In 2004, Director Christopher Woon aka Paper Son shot and edited his first documentary short, Among Bboys as a Fellow in the Visual Communications “Armed With A Camera Fellowship” about a crew of Bboys from Merced, CA called “Velocity”. During the festival run of this first short, he received enough positive feedback to decide there would be enough interest in an expanded project. Seven years later, he finds himself at the completion of a long format documentary, having not only acquired an amazing team of collaborators, made many more lasting friends, but also strengthened his idea of what community looks like and how to properly invest in it.
Among B-Boys is a story about the U.S.’s Hmong American community, an American refugee community, and how Hip Hop culture in the form of B-Boying/B-Girling has affected the lives of many of its youth. The film features two main story arcs, that of Bboy Sukie of Velocity/Soul Rivals and his contemporaries, twin brothers Bboys Villn and Mpact of Underground Flow. Our stories take us from its Laos/Thailand origins, across the country, from California cities Fresno, Merced and Sacramento, to Tusla, Oklahoma, and back to Long Beach, CA and Merced again. We share in the not only the triumphs of success, but also the societal constraints, and dealing with the day to day struggles of Hip Hop in the margins. Lastly, we look towards the future in this reflection of the real ways Hip Hop produces cross cultural exchange and dispels myths of cultural purity.
Story of my life.
Between hyperventilating, tearing up, and getting almost boundlessly excited about the future, I can’t help but wonder if this is really happening.
But, it is. And I’m BEYOND THANKFUL.
Here’s a fact that may not surprise you: the children of the rich perform better in school, on average, than children from middle-class or poor families.