Around 2:15 a.m. a police car rolls up flashing its siren in a strip mall parking lot in the San Fernando Valley. The stores are closed. Few restaurants are open. The lot is empty, except for silhouettes gathered in a circle under a bright lamp. A parked car blasts hip-hop music through an open door. Some nod their heads to the beat, chest popping and foot stomping, waiting for a turn in the center. Others watch, chat, joke.
The car slowly approaches, then stops. It beams a spotlight in the group’s direction. Catching sight of the cops, a young man pushes the circle open into a half moon, giving them an unobstructed view.
“Let them see we’re just dancing,” he says. As the people part, a lone male krumper pops into view. Ignoring the cops, the dancer throws his arms to the sky, hops on one knee and bounces up again.
“Show them how you roll, Lil’ C,” someone yells from the circle.
If they recognize the soloist, the cops don’t show it. Lil’ C was one of the stars of Dave LaChapelle’s 2005 documentary Rize, and is seen on TV as a guest judge on FOX’s “So You Think You Can Dance.” Just following orders, the cops are determined to shut down the 818 Session, named after its area code. An officer shouts to the crowd through his megaphone that he has received noise complaints.
Lil’ C still doesn’t stop.
To read the entire article on KCET.org and see my re-edited video, click here