Ana “Rokafella” Garcia is known for breaking -- quite literally -- into New York City’s male dominated Hip Hop scene over two decades ago, but this “maker” isn’t keeping the success to herself.
The pioneer female break dancer blazed a path for herself before creating opportunities for others, a journey she opens up about on the latest episode of AOL's video series, MAKERS.
“It’s very limiting to see a woman always in a thong shaking her butt, that’s just one percentage of what the women in Hip Hop are doing,” the original “B-Girl” told MAKERS. “I’m letting people know, you can be a woman and be a badass breaker. When you see me, you’re seeing excellence and that men don’t have a hold on the word ‘excellence’.”
Raised by Puerto Rican parents in East Harlem, Garcia admits that even at home there were limits to what women could do.
“Being of Latino background there was a difference between what the males could get away with and what the females had to do. And we would have to always work and try to be pious and you know...”, the dancer said.
Garcia made a name for herself by rejecting some dancers’ sexual objectification and the idea that only men could succeed in Hip Hop. Though her real journey began when she met NYC breaker Kwikstep in 1991.
“[He] saw me and said ‘you could be good but you gotta commit’ and that was the moment,” Garcia spoke about the moment she met the veteran dancer.
In the interview, the dancer talks in depth about how she found success in a once male-only subculture and how she hopes to pay it forward to new generations through her non-profit organization, Full Circle.
“If I’m just keeping it to myself it doesn’t help anyone and it doesn’t push forward the vision that we’re trying for people to see and understand: that Hip Hop is a culture, it’s expression, it’s freedom, it’s positive,” Garcia said.
Check out the full video on Ana “Rokafella” Garcia above, and a segment below about how her parent's hard work as immigrants inspires her to push forward.