In this episode of America’s Next Top Model, Jay Manuel brings the models to a downtown Los Angeles rooftop to shoot a campaign for the retail shoe giant, Payless. To bring what he describes as an “urban edge” to the shoot, Jay Manuel invites a crew of “krumpers” to dance with the models. Although the crew in question is wearing clown makeup, and is actually perhaps the most famous group of clowners in the world, Jay repeatedly refers to the dancers as “krumpers.” When Jay is not waxing eloquent about Payless shoes or judging whether or not the models look enough like “sex kittens,” he can also be heard invoking race and class in a very literal manner.
Krumping is a style of street dance, characterized by frenetic movements of the entire body. According to a 2005 documentary calledRize, Krumping originated with African-American youth in South Central Los Angeles during the early 2000s. It was seen as a means to escape gang life and release aggression and frustration in a positive, non-violent way. Although krumping did grow out of clowning, a related but less competitive form of dance that originated in Compton in the 1990s, the two styles are not one and the same.
Think about the different players in this clip – ANTM, Payless, the dancers. What interest do each of these groups have for collaborating with the others?
How are elements of race, class, and sexuality incorporated into this advertising shoot? Use specific quotes to describe the ways in which expectations around race, class and sexuality are brought to light in the clip.
What is the significance of ANTM’s treatment of krumping and clowning as one unitary dance subculture?