Rize centers on a South Central, Los Angeles dance phenomenon that is exploding onto the scene. This particular artistic expression has its roots in oppression, where the creators of the movement have taken indigenous steps from African tribal rituals and turned them into an extremely athletic, impossibly fast style of dance.
Told in documentary style that focuses on the disenfranchised community that has created the dance, the film highlights the entire evolution of the movement. It illuminates audiences about the style's creator, Tommy Johnson aka Tommy the Clown. He invented the dance as a response to the Rodney King riots in 1992, naming it "Clowning". From there, kids who took the movement even further now call it "Krumping". It's viewed as an alternative to both gangs and small-time, petty crime, and the kids who get involved in the movement take it very seriously. Various troupes are formed, and they all paint their faces warrior-style. The groups come together for challenges and to learn new skills.
In the midst of poverty, drug addiction, gang activity and crime, the Krumping kids of South Central have managed to rise above it all. Director David LaChapelle has taken his talent in the music video industry to portray this unusual creative movement to audiences who would otherwise never have the opportunity to witness it. (Kim Hollis/BOP)