On the face of it, India doesn’t seem like it’s home to a thriving underground hip-hop scene. But scratch the surface a little, and you’ll get to the real pulse of the culture. That’s what music label Sony Music did when it introduced its initiative, Zomba, a platform to bring together the scattered hip-hop community from across the country, earlier this year. Having conducted dance workshops for enthusiasts in the previous months, the project is all set to introduce its highlight event: the Indian edition of the UK B-Boy Championship.
“We have received entries from cities all over India. Over 100 dancers have registered already. We plan to make it an annual affair where the best dancers and crews will be awarded prizes,” says Bob Omulo, head, Zomba. While you may think that the dance form is a niche art, Omulo is quick to reply, “It is not niche at all. The hip-hop community comprises people from across social and economic backgrounds. In fact, it acts as a sort of leveler.”
After the selection rounds in Delhi and Chennai, the Mumbai qualifiers will be held on September 21. The grand final will be held the next day in the city. International B-boys Anthony Jackson and Spin aka Juan David Gaviria will judge the event. Ask Spin about things that he is looking forward to here and he says, “I have never been to India before or met any Indian B-boys. But I expect them to showcase some good skills and abilities, as there are so many videos on YouTube that everyone can learn from.”
Even though India doesn’t have a history of an active street culture, according to him, it could become the ‘it’ destination for art forms that grew out of that way of life. “I see an opportunity for these dances to grow and develop because of the varying influences they now have on places. India being one of them, I expect the scene here to grow, just the way it has in other places around the world,” he says.