Monday, December 17, 2007

Wiggy Wiggy Wha?

My girls are members of a dance company. Chloe is a modern/lyrical dancer and Maddie took a liking to hip hop over a year ago and hasn't looked back.

Her team is actually really good and has traveled to other states, won competitions, and even performed at Disneyland. It's not their talent that makes me giggle.

It's that the team is comprised almost entirely of really white over-privileged girls with names like Maddie, Britney, Kelsey, etc.

They are so gangsta.

They come on stage in their baggy hip hop gear, hair in low pigtails, bangs drawn over one eye, heads cocked in a "don't mess with me, yo" way, and they knock it out to songs like Lean Like a Cholo, or Fuego ("you think you're gangsta cuz you did time...") or anything by Kanye West.

And again, they are really, really good. But I can't help but wonder about the kids who all started the hip hop movement, the ones living on the streets, or the projects. I think about the kids for whom "hood" means the place where they live that may have the occasional drive-by rather than the pale pink Ambercrombie and Fitch hoodie they wear over their private school uniform. Even though that's against uniform policy. Badasses.

The parents in this dance company pay ridiculous sums of money to let their baby girls writhe and shake and they even send them to dance conventions where former Emmy winning choreographers turned C listers teach these adolescents how to give authentic 'tude on the stage.

Can you hear the girls back at the hotel whining to their moms that they thought Beyonce's choreographer was going to be there? The same girls who aren't even in high school yet and who have a Starbucks habit and actually know what Juicy Couture is?

My girls recently made the company this month, after a lot of time taking dance lessons and I am so on the fence. I see the enormous pride in their eyes over having beat other kids out for a spot on the teams, and yet I wonder if by crossing over to the "other side" we won't be able to get back again.


Mrs. G. said...


Circus Kelli said...

Oh, you'll be able to get them back... but it might be a bit of a painful process.

Nancy said...

Congratulations to your girls. Their reward for hard work.

Jen, the big difference is your awareness. You'll only let out the line as far as you choose to ... and reel it back in when the waters are getting too deep. Yo-yo-yo dawg!

My daughter danced during her school years and we all enjoyed it.

Family Adventure said...

I think Nancy said it well. Keep on top of it, and your girls will do fine, while still be allowed to enjoy the fruits of their hard work.

Good luck.


flutter said...

You are the coolest mom, ever.

suburbancorrespondent said...

It's good you see the irony in it, right? When you stop seeing that, you're in trouble.

Jan said...

I am tagging you to 7 facts about yourself... come on over to my blog.

Minnemomma said...

Don't feel ashamed because your girls are on a "white over-privileged" dance team. We all try to give our children the best that we can...for some that is a new coat from a second-hand store and for others it is a new sports car. The key is teaching your children to 1. not expect it 2. appreciate what they do have. I came from a lower middle class family, but was able to make my way to a more secure place. But I don't want my child to ever think that he is better than the have-nots. That "better than" attitude comes in all shapes and sizes. I see, however, that you have instilled a belief in giving in your girls. You joke about your rugrats, but I think you are raising great kids. Keep it up, we could use a few million like yours.

The Cube Monkey said...

I live by and always tell my son "remember where you came from".
I don't know that that helps in this situation, but maybe tell them "remember where THEY came from", they being the hip hop originators.

mama's got moxie said...

i think what you said about them being "really white and over-privileged" was pretty funny because these kids have no IDEA about the history and the struggle of the african-american youth that birthed the hip-hop movement.

think about it... well-to-do white kids copying the styles (slang, dress, music, dance) of poor black kids. mocking the culture but they don't know what it's like to live in the 'hood. 9 times out of 10 they've never even SEEN the projects. (and just check out some of your readers comments: "word" and "yo-yo-yo dawg"?? what the heck is that??!)

i don't even want to take a guess at what you meant by "crossing over to the other side" or what nancy meant when she said to "reel it back in when the waters are getting too deep..."

like, geez louise, next my little hip-hop dancin' girls will want to hang out in the 'hood, smoke blunts and have babies by black guys.

y'all are hilarious.

as arsenio hall used to say, "things that make you go, hmmm..."

WOOOOOOOOOOW!!!!!! said...

WOW........i usually don't even respond to blogs but this is an INSULT especially sinc ei am a BLACK MALE......1st off "HOOD" means neighborhood not GHETTO, do not get it confused because it is the "IN THING" now to mock our dialogue/dress/style....for years and years we have started/originated things just to have them belittled by our peers only to have them then turn around and want to be what they just dismissed.......also.......KANYE isn't GANGSTA as you put it........LMAO

all "HOODS" don't have drive-by's either, it's hilarious to see that the majority of responses are from White Readers (evident by the use of slang that ya'll tried to use in the correct forms which failed miserably) who all appear to have the same perception of the "HOOD".......TV is TV, clearly this is where the info and slang where pulled in from in a horrible attempt to "BE DOWN" in some sort of way or fashion........i think you guys need to stick to Starbucks and let your kids be themselves, but remember, when you try so hard to be something your not, you will eventually lose yourself because from the get go you were just a "WANNABE" (WANNABE: slang for want to be, i.e. - wish i could be them, wish i could do that, i wish...i wish....i wish)

and oh yeah.........better hip hop dancing then swing, no one cares about that..........lmao

Jen M. said...

I just meant that I think it's weird that all these kids are trying to emulate something they don't really understand.

I also meant that I don't want my kids turning into spoiled brats who think they're "gangsta" - so for the last two commenters I think you misunderstood me.

I just want my kids to be down to earth, real, and grateful for the little things in life, and this dance company freaks me out a little.

Hope that clears things up.

Finding Shannon said...

I danced for a very long time, while all forms are great to learn, I have to agree with your girls that hip hop is probably one of the best ones, it is the tempo, the beat and rythm that is sucking your kids into it there probably is no turning back on that one! LOL!

I don't know if most dances understand where the form of dance they chose came from, from tap to hip hop.

What I don't understand is why doing something you enjoy has to turn into "mocking ...african american youth" just because you are white if you are good at something and enjoy it, than you should contiue to do it (that is of course as long as it is not causing any physical harm), I really hope by the time my son is old enough the childish race issue will finally be done with...if I use the word "ya'll" will everyone start jumping on my case because I'm not from the south?

I bet that neither one of those commenters stopped to think that maybe "the other side" was your kids turning into the "spoiled brats" that so many of us from the 'burbs sometimes are (myself included).

I can tell you this, I am more concerned of my son turining into an spoiled brat than I am of him wearing Sean John or wanting to listen to Tu Pac - just because certain kids have not lived a certain life does not mean that they cannot understand or sympathize for those that didn't have it so great.

I myself was one of those essentially overpriviledged kids and some of my greatest friends were (and still are)"poor african american youth" just because you didn't grown up in the 'hood doesn't mean you are blind...and no one uses the word Wannabe anymore!

minnemomma said...

I think that when Jen and commenters said "other side" and "waters getting too deep" they were refering to the over-privileged side of things, not the black/white issue.

BipolarLawyerCook said...

It sounds like you've got your feet on the ground, and won't let them be tainted by their little rich colleagues. I wouldn't worry about it.