Breakdancing has moved one step closer to being an Olympic sport, potentially making its debut at the 2024 Olympics in Paris. On Tuesday, the International Olympic Committee (IOC) voted to endorse requests from Paris officials about the addition of the sport to the program, pending a December 2020 final decision. If the proposal goes through and breakdancing does become an Olympic sport, it would be a huge win for hip-hop culture.
With the emergence of hip-hop as a genre of music in the early 1970’s came the rise of breakdancing, which was created by Black and Latinx youth in New York. Considered to be one of the best known hip-hop dance styles, breakdancing (also known as breaking, b-boying, b-girling) became a tool for those youth to cope with various societal pressures. The style was known for fusing elements of rap music and kung-fu.
Now, decades later, breakdancing has gained mainstream appeal as the style is celebrated in different cultures around the world, especially in South Korea, the United Kingdom, Japan and France. The news comes at an exciting time for hip-hop as it becomes more embedded in popular American culture. Last year, for the first time in history, rap surpassed rock as the most popular music genre in the U.S., and Jay-Z recently became rap’s first billionaire. Breakdancing becoming an Olympic sport would further underscore rap's cultural relevance.
This isn't the first time that the Olympics has tried to incorporate aspects of hip-hop culture into its program. Chance the Rapper was recruited to organize a concert commemorating the 50th anniversary of the Special Olympics in Chicago last year. Breakdancing was also included in last year's Youth Olympics in Buenos Aires, Argentina, making its Olympic debut. Breakdancing isn't confirmed as a part of the Paris games yet, but hopefully the IOC will think to include rappers to properly introduce the style to the program.