The Jamaican Dance Style Keeping Brooklyn Kids Off the Street
His love for 'bruk up' helped this one-time drug dealer turn his life around. Now he’s bringing that passion to the next generation – at home and around the world.
Photos by Vincent Tullo
During the early hours of a house party on a frigid Saturday, Shawn Theagene barely socializes. He’s hunched over his laptop in the corner picking songs. The other members of the Bed Stuy Veterans, the group he founded around the Jamaican dance style bruk up, pour shots from a handle of Hennessy and grind marijuana nuggets. The six core members haven’t hung out in weeks. Now in their early thirties, most have kids or day jobs, but tonight they’re partying like teenagers, downing Papa Johns and laughing at old cellphone videos. Like always, they’ve gathered in the ground-level room of one member’s brownstone on Halsey Street, nicknamed “Slaughterhouse” because when the guys of BSV battle, they “murder it.” When Theagene isn’t talking about bruk up – he’s considered the godfather of the culture and credited with bringing the dance to Brooklyn – he takes on a quiet, almost somber demeanor. He’s come to Slaughterhouse dressed in a light, ripped jean jacket with tuft…
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