Jookin’ is a style of street dance that originated in Memphis, Tennessee, and has been perfected by a young dancer from Memphis named Charles Riley, nicknamed Lil Buck. Last year, Lil Buck was invited to join a cultural delegation to China organized by Asia Society. Ole Schell, whose father, Orville Schell, led the delegation, produced a documentary following Lil Buck as he experienced China for the first time. For the New Yorker blog, Evan Osnos interviews Lil Buck about his trip:
What stays with you most of all about China?
Well, the most surprising thing about China to me was how they rarely see people outside of their ethnicity. When I was there, they reacted to me as if I was an alien—or Chris Tucker. It’s funny, but at the same time it’s kind of sad how separated we are as people. I met good people who I’d go back to visit anytime. I have friends in China now that are inspired to pursue their dreams! I also learned a lot from them and I know that wouldn’t be possible if I weren’t there. The barriers between us, in a way, limit inspiration.
Watch Schell’s full documentary here:
Also watch Lil Buck perform “The Swan” with cellist Yo Yo Ma:
Lil Buck was also recently interviewed by Stephen Colbert.