Some neighborhoods of Oakland California have an apocalyptic demeanor – emptiness, decay, squalor – but instead of zombies they have street dancers. Turfing is an improvised storytelling dance executed with stupefying precision by some of Oakland’s impassioned youth. One group of friends who dance together, Turf Feinz, has gotten the world’s attention thanks to cheap HD video cameras and the visual wrecking crew named YAK Films, who’s work with youth in urban America is the best kind of heroic.
This video, “RIP Rich D,” is performed by Turf Feinz members No Noize (red jacket), Man (black jacket), BJ (striped shirt), and Dreal (white shirt) as an elegy for Dreal’s brother who died in a car accident at this intersection the day before. It is the second of three “RIP” films produced by YAK about youth killed in the neighborhood – one a victim of a gun shot, one a police shooting, one wreckless driving – stories of the premature demise of urban youth told through the intense physical processing of dance.