MEMPHIS, TN (abc24.com) - A positive light is shining on Memphis thanks to a local dancer, Charles Riley - better known as Lil Buck. He's putting a Memphis style dance called jookin' on the map.
Jookin' is a freestyle hip hop dance. Lil Buck toured with Madonna as a back up dancer; he's performed in China, and recently made an appearance on the Colbert Report. His older brother Young Jai, also a dancer and music producer, couldn't be prouder.
The dance can be described as a cross between ballet and Michael Jackson's moon walk. A 2007 YouTube video put Lil Buck's dance moves on the road to stardom. His older brother Jai Armmer, also known as Young Jai, produced it.
"It's strictly a free style dance. It's sliding and gliding, using your hands, you know it's a very creative dance,” Young Jai told ABC24 News. “It started off being called gangsta walking and from gangsta walking it kind of evolved to jookin'.”
His brother, Lil Buck, now lives in LA. He's been on several music videos and commercials. Back home, Memphians couldn't be prouder.
"He did his thing when he was in Westwood. He was all out there,” said a friend Tanisha Farmer. “I'm very proud of him. He's a good role model."
"I think he's representing, he’s putting Memphis on the map,” said Lil Buck fan Aluselin “Malik” Silih.
"It brings shine to the city period instead of the negative outlook that we always get,” said Young Jai.
Young Jai wants the world to know and maybe even learn this native Memphis dance.
"All the jooks are very dedicated to the craft,” said Jai. “Jookin' is not a dance that you can just pick up over a week or a month's span."
Young Jai continues to produce music and make videos. He hopes more Memphians will be discovered, especially when there's so much hidden talent.
“Everybody's been putting their heart and soul for the last 7, 8 years to get it where it is now,” he said. "Hopefully we can turn all of this into a movie one day."
Every first and third Wednesday of the month, Young Jai holds an open mixer where producers, models, dancers, and anyone can showcase their talent. It is held at Club Renaissance at 1588 Madison Avenue from 7 p.m. to midnight. It’s called Memphis Movement Mixers and there is a $5 cover charge.