Grandma is a hip hopper

The 2008 Japanese masters hip hop champions may be 50+ but that doesn’t mean they can’t kick it.
Photo: Sarah Feldberg

Satin, suspenders and white gloves, not exactly street wear.

Mookie gives the dancers a chance on the mic post-performance.

About 12 hours into the World Hip Hop Championships preliminary round, after the 7-12 year-old juniors had competed, after the 12-18 year-old varsity division and right between a hard-stomping routine by reigning adult champs Eclectik of Tridnidad and Tobago and the finalists announcements, a middle-aged woman in white satin pants, sequined suspenders and a bowler hat took to the stage.

Looking more like a carnival emcee than a b-girl, she danced side to side for a few minutes, performing an indistinguishable genre best summarized by the confused faces of the audience. Then, jogging off stage, the woman was replaced by a group of Japanese women, these in baggy red pants and white graffiti-printed hoodies. Picture an Asian soccer mom wearing her teenage son’s favorite outfit. Yea, like that.

Once in position, the bass line picked up, and the smiley soccer moms launched into a basic hip hop step. They continued into a simple but clean routine, popping, locking and posturing with all the conviction you could ask for from a troupe of 50+ hip hoppers. It was a fitting closing to a day in which three generations of international dancers and fans had gathered to celebrate street dance.

After they’d finished the performance to round of enthusiastic cheers, emcee Mookie handed the mic to one of Japanese dancers. She gave her name, and then in stilted but perfect English said, “I am 51 years old.” And. The. Crowd. Went. Nuts.

Photo of Sarah Feldberg

Sarah Feldberg

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