Krump or die: Representations of krumping in contemporary film and the processes of assimilation, racism, narration, and commodification
Nereson, Ariel Ann
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This paper examines film representations from 2005 ( Rize ) and 2006 ( Stomp the Yard ) of the dance form krumping, and the often racist assumptions upon which these films are built. The paper explores krumping's representation in four sections: movement, movers, context, and commodification. In the first section, Muscle Memory , I perform a movement analysis of krumping that seeks to dismantle LaChapelle's claim to primitivism. Claims of authenticity and of performance as mnemonic device or embodied memory are also unpacked in this section. The second section, Markings , explores Peggy Phelan's theories of Other-ing via marking, and how krumpers are marked by their skin color, which is then re-marked upon by the film directors. Additionally, I position face paint as a method of self-marking that provides some resistance to normative and racist methods of demarcation. In the third section, Enculturated Somatophobia , I contend that these films breed a fear of black bodies that is also a fear of urban, violent, and poor environments. Further, these films seek to contain these bodies into these contexts, and to isolate both the performers and their environments from normative America in order to assuage these fears. Finally, the fourth section, Payless Krumping , seeks to reveal the methods by which krumping can be marketed and commodified. This section relies upon Diana Taylor's distinction of the archive and the repertoire to argue that narratives of primitivism and exceptionality are perceived as more marketable, thus scenes of resistance are erased due to the unlikelihood of their profitability. Ultimately, this paper aims to illustrate the racist assumptions at work in the representation of the black vernacular (represented by krumping), and the effortless appropriation of stereotypes into these films.