Houston, TX

Bgirl City Holds Huge Jam For She-Breakers and Street Artists in Houston

Mae A.

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Graffiti artist Clear in front of a mural of hers in Mexico. Clear is the visual arts director of Bgirl City, the largest US B-girl group.Photo byClear, graffiti artist

Houston's all-woman-led Bgirl City, which is the largest US organization for she-breakers and graffiti/street artists, will hold its annual jam at a downtown Houston brewery Dec. 2-4 to celebrate and support women in the hip-hop culture.

Bgirl City XI Festival will stage breakdance battles, workshops, a vintage hip-hop flea market, a live painting performance, and an art show featuring graffiti/street art. Men will not be excluded, but women and girls will dominate.

Houston has long been home to a thriving hip-hop culture, but there wasn't always space for women and girls in its breakdance competitions and graffiti/street art scenes through to the early 2000s.

Bgirl City is filling that gap; Led by four women, including pioneering B-girl Ericka DeLeone a.k.a. Babygirl, the non-profit seeks to empower women and girls in the breakdance and graffiti/street art scenes by giving them the creative space to express themselves through workshops, competitions, grants to travel, and more.

“Dance, music and art are all ways to express yourself, to communicate,” said the Bgirl City’s visual arts director, known by her graffiti-artist moniker Clear. “Anything that allows you to express yourself is empowerment.”

This year’s festival kicks off Friday night at Equal Parts Brewing in Houston’s 2nd Ward with free breakdance workshops and an art show entitled Culture Rules Everything Around Me (a play on Wu-Tang Clan’s song Cash Rules Everything Around Me). The show will feature the works of 15 street artists and will include graffiti creations, murals, street fashion photography, urban photography, and more. Entrance Friday is free.

Breakdance battles will follow on ticketed days Saturday and Sunday in the brewery’s hall behind its taproom. The festival’s market of all things hip-hop – like ’70s-’80s t-shirts, sneakers, records, posters, and more – will pop up on Sunday in the brewery’s parking lot. Also on Sunday, Austin-based muralist and tattoo artist Kimie Flores will be on site, painting an 8x16 ft. mural.

“We’re super excited to have them,” Zach Walker, Equal Parts Brewing events coordinator, said. "We don't want (to hold) typical events for a brewery. We like to keep things interesting.”

He added that the brewery’s taproom will be open throughout the festival.

Celebrity Guests: Celebrity influencers in the breaking and hip-hop communities will be there to host, deejay, judge battles, lead workshops, and show their artwork.

Topping that list is B-girl Macca, athlete and break dancer who has represented the US in international breaking competitions, and is the first B-girl to be sponsored by Monster Energy. Macca will be joined by B-girl Genesis to lead the breakdance workshops and judge the individual female dance battle, the 1v1 B-girl battle.

Other notables are competitive break dancer and singer/songwriter Nicole Whitaker, a.k.a. B-girl Trinity, who will host the event, and female deejays KaoticBlaze and Crykit who will (wo)man the turntables.

The Battles:

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A B-girl breakdances in a battle hosted by Bgirl City.Photo byLucky Button Photography

There are four categories: the 1v1 B-girl battle and the 1v1 freestyle, both of which are individual battles for women and girls only; the 2v2 youth battle, a duo competition open to both boys and girls up to 15 years of age; and the 2v2 Bonnie & Clyde – a duo battle and the only category in which men are permitted to compete.

Male Participation: Although the festival is dedicated to empowering female breakers and artists, men have not been excluded. Guest male celebrities to look out for amid the female powerhouses are Edward Moses, a.k.a. AMS, who will host alongside B-girl Trinity, and B-boy FleaRock who will judge the Bonnie & Clyde duo breakdance battle.

Men are also permitted to show their work in the art show - but in her capacity as visual arts director, Clear has required they submit one piece dedicated to female empowerment in order to participate.

The festival’s official after-party is set for Saturday, but a party of some form will follow each day’s events. Be there!

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