Synopsis: Reveals a groundbreaking dance phenomenon that's exploding on the streets of South Central, Los Angeles. Taking advantage of unprecedented access, this documentary film bring to first light a revolutionary form of artistic expression borne from oppression. The aggressive and visually stunning dance modernizes moves indigenous to African tribal rituals and features mind-blowing, athletic movement sped up to impossible speeds. We meet Tommy Johnson (Tommy the Clown), who first created the style as a response to the 1992 Rodney King riots and named it Clowning, as well as the kids who developed the movement into what they now call Krumping. The kids use dance as an alternative to gangs and hustling: they form their own troupe and paint their faces like warriors, meeting to outperform rival gangs of dancers or just to hone their skills. For the dancers, Krumping becomes a way of life--and, because it's authentic expression (in complete opposition to the bling-bling hip-hop culture), the da
Director(s): David LaChapelle
Production: Lions Gate Films
  1 win & 3 nominations.
Rotten Tomatoes:
86 min

Six days of rioting in a Negro

section of Los Angeles...

left behind scenes reminiscent

of war-torn cities.

More than

a hundred square blocks...

were decimated

by fire and looters.

Civil rights leaders

were quick to deplore...

the unbridled lawlessness...

and Martin Luther King vowed

to do all in his power...

to prevent a reoccurrence

in Los Angeles or anywhere.

This is our neighborhood.

This is where we grew up.

We were all kids back then

when this happened...

but we managed to grow

from these ashes.

And this is

where we still live.

Well, if you're drowning

and there's nothing around...

for help

but a board floating...

you're gonna reach out

for that board.

And this was our board.

And from this board...

we floated abroad,

and we built us a big ship.

And we're gonna sail into

the dance world, the art world.

We're gonna take it by storm

because it's our belief.

This is not a trend.

Let me repeat.

This is not a trend.

You better give me a hug.

Give me a hug.

I need a hug.

Give me a hug.

You don't have to dance.

I want a hug from

a pretty girl like you.

You are so pretty.

Come here, girl.

How'd it get started?

Tommy started it in '92. 1992.

He started off

by hisself at first.

What's up, baby?

Come on, you guys.

You guys ready to party?

When he first started out,

he had a little black bucket...

and had his little sign

on the side.

He was just starting out,

but he's come a long way.

All you hear is,

"Tommy, Tommy dancing.

"Tommy this. Tommy that.

I wanna go to Tommy Academy."

I have a ten-year-old son...

that's trying to get

into the academy.

So I think

that it's wonderful...

and he needs to keep up

the good work...

and he needs to be commended for

the things that he's doing...

for the black community,


He has marvelous parties...

so somebody need to call

and give a party...

'cause he give bomb parties.

Tommy is a ghetto celebrity,

'cause you're gonna see Tommy...


in your neighborhood...

in the middle of your streets,

waking you up...

because his music gonna be loud.

When my mom was in jail,

he took me in...

and he made sure

I got to school.

Whatever I needed,

he made sure I was OK.

If I wasn't dancing for Tommy...

I'd probably be doing

some bad things right now.

I fear for him sometimes,


'cause a lot of people

are jealous...

and they're

really hatin' on him.

If something happened to him,

we'd all be right there.

We all gonna suffer.

He screams at us.

He screams, "You in trouble."

He basically,

you know, like a father.

He was really there for me.

And I admire him for that.

I love him for that.

See how you powder like that?

Then you got to get the lips.

You don't want it to smear.


Yep. And that's it.

Once I put the powder on...

then you try to dust off some

of the white of the powder...

and there you have it.

Your color come back.

People always

used to say I act crazy.

I always did silly things.

And this girl,

just out of the blue...

asked can I be a clown

at her birthday party.

And I was, like, "A clown?"

I pull up to

the neighborhood, jump out.

I start dancing,

walking on my hands, flippin'.

Kids would run out the houses.

People would run out the houses.

And I'll give 'em a card.

"If you need a clown

for your birthday party...

"call Tommy the Clown,

the hip-hop dancing clown."

And it start spreadin'.

Happy birthday, Malik!

Y'all ready

to party with Malik...

- somebody say, "That's right."

- That's right!

Y'all ready to have

some fun with Malik...

- say, "You know this, man."

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Submitted on August 05, 2018

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