support it. You know what I mean. I want to support.

Speaker 2:

I want the people to be here, you know so, you know, and people got this false sense of saying like I don't know about all cultures, but out here they'd be like don't be a kid's friend, don't be this, don't be that. I'm like bro, you actually your kids first, everything. We can express everything. So I don't put that pressure on myself. The pressure was that I wanted to be this great father, which I didn't understand what a great father was or is, but I always wanted to make sure that I was there as much as possible for them so they could fall back on me, because I've noticed that sometimes us as parents, we can be so hard on our kids. We're pushed into games, but sometimes we don't have a father around. That pushes the games. The parents doing too much, not even focus on the kids and it pushes the games.

Speaker 2:

It was like all these different components was leading people to the same direction. So I'm like well, they ain't got to push you nowhere. I can welcome you into this hole where it's positive, but you can take that same frustration and you can put it in a way you can transfer that into something positive. And you know, with them taking out arts out of school and these different activities, I know it's kind of hard because a lot of people are not able to create that space anymore. So my thing is come here, come over here. I got you, I'll help and I'm looking to also help parents understand their kids. You know what I mean. It's like you don't got to be like back in my day we used to do this.

Speaker 2:

No, this is not back in the day, this is not 50 years ago. This is not 40 years ago. It's different and you got to adjust and adapt to the time. They use a little bit more technology now. Learn the technology. You know what I mean. It's the way. So, yeah, I just talk to my boys all the time. It's actually harder mentoring everybody else, and don't forget, my kids are small. They lay back. I mean it's a cool conversation. I don't have to do too much to motivate them. They're already motivated.

Speaker 2:

So yeah, it's honestly I'm not going to cross the floor with those I don't know. I guess I want to connect with people's dreams. I'm looking to help people understand. A lot of times we're in our kids' ways. You want them kids to be great, but you don't want to invest the right time and put them around the right people. It's a failure, even the credit that we get and my wife gives for raising our kids. To me it's a testament of the community that we put them in Carpets, do an adult community. We keep them. They compete, they learn how to channel their first results, they learn how to practice research, like all this, a lot of different things. All this has helped them. You know, in their lives now and now all they do is apply them to other things. They play sports, put it to their friends, they pick and write friends. But it's the community, and it's mostly communities that have a lot of experience.

Speaker 1:

To wrap up this interview, interview. What has been your mantra or the thing that sort of kept you going from the very start, when the crew was small and you just had an idea of something you wanted to create to building this empire? What is something that has been very consistent.

Speaker 2:

Probably started with you. Oh really, yeah, because we didn't understand the reach, we didn't understand that. It was actually like you came out here as a group and we like, I'm like wow. We're like well, man, you come out. I remember looking at you. You're looking like is this home? Where are you from?

Speaker 1:

Yeah, so just for the listeners. So I had a bursary from London to go and study crump, but there was no Facebook back then, so there was no really networking online. And so I arrived in Hollywood and I'm like, oh great, I got this bursary that paid my flight to come here. I ain't got a clue where to find the crumpers. Eventually somebody told me oh, they're very far away. There was this youth center. I arrived at this youth center and I'm waiting and the first few people that enter just look at me, like okay, she's not from here, like you can see it. And I think people were taken back and nobody was talking to me. And then you arrived and you were like hey, what are you doing here?

Speaker 2:

So that just seeing that and just hearing the story you know, just taking stuff that I do was like going to sessions oh you can ride Cheap, you taking that. So set you up in here, set you up in here. So that was like the start of seeing like the reach that Krupp had and it touched these different areas. It was with you, it was with Duende in Spain, it was with old GD Riddles in Japan, and it was like y'all came here to get more equipped with the information and y'all was able to take it back to us. You know respect with areas and it was just like this is what we can do.

Speaker 2:

I could travel west, don't you? You know? Be like where can do I could travel west, don't you? You know what I mean. Like where in Spain? I didn't know Like these places didn't exist to me. I never talked about traveling and stuff like that.

Speaker 2:

Like boy, I barely went state to state. I played college football and that's only until I traveled, the only time I had access to y'all, to be able to talk to you guys. It always re-motivated me because y'all had a certain niche in me outside of. You know what I mean like here, because it's hard to for people to give you that you can do it. You can do it as they feel like they're. We all feel like we're the same, but scratching them up you know what I mean Like that's it.

