Tonight my buddy Rafi and I saw "The Break/s", an amazing one-person play by Marc Bamuthi Joseph that mixes dance, spoken word, rap, turntablism, beatboxing and video art, all within a strong hip-hop framework. There’s a loose, dream-like narrative chronicling Joseph’s travels from Senegal to Paris to Tokyo to Havana as a hip-hop instructor, interweaved with his own struggles as a black man in a relationship with a white woman.
Joseph is a powerful performer who owns the stage for the entire 90-minute play. How he manages to stay in character as he breakdances and pops is simply amazing to me. There’s a great recurring line about how you have to commit to hip-hop, cause when you spin on your head you might break your neck. It made me think about how hip-hop culture is about pushing the bounds of what is possible, taking risks, breaking rules, challenging norms. It’s inherently transgressive, which is where its power comes from.
A tour-de-force performance by Marc Bamuthi Joseph, backed by DJ Excess on turntable and Soulati on the beatbox.
Joseph is returning to New York in October to work with students at the Brooklyn Community Arts & Media High School on a project called "break/s beyond the ballot." In the Fall, students will work with him on spoken word projects, speeches and short films to articulate pressing social, cultural and political issues. They need to raise $10,000 by October 15 to make this project happen. If you would like to donate, go to www.mappinternational.org, click on "donate" and specify it is for the "break/s beyond the ballot" project.