B-Girl Asia One and DJ Carmisa at the Red Bull BC One B-Girl brunch
© Maria Jose Govea
Dance

Red Bull BC One B-Girl brunch celebrates women breaking thru

Women breakers gathered for a B-Girl brunch in Los Angeles to celebrate their wins ahead of the Red Bull BC One Cypher USA Finals.
By King Vashti
7 min readPublished on
Some of the world's largest breaking competition's talent were brought together on September 16 for a special B-Girl brunch at Hollywood's Tommie Hotel ahead of the Red Bull BC One Cypher USA Finals that took place on September 17 in Los Angeles.
Some of the women who attended the brunch were fierce competitors who battled in the 2022 Red Bull BC One Cypher USA Finals the next day, where B-Girl Sunny ultimately prevailed and advanced to the World Final in New York on November 12.
The B-Girl brunch’s hosts, Asia One, a B-Girl pioneer, and the renowned DJ Carisma led a discussion about breaking and the culture from a woman's perspective.
Hosts B-Girl Asia One and DJ Carisma
Hosts B-Girl Asia One and DJ Carisma
One of the most well-known and respected B-Girls in the world, Asia One is also a member of the Fame City Graffiti Crew, the president of the Mighty Zulu Kweenz Crew, and the creator of No Easy Props, a non-profit organization whose goal is to preserve hip-hop culture. An activist and ambassador for hip-hop, she continues to be influential in the breaking community.
Carisma began her DJ career on Power 106, where she swiftly attained the title of Celebrity DJ and was named 3x Female DJ of the Year. Carisma is credited for breaking some of the West Coast's most well-known hip-hop acts, including Ty Dolla $ign, Tyga, and New Boyz. She is also the founder of Young California, a label and DJ crew.
In celebration of “women breaking thru” the dance and entertainment industries, attendees had a candid discussion about how important it is for B-Girls to stay connected despite the competition surrounding events. Everyone agreed that conversations like these are not only motivating, but also important to the evolution of women in break and hip-hop.
"I feel like more of these community-building talks should be taking place because I think they empower the B-Girls in the scene and bring us closer together,” B-Girl Mantis, a Red Bull BC One competitor, said. "In regards to the trajectory of women in breaking, it just continues to elevate, and you can see it in the level of the younger generation."
B-Girl Monse, another Red Bull BC One competitor, added, "I can see that women's empowerment has been growing thanks to different platforms that include our participation or allow us to share experiences with other girls and share the experiences of legendary ladies that open safe spaces for women."
She explained, "Women have been working hard to break many stereotypes and prejudice," Monse continued, "Breaking gives us a voice to decree our aspirations and equality."
Red Bull BC One competitor, B-Girl Nadjaya, commented on capturing the essence of the dance and how crucial it is to showcase it consistently through your movements.
Red Bull BC One B-Girl brunch
Red Bull BC One B-Girl brunch
"Battling is a representation of who you are, and it is important to showcase that through your movements. If you feel you are creative, be creative through your movements. If you feel you are powerful, show how powerful you are on that stage," Nadjaya said. "For centuries, women have been overlooked. But, we are finally evolving, and these Red Bull BC One events allow us to get the recognition we deserve. To show that we are capable of doing what men can do."

On fashion and style:

Through the decades, B-Girl fashion has been imitated and informed by what is more prevalent in society. Hip-hop's inherent rawness and freedom of expression has allowed women in the sport to emulate an era from which they come. Despite reflecting the true essence of the genre they represent, B-girls continue to be scrutinized for what they wear and the confidence they project through fashion.
"We needed to preserve this traditional hip-hop dance and move it forward."
"We needed to preserve this traditional hip-hop dance and move it forward."
"We got stuck in this idea, where there's always this conversation of 'Why do the B-Girls dress like that?' The guys would be like, 'Do they think we want them to dress like that? Because we don't want them to look like men,'" Asia One said. "And we're like, 'We don't care what you want us to look like.' Hearing stuff like that was like... We're not trippin' on what you want us to look like."
"We always felt okay if we wanted to wear lipstick," Asia One continued, "I used to wear a lot of lipstick when I was breaking. I liked the way I looked, breaking with lipstick and a big ole beanie, and whatever. I wasn't worried about any of that. To me, I was representing myself and dancing in this certain fashion."

On the art of breaking:

The women also spoke on the style of B-Girl flows and how dancers might fixate on not displaying too much femininity during competition while still capturing the spirit of the dance.
Asia One doing a freeze and pointing at the camera
Asia One doing a freeze
B-Girls exhibit the essence of the dance by moving, entering, and exiting transitions in a manner that's different from men.
Asia One
Asia One explained, “B-Girls exhibit the essence of the dance by moving, entering, and exiting transitions in a manner that's different from men. B-Boys frequently use their muscles to execute their motions, while the B-Girls use different hip swings and shoulder movements to capture the dance's spirit skillfully.”
"We see a lot of focus on physicality in the sense of; I got a trainer now, or I got a street trainer," Asia One continued, "We are investing in ourselves in areas that are helping us grow and helping our dance completely. So, we [the older generation] didn't do that; we were just breaking,” she added. "That's all we did. We weren't necessarily fitness people before; we were dancers. And I think now; we're really straddling the line of athletic individuals that dance."

On the road to opportunity:

B-Girl Isis, Red Bull BC One USA 2021 Champion, described how women are gaining power in the breaking scene since there are more opportunities available to them and men. "We, women, are powerful, and I think the level is rising more and more, and this is because the opportunities are coming not only for men, but women as well," she said.
Red Bull BC One B-Girl brunch
Red Bull BC One B-Girl brunch
Fellow competitor B-Girl KT shared a similar sentiment. "I think breaking is very male-dominated, and navigating it as a woman can be difficult," she said. “If I were to give any advice [to aspiring dancers], it would be to stand your ground, train hard, and don't be afraid to take up space."
Breaking is set to make its official global debut as an Olympic discipline at Paris 2024. The Bronx-born art form will be assessed in two separate competitions, one for men and one for women, where 16 B-Boys and 16 B-Girls will engage in "spectacular solo battles," the Paris Olympics Committee confirmed.
"Skills are skills, right? They're just skills. And now, we are really realizing that we've come a long way in this dance as well, where it's still a very subjective dance," Asia One said. "I think we have to admit that— me as somebody who does dance and who judges it — it's a super subjective dance, which is complicated when you put it in a sport form or an Olympic form."
Red Bull BC One B-Girl brunch
Red Bull BC One B-Girl brunch
"Women can easily break against a man in a competition and win. I'm not saying 'easily,' I'm just sayin' it's a 50/50 shot, and you just might do it," Asia One explained. "I think that's encouraging too. We can pave our own lanes and roads, but we actually are peers with men in what we do. And that's powerful. It's not really about gender. It's about the art forms. So it's important to realize that. These aren't male art forms."
On November 12, the best breakers from all over the world will compete in the most anticipated 1v1 breaking tournament, the Red Bull BC One World Final in New York City, the home of breaking and hip-hop.