Break Through

Crew cut: This letter collectively expresses the views of Van Sneed, Adonus Ray, Fredo Montez, Josh Romero and Brandon Roberts, all subjects of Nadia Pflaum’s recent article “Beefing B-Boys” (March 16).

We feel this article is a gross misrepresentation of the dancers mentioned as well as B-boying. Ms. Pflaum’s story inadequately reflects the views of many interviewees and fails to include viewpoints of established and vital members of the local B-boy scene. While we respect a journalist’s right to tell a story, doing so in the manner that she has seems sophomoric and slanderous at best.

As practitioners and advocates of hip-hop and B-boying culture, we strive to portray this dance accurately. While the conflict within Ms. Pflaum’s article did happen, it was a single, isolated event that was resolved just as quickly as it occurred. However, it would seem that for the sake of an “interesting” story, the social and historical information about Kansas City’s B-boying scene was overlooked or omitted.

It is extremely disappointing that rather than an in-depth look at local practitioners of this amazing art form, we have to settle for a story that is barely comparable to a high school gossip column. For someone who claims to support local hip-hop, she’s done a terrible job at representing some of its key figures.

Van Sneed
Via the Internet

Solid Gold dancer: Yo, yo, yo — 55th Street checkin’ in here on the cover story, “Beefing B-boys.” Props for the double use of “wack” in your story. Refreshing.

Ya know how ya look extra hard at something you think will provide clues? Someone’s other-side-of-the-day kind of background? I doubt I would have gotten very far into the story had I not gotten the chance to know the upside-down white boy on the cover. I knew of his breakdancing culture through random conversations holding paint brushes every day and his open mind to my railing on the dichotomy of his passion. He’s ready to blow-uuuup. My boy, Solid Gold, is a gettin’ out of the 913 and comin’ down to the core, albeit the oldest of the revitalizing downtown art districts, but under skyscrapers, at least. I love passion and seekers of truth, and he’s not far from my perch.

There’s so much to expose in this world, so I usually respond only when the topic comes up. Here’s what I see: A bunch of talented dancers resurrecting an unfortunately played-out and overexposed art form, ripped from the Big Apple’s gutters of neglected urban decay, and joining the “get results now” line to help one another push that shallow, superficial and societal credibility problem by emulating street personas and generational hopelessness instead of developing the character and resiliency of strong artists and individuals backlashing and suffering against the hypocrisy and repression of their environment.

Breakdancing was born of anger — not at other artists but at the shame of it all. All those “crews” deserve the utmost praise for their hard work and dedication. Energy is a beautiful thing, and most never get to tap into it. I have interest in this only because of a friendship and tangible expectations, and if my instincts are right, my boy “Sold Gold” ain’t gonna land in the 816 without taking one last long, hard look at where he came from.

Robert Hawkins
Kansas City, Missouri

Hobby Lobby

Los lonely boy: Regarding Justin Kendall’s “The Lonely Guy” (March 9): I wanted to thank Justin for doing that story on me, even if it was a slap in my face. (My parents hated it!) I must say, the Pitch did its homework. You guys even treated me very well and acted professionally. However, I would have thought twice had I known your paper has an extreme liberal agenda. I also must wonder if someone at the Statehouse asked you to do a story on me.

Regardless, the Pitch did give me an opportunity to suggest to readers that family is the best thing anyone can “claim,” especially if you’re homeless (and in my case, a listed sex offender from becoming addicted to child porn). My family was, and is, a stabilizing force in my life, and Christ’s work pushes me to tell others.

But I’m not at the Statehouse for the homeless but rather for homeless programs. Every healthy program must grow. For missions and affiliated programs to grow, they need an ever increase of homelessness. If they do “family reunification,” their beds are emptied and private funds decrease.

As man marches forward in time (say, 100 years), programs for the homeless, I hope, will be forced to look at their outcomes and take hold of simplistic solutions — relationship and family reunification. Today, it boils down to money (even abortion clinics — with sometimes $5,000 a head).

David Owen

Topeka