Speaker 2:

But y'all was able to give me no, you, you got something Like we want to be a part of what you got going. I'm just wow. So that has always kept me motivated to join. That. That's one component, but it's also being able to do this for our kids To have something that we both like and love and we can build on that. I mean when I was real little to now being taller than we did in this almost 20 year journey, watching them grow to become young men is special. So all that together has been dope. It taught me. It really actually, for the most part, has taught me how to be a better parent and really learn how to work with the young people. I've always scored that between y'all overseas and then being able to do this with my family.

Speaker 1:

It's been what I'm hearing as well is when we met, for example, and you were like, oh wow, actually there is a reach like Crump, there's an interest for Crump in other countries, or maybe you had an encouragement from somebody that was not of your direct environment and sometimes the encouragements or the compliments are very small, but you have to be open to hear it because otherwise it doesn't land. And I feel, while you were very humble and you didn't really know where you were going, you were also open to receive and when compliments came your way you were like okay, I'm going to let that sink in, and I feel that's also where your power came from.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, like this one time it was probably YouTube days. So Brendan started too. His videos was going viral, which we didn't understand. We didn't know what went viral too. His videos was going viral, which we didn't understand. We didn't know what viral was. A lot of his footage people that was watching his footage was in Japan. A lot of his footage was in Japan. A lot of his views came from Japan. We didn't know.

Speaker 1:

For the listeners. You're talking about your son. Everybody might know that he goes viral in Japan.

Speaker 2:

Yeah. So we down Law Beach Pier, me and my wife, we walk in and we see like a group of tourists and they see him. They say, oh, mini swap, but the way they said it I can't really hear that they're saying his name. They said, oh, can we take a picture Picture? And I'm like all right. So he took a picture with her. I. He said, oh, can we take a picture Picture? And I'm like all right. So he took a picture with her. I never thought about it after that. It was like years later, what are good? One of my new friends from Japan came out here to train with us for two years. He was like. He said, I don't get it. In Japan, everyone knows everyone. I said what he said everyone knows in Japan when he's not very big, and I'm like, oh, and I'm like that's why these tourists will put us to the side and want to take pictures with them. I didn't know that it was already going viral in Japan.

Speaker 2:

We didn't know about the analytics to certain things where all the views were coming. We would just put up awesome videos. But he was like, yeah, japan, all the views were coming. We would just put awesome videos.

Speaker 2:

But he was like, yeah, you can. All the people are really weak butts, so that to see that type of stuff or be a part of that was a little crazy, and it's been dope ever since. So I can't help but to give back to what opened the doors as far as possible. So I shake everybody's hand, say hello to everybody. It exposes me to a lot of stuff, a lot of deeper stuff.

Speaker 1:

I know that at some point for sure you're going to be fundraising for some of your projects. Where can people find you on social media so that they can eventually get involved in the long term or help you develop your projects?

Speaker 2:

We have the Ministry of Crew 100. That's on Instagram. Contact us or send out an email the Ministry of Crew 100. At GMRcom, we got a couple of different things coming up. We got the nonprofit, the culture D6, the culture. That's the nonprofit. We get all these grants to do all these different events. We have events regularly. We just had our latest one, wasteland D6 Wasteland. That was in Texas. That was cool. We have a couple different things coming up. For the most part, I'm already focused and ready to box it. It's not a problem.

Speaker 1:

I'll make sure that I'll put all your contact details in the show notes, because I want people to be updated with what you're doing and be also excited about making donations as well for your future nonprofit projects. So thank you so much for inspiring more and more people along the way. I can't wait to also do an episode two, once your cultural center and the nonprofit has even grown even more, because I want to know more about it and I want to talk about it in this podcast. Thank you for sure, thank you.

Navigating Gang Culture in South LA
Growing up in L.A. in the 80's
Being a child of a mixed union
Krump in today's society
Mentorship, big homies and the first barbershop
Building a Safe Haven Through Dance
from small barbershop to big transformational hub
Demolition Crew
Turning point and full circle of healing
Acknowledging our leadership within
Empowering Fathers and Mentoring Youth
DCX and the drive behind it
Nonprofit, Future Fundraising and Growth