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Wisdom from Uncle Scoo B Doo

In a recent exchange I had with Jimmy “Scoo B Doo” Foster, I had a moment of awe-inspiring clarity where I realized that I was very blessed to have a conversation with one of the pioneers of our dance culture.

Scoo B Doo is not JUST a pioneer, but the long-lost uncle you find again after years and years of hearing legendary stories about his mythical journey. It wasn’t until I met him that I suddenly had an epiphany, with just a few words, he had altered the rest of my life. I hadn’t seen anyone so passionate about coming back to life. I say coming back to life because if one day you have the chance to pick his brain, a whole day will have passed and he will have debunked all of the legendary stories you may have heard about Soul Train, about Locking, about his disappearance, his supposedly “passing”, and his unexpected return to the world. His story needs to be told, but it is even better when you hear it directly from him.

After the 2011 Elite Locking Camp in Las Vegas, Wättssoul honored Jimmy “Scoo B Doo” Foster, Damita Jo Freeman and Frank “Sundance” Sams. It was an amazing night at The Mirage Hotel Revolution Lounge where we danced and celebrated inspiring pioneers who have contributed to our street dance culture. What he said to me afterward was very moving. We had just given him his very first award; “This is my first award! In my whole life, no one has ever given me an award; you guys are the first!”, He couldn’t stop thanking us for the gesture, even today he brings it up in conversations. For us it was such a simple thing to do, we are not a big deal company, but for him, it made him feel like he belonged. Belonging is such an important word and is the reason why we strive to be part of a community, be part of something great, either “it” being a collective or a tribe. We love to connect, tell our story, build a legacy. Leave a footprint on the sand of time. What we offered Scoo B Doo and his wife Gina was what I had received from my mentors in this dance and life; A kind ear. To listen is a lost art. Not to gather information, but to listen with intention, and an open heart. 

Damita Jo, Scoo B Doo and Sundance receiving awards at the Pioneers Ball
Damita Jo, Scoo B Doo and Sundance receiving awards at the Pioneers Ball

Scoo B Doo came back into our world after the heartbreaking loss of Greg Pope. I will not write the history of Locking here because those who will lean towards reading this know the story already. What I want to do is tell the world what Scoo B Doo shares with me every time we sit together or talk on the phone. He has a message for everyone who has been trying to reach out to him, but with Facebook, it has been hard for him to reply to everyone, so he asked me about a couple of weeks ago to set up a discussion for him on the Wättssoul discussion forum, a place for him where your questions would be answered privately or publicly. We will be setting him up with a profile too so you guys can post your questions on the forum and help the Locking community by publicly sharing your thoughts. If you want privacy, send your questions to Scoo B Doo’s Wättssoul’s private inbox, if not your questions might be helpful to someone else so just post it in the discussion forum. We will also put up a list of questions and answers that Scoo B Doo has been holding onto for the last year. We really hope to make this work for him, and maybe it’ll be a way for us to help spread more knowledge and contribute to the Locking community.

Why get involved? I always have tried to build bridges between pioneers and the new generation. Most dancers my age refer to each other as the mid-generation, we often fill the gaps, we hear stories of the past and seek the stories of the future. We try to be objective, and cross-reference as much as we can, and trust me when I say, it isn’t easy to serve everyone we wish to help and connect. We jump through hoops and try to make everyone happy, but in the end, we often get burned – This is not an “Oh! Poor me rant!” far from it, all of it is worth it, and the lessons are life-altering. It is also the reason why many of us invest in our “own” businesses. Trying to serve without having a strong foundation is letting outside forces dictate how to build your house, in the end, it will never be the retreat you hoped for, and you’ll end up moving out, in search of a new community to belong to, or a new dwelling. No one can build your house better than yourself, and this is why we created Wättssoul, something that is a reflection of us and possibly can inspire others to look at their reflection, and build their legacy. We are happy if you follow us, and we are also happy if you prefer doing your own thing because your thing is what inspires us to create. Looking at the picture below reminds me of how we mobilized ourselves as collectives just because we believed Scoo B had a story to tell. RJ “KoolRaul” Navalta from Creative Grounds invited Scoo B Doo to judge the “Know Your Rank” event and “All The Way Live” dance workshops in San Francisco, and while he was there, they took it upon themselves to set up a photo-shoot which as you can see produced some pretty legendary shots. Wättssoul facilitated the process by acting as the middleman, managing Scoo B Doo’s affairs because we had the tools to do so.

“Trust me, Tash, don’t do what I did 30 years ago. Don’t give up! You will never be able to get those years back.” Jimmy Scoo B Doo Foster

Jimmy Scoo B Doo Foster

We had just launched the first version of the Wättssoul website (Spring 2012), our heads filled with ideas, and management was one of them. What they call beginner’s luck was the vibe we were on. Inspiration comes from everywhere, big plans, everything was flowing, but something inside me kept creeping up and threw me off balance, like an invisible shadow making everything unclear. I had come to a point where I had to figure out why I was feeling empty.

Hence, I started retreating. For someone who always had much to say, I lost my voice trying to be everything to everyone. I was seriously thinking of quitting. I was feeling the pressure. Dealing with my own expectations on top of everyone else’s was pretty frightening. I felt like something inside me was breaking and I remember Scoo B’s deep voice trying to reason with me. He said something that day on the phone that made me stop and reflect; he said “Trust me, Tash, don’t do what I did 30 years ago. Don’t give up! You will never be able to get those years back.” We all know that when an artist snaps, trying to reason with them is nearly impossible, but what he had that I lacked was “20+ years of life experience”. He had lived, loved, hurt over this culture too, and he was trying to share his wisdom with me. As much as I wanted to ignore it, and go pout in my cave (yes I am a cavewoman hahaha), I couldn’t tell him he was wrong. How would I know that? I would have had to live 20 more years in my cave, and hopefully, get resuscitated by a culture who might not have any memories of my past contributions. Good luck with that Tash! So the point to the story is I urge you all to find your uncles, your aunties, your sisters, and brothers, or whatever you want to call them. They are the ones who will always reach out to you, even when you think the world has forgotten about you. 

Photography of Scoo B Doo Locking
Photographer: James “Sling” Dang

In the end, the lesson is, we all need each other to make our mark. We are all connected so let us build strong communities, share our stories with the world, and believe we can be the change we wish to see in the world. In moments of deep frustration, to surrender may be the path to your sanctuary.

Hope you enjoyed this read, and stay tuned for the Scoo B Doo Q & A’s coming soon and feel free to share this blog with your community.

On behalf of the Wättssoul Team.

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