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Breaking boundaries: Hip Hop Homeland Cover Picture

Breaking Boundaries: Hip Hop Homeland

B-girl Shawty Pink carries the unofficial tag of being the fastest, but she’s not done yet.

The adage when the going gets tough, the tough gets going stands true for this pithy girl from the farthest suburbs of Mumbai.

Carrying the unofficial title of being the fastest b-girl, Preeti Tewari aka Shawty Pink is a petite bundle of raging energy concocted with equal doses of struggle, hard work and stubborn mutiny.

From where she is, within the rustic confines of Ambernath in Thane district, she easily fits in to the odd-one-out category with her hoodies and fashion unbeknown to the local inhabitants who are pretty much clueless about the underground sub culture she’s part of.

“In my area it’s like they don’t know what I’m doing. They just watch me going out, coming back late at night blah blah blah…My parents never care about what they’re saying because they know what I’m doing,” says Pink.

As far as Pink is concerned the locals don’t even know what dance and different dance forms actually are. Says Pink, “This area needs an upgrade as people can’t even differentiate between slow motion and animation. They see this girl wearing fancy clothes and fucking hoodies and watch me like I’m some sort of alien.”

Pink has had more than her share of struggle right from when she was a kid due to dwindling finances that forced her to drop out of school when she was in the seventh grade. The struggles continued as she had to take up odd jobs where the pay was a joke and her constant worry was about getting fat during the two years she sat at home doing nothing much but deal with tensions and eating disorders. But dance was always in her blood and a meeting with b-boy Anup Sathe aka Xecutioner turned her course of life for the better.

Says Pink, “I was worried about sitting at home and getting fat because I start eating when I get tense. Dancing was the only thing that kept me happy without any worries about life and future.”

She did odd jobs like manning an STD booth for Rs 1000 a month and when that shut down she had to take up a job at a fashion designer’s shop for Rs 500 a month.

“Since I was a minor nobody gave me job. Eventually there was a fashion corner where I was offered Rs 500 per month and I thought it’s better to earn something better than nothing,” Pink recalls.

She is however grateful to the lady Prafulla Maske, as she learnt a thing or two about fashion designing.

“She even wanted to hand over the reins of the store to me when she was getting married but I wanted to stick with my break dancing,” Pink adds.

Meeting her b-boy boyfriend paddled her though some of her tough times as he pumped in whatever he could financially to help with her studies. Pink also made money out of doing promotional jigs in malls during weekends. However, a dancing contract with Imagica Theme Park helped her loosen her purse strings that eventually sorted some of her family’s financial crisis as well. Her money helped in fixing up their broken residence and her parents finally understood that she was on the right path and that included her relationship with Sathe.

“He (Sathe) is my inspiration. I was surprised how someone could flip and spin on his head. It is a dance form where you challenge yourself and go beyond boundaries and where people watching will go like wow! What the fuck was that?” Pink says.

After parting ways with the Underdog Kombat Crew, she’s now with her “beast brothers” from Beast Mode crew who’ve been nudging her to push the limits.

As for the future, graduating in commerce is on her mind followed by taking up a job without compromising her break dancing career.

With Bollywood and semi classical dance days far behind, Pink is dreaming up her own power moves and freezes these days.

With moves like sick freeze already mastered, Pink has come up with her own power move now which she tentatively calls “flexible ka dhamaal”.

Shawty Pink is featured in Hip Hop Homeland, a series about India's underground hip hop scene.

 

By Mohan KK