If I had made a list of a hundred places I’d like to go - Russia would not have made the cut. Why not? It’s America’s arch enemy. Russians are always the villains doing the killings in any spy movie, and current headlines do nothing to change that perception.
But my perception has changed.
Last September, DC Retro Jumpers, the double Dutch team I founded, toured three cities in Russia as cultural envoys. And this month, we got to return the favor. Two Russian hiphop artists visited DC. Beatboys Bobisch and Smol, spread the ‘"many cultures - one love" message to several audiences here in Washington, DC.
One of the surprises for me on my trip is how much hip hop culture is embraced in Russia. As you might guess, I never expected to have a Muscovite tell me that Ol’ Dirty Bastard was his all-time favorite rapper, or to see Russians breakdance to Kurtis Blow, or to meet one who did his master’s degree thesis on hiphop music.
Check them out in this picture showing dance moves to students at ARTLAB, the after-school program at The Hirshhorn Museum.