Felix Huang (aka B-boy ThinkTwice) is 2 years shy of turning 40 and has been a b-boy since 1998. Aside from that, he wears multiple-hats such as a mentor and consultant to youths, dance business owners, and corporations in Singapore and around the Asia Pacific region.
An entrepreneur in dance since 2010, he is part of the Radikal Forze crew, who have organised major festivals such as the *SCAPE Radikal Forze Jam. The man with boundless energy is also part of the 7$ Crew and founded Recognize Studios, which provides street dance classes.
Popspoken: How did you get into your current line of work?
I kind of fell into it, without actually planning for it. I started out dancing in 1998 purely because it was a fun thing to do with my friends. When I moved to Australia to further my education in Computer Science, I learnt more about the culture of hip hop, and that made me want to travel to New York to attend hip hop events to further understand the culture.
After I came back from studies, I kept on dancing, competing, and even started teaching in schools about b-boying and the hip hop culture. Soon enough I was helping out for other companies run small dance events, and eventually I decided to launch my own event – *SCAPE Radikal Forze Jam (RFJam), which quickly grew bigger year after year, despite having only a 250 pax attendance in the inaugural event in 2008. It has since grown to attract over 10,000 people from over 40 countries attending RFJam.
In 2010, which was 12 years into my dance career, I had the urge to start a studio as I was in the field of educating people about dance, and I felt it was natural progression and that it was very important to constantly grow the community through a group effort, rather than just myself.
Twenty-one years after being into hip hop culture and breaking, I’m happy to be still around doing what I do and being a catalyst for the growth of the love of dance and hip hop culture! I don’t know what else I would be doing now if it were not for hip hop in my life. Well I could’ve been a computer programmer doing codes for some multinational company, but what fun is that?!
Popspoken: How does a normal day look like?
Well, my days are pretty much like any other person who runs their own business. Lots of business meetings and general discussions with different creatives, dance entrepreneurs, and dance communities to create opportunities for work, not just in Singapore but in other countries as well.
I travel quite a fair bit, largely around the Asia-Pacific region to judge events, do business development, and to network as well throughout the entire work year.
Popspoken: What are the top 3 apps you use in your creative work?
Gmail, Facebook, and Instagram.
It is the social media age, and if you are not getting with the programme, you will be losing out. Gotta keep up with the times.
Popspoken: What is the biggest challenge you face as a creative in Singapore?
I believe the biggest challenge is creating and growing a sustainable business that feeds not only myself, but the people around me who are passionate about what we do, and to make our industry a legitimate profession in the eyes of the masses.
Popspoken: What is your biggest creative pet peeve?
Having to justify our worth to people who don’t understand that it is a craft, and it also takes just as long as a person who wants a university degree to be able to earn a living.
Popspoken: Do you have any advice for aspiring creatives?
As creatives, we tend to think we can handle everything, but we can’t. We are creative people, which mostly do not understand how businesses work, it is a completely different world.
I believe that creatives who want to get successful in being able to sustain themselves should be on the constant learning curve to better themselves in the business side of things or learn to collaborate with others who do. It is all about elevating what you do and evolving with the times to be able to stay fresh, and relevant to the world around us.
Popspoken: Where do you go and what do you do for inspiration?
I travel a lot. I love travelling to see how different countries operate, and how each of these different countries keep their creative industries alive.
There is so many learnings that one can take home and apply when you keep your eyes open. Sometimes I also look at other industries outside of dance as well!
Popspoken: Are there any books or blogs you’d recommend?
I would recommend most books written by Malcolm Gladwell.
Popspoken: What have you worked on that you’re most proud of?
It would definitely be the *SCAPE Radikal Forze Jam. Bringing tens of thousands of people from all over the world to Singapore, people who are passionate about dance and the hip hop sub-culture, year after year.
It has been an amazing 12 years of the event, which came from a humble beginning as just a b-boy battle event with 250 people, to what it is now as an international dancers vacation where we can congregate and do what we love, create, share, exchange, network, and build together as a worldwide industry.
RFJam is the unprecedented hip hop culture event of a global scale right here in Singapore, to successfully combine the performance, education, and business aspects of hip hop onto one global stage.
Popspoken: How do you approach getting stakeholders on board?
That is always challenging, but I believe it is always about the right fit and understanding the objectives of the stakeholders.
It’s never about what you want, it’s about communicating what you have, to be able to achieve a common goal together.
Popspoken: Is there anything you want to promote?
I want to promote dance as a legitimate career and profession to the masses. Hip hop culture, and street dance has evolved from its birth in the ghetto of New York city, to a worldwide industry and community in the last 40 years! Since its humble beginnings, hip hop has evolved from the street to television and the Internet; and has since become a staple of pop culture.
Hip hop has significantly redefined and shaped our culture, evolving to expand beyond just dance and music, with an inherent entrepreneurial extension covering spaces including fashion, sports, and technology.
We have a very vibrant eco-system of dancers, dance studios, videographers, photographers, visual artists, marketeers, event organizers, music producers, DJs, merchandisers, and so much more! The question is where do we go from here? What happens in the next 40 years of hip hop culture and the celebration of street dance?
Popspoken: How would you like to be remembered?
Many people who have interacted with me over these past 21 years of me being in hip hop has different memories of who I was, and who I am. It’s kinda like a time capsule which brings me back to different times of my existence, and I would like that to never change.
But if I were to have a specific thing that I would like to be remembered as, it would be that I was just the average b-boy from Singapore, that fought every day for the community to somewhat help chip in to the vibrant scene that we have today and did it with all my heart, blood, sweat, and tears – as there literally was.
Creatives In The Lion City is a series hosted by Sheryl Teo on Popspoken. Read exclusive interviews with artisan souls in Singapore, as we get behind-the-scenes with the dreamers and doers in various artistic spheres and creative disciplines.