Luke (5 yrs old) has been taking hip-hop dance lessons every Monday for about two, or three months. It was my idea to enroll him in the all boys class for ages four through six because he has always loved to dance (and I thought it would be hysterical to watch).
After his class last night his teacher, Daryll was bragging about how well Luke was doing. This is how the conversation went.
Daryll: “He’s really caught on quickly and is doing a great job at remembering the steps.”
Me: “That’s so great. Is this the only class for his age group? I bet he would like to come more than once a week.”
Daryll: “Yes, the only other boy’s class is for seven to nine-year-olds, but he could definitely join one of the girl’s classes. We’ve had several boys do that before when they wanted…”
Luke: (shouting) “Ummm, no! That is uh-scusting!! I am a boy, not a ballerina.”
Daryll: “No buddy, it would still be a hip-hop class it would just have girls in it.”
Luke: “Girl dancers are called ballerinas and boys are not ‘posed to dance with ballerinas!”
Daryll and I realized that we were getting nowhere trying to explain to a five-year-old (with his hands over his ears and his eyes now closed) how this would NOT make him “a ballerina.” Daryll wrapped up our conversation with, “So I’ll see you guys next Monday, then.” Luke responded with, “Ok, but there better not be any girls.”
As we walked out the door I was a little shocked. I wondered how on earth taking dance classes had suddenly turned my five-year-old son into a sexist. Then it hit me. For years people have suggested that hip-hop was a bad influence on our youth. Rappers have been called out for their lyrics being disrespectful to women and, in some cases, even inciting violence.
Despite the fact that Luke’s class dances to either Kidz Bop, or simple beats with no lyrics at all, it was clear that the hip-hop culture had claimed yet another member of society and negatively influenced them.
Well, I have a message for hip-hop.
I will not tolerate this attitude. If it means forcing my son to dance with ballerinas, then so be it.
I know that somewhere in his brain still resides the boy whose favorite song is Gimme Dat Ding. Thankfully, I am able to garner strength by looking back on this video I took of him twirling a light saber (baton) just a couple of weeks ago.