MANNY ZULU

Hometown : San Francisco, CA

Born in San Francisco and raised in Sonoma County, Manny’s journey into the culture began at an early age. He would see his cousins in San Francisco breaking and expressing with hip-hop, which he picked up on as early as 5 years old. It was in the 1990’s, though, that he began understanding the deeper meaning behind what he saw and felt as a child.

In 1994, he turned his focus toward locking, popping, strutting, rocking and breaking. Wanting to overstand the past in order to know the future, he began his search for the roots of the dances and soon got involved in the Northstar War Party Chapter of the Zulu Nation. After meeting and studying with creators, pioneers, and innovators of the dances, he evolved his style and performed with various musical artists like Afrika Bambaataa and the Soul Sonic Force, KRS One, New Cleus, Egyptian Lover and Kurtis Blow.

In 1996, he also became a member of the breaking crew SUB-4 (“Straight Up B-Boy”) under the sponsorship of Roxrite. He was active in the breaking community and local party scene, attending underground functions throughout the Bay Area. It was at this time that he also began building bonds with members of Style Elements Crew, who he would run into at jams, competitions, raves, house parties, black book sessions, art shows and DJ exhibitions.

The persistent need for expression through various mediums, other than verbal language, has led to an ever evolving style. In addition to dance, Manny is a gifted and accomplished artist who works with everything from aerosol and acrylics to metal, coil baskets, and ceramics. Flow, rhythm, line, contrast symmetry and originality are foundational elements consistently present in his expressions of choice.

He also upholds the oral tradition of passing on the history of the dance and culture overall. From 2012-2014, he administered a hip-hop based program in the West Sonoma County School District. Students would learn about the culture and utilize it to explore their own creativity and confidence, both artistically and professionally. Manny continues to mentor youth in the community using all of the elements as a springboard for education, empowerment and social change.