The History of The B-Girl With Red Bull

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Brandon Shamy

Houston, Texas. Home to some of the most powerful, gifted, and musically inclined talent in the world. In case you’ve somehow missed it over the years, Beyonce is famously from Houston (and has repped it proudly her entire 23-year-career). So is Megan Thee Stallion and plenty of others, including the legendary Bun B, DