Being a female and daring to choose a path less travelled is a challenge that cannot be unseen. In our privileged lives, we often forget about those things that do not fall in our mind’s radar. Coming from a patriarchal society like India, being a female hip hop artist is earth shattering news in some homes. While sustaining a career is even more tougher.
But there are those who despite all the obstacles make it through their way with sheer passion and dedication. One such artist is Deepa Singh aka Bgirl FlowRaw. FlowRaw started her humble beginning in 2014, a year when my path crossed with hers. Sharing the same name and being a female in the hip hop scene was enough for a friendship to boom. And since then I have seen her only grow stronger and better.
The power has always been within the community and its people! Its the people who make a community and not a specific organiser or a promoter!
What the scene needs is;
People who take actions!
People who stand for something!
Ppeople who believe in others and uplift others too!
– Bgirl FlowRaw
Desi hip hop got in touch with FlowRaw to talk about her recent trip to Germany. Here’s how it went –
1) When and how did you get into breaking? Tell us some of your inspirations within India and outside.
I started breaking in 2014.There were some breakers in my college who used to practice daily. Sitting and observing them, I wanted to learn as well so I asked few Bboys to teach me. But when the Breaking Battle was held in my college in 2013, I saw Bboy Example and he inspired me so much. I was in awe and fell in love with the art form. It’s a really different attraction that drove me towards breaking. After one year I met Bboy Example he texted me and told me if you want to learn come at my practice place my friends will teach you. That’s how I started my journey in 2014.
2) That’s amazing! So give us full details about the Queen 16 event, how did they approach you? Also, how was your experience meeting all the participants?
Abraham who lives in USA saw my videos and approached me for Queen 16. He suggested my name to one of the organisers (Loopi & Eve) of the event and they sent me an invitation letter. Bgirls from 5 countries were invited and rest was pre-qualification and on the spot qualifiers for 2 spots.
Breakers, DJs, Emcees from all over the world stayed in one hostel. Meeting them and sharing everyone’s perspective towards Hip Hop was so inspiring. Chilling with people who I consider as legends around me was like a blessing. Standing among the line up of well known Bgirls was a proud moment for me, it felt good.
On the first day we had a pre-party dancing and getting to gel with each other. On day two we attended the workshop held where various aspects of being a female breaker were discussed. From facing inequality and harassment to simply having the guts to break into the male dominated breaking scene. Third day the ‘Top Queen 16’ battle went down along with Kids Battle and Family Fever Festival.
3) How difficult was the process to go to Germany? Since there is hardly any infrastructure for artists in our country.
When Abraham spoke to sonic, he called me and said, “Even we got opportunities like this but no one was behind us to help. I know how it feels when opportunity comes and we can’t do anything. But I will try my best and you will represent India in Germany that’s my word.”
Bgirl flowraw and bboy sonic
He came up with a jam named “Fund Raiser Jam for Bgirl FlowRaw”. He approached Judges, DJ and an Emcee. For venue Eshwar Tiwari’s mother helped us a lot. I was so upset because my landlord didn’t want me to make my passport under her address. She told me if I came to know that you did it, then you will have to empty my house and I will complain to the police. I can’t explain how hard it was for me to make them agree for Society NOC letter. Speaking to the Corporator, begging the Secretary of our Society, even having to beg the Police.
For four full months I had to run behind getting my passport made. However, Nishit Pathak helped me by submitting all of his documents for Visa purpose. I got visa easily as he showed his company as my official sponsor for this Germany trip. Apart from that I received funds through crowdfunding and the jam from cities such as Mumbai, Shillong, Kolkata, Delhi, West Bengal. All of them helped me out and that is how I made it to Germany. Sigh!
4) What would you say is the one thing that Indian breaking scene needs at the moment? Is there a massive divide between the opportunities a bboy gets compared to a bgirl?
The power has always been within the community and its people! Its the people who make a community and not a specific organiser or a promoter! So what the scene needs is people who take actions, people who stand for something and people who believe in others and uplift others too! Who don’t just want to make money for themselves but those who take initiative to keep events with a good DJ, venue, good cash prize. Providing good opportunities to deserving one who are just surviving from Jams and Events.
Just for me there is no such massive divide between bboys and bgirls! Only thing is that bgirls don’t get approached most of the time as they aren’t as visible in the scene. Opportunity goes to those that are out there and right now the number of active bgirls are very less.
I think it’s probably because of these reasons
– not all the females are willing to take the risk with their body and challenge themselves; because breaking is challenging for everyone
– the lack of family support to travel outside their cities
– financial support and savings
– having a Rep’ in the scene as compared to the Rep’ bboys have made in these years.
5) After representing India internationally, is there any message you’d like to give aspiring female breakers? And what are you up-to next?
After returning to my country, I’ve got more hunger to travel to different countries. All I could try to advise the artists would be to TRAVEL! Take out some time, save up a few extra bucks! Find out information about the neighbouring countries and make it happen! We feel after training for so many hours and winning the jams; we are done! But thats not it. There is so much happening outside of our boundaries. So many new vibes and energies to experience! SO TRAVEL! Explore and always STAY READY FOR THE OPPORTUNITIES AND BLESSINGS COMING YOUR WAY! :)
Regarding my future plans to travel, its still under process, I’m still in my Germany vibes, can’t forget the cyphers and jamming sessions that happened! YOU DON’T NEED STRENGTH, IT TAKES DEDICATION.