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Tommy the Clown

The inventor from the art of “krumping,” Tommy the Clown — aka Thomas Johnson — was created in the town of Detroit, but raised in the tumultuous South Central section of Los Angeles, a location whose reputation for violence and instability helped motivate Johnson to consider — and finally invent — a peaceful, inclusive, and positive alternative. His invention, “krumping,” was a hip-hop motivated talent that was a combined mix of that style’s music in conjunction with athleticism, dance, and nature, all covered up in the guise from the traditional party clown. The consequence of having been asked to amuse a friend’s kid’s party, Johnson’s “krump-style” was quick to get momentum, and became a way for Tommy and his staff — the HIPHOP Clowns — to spread an optimistic, anti-drug and anti-violence technique. Tommy the Clown, as Johnson had become known, performed at main events, parties, as well as distributed the stage with such hip-hop legends as Will Smith, Snoop Dogg, and Usher. In 2000, Tommy the Clown began the Battle Area, a Culver Town, California based competition between dance crews using the krump design of efficiency. Johnson, his lifestyle, his function, and his design were also highlighted in the documentary Rize, that was released on Lions Gate Movies.

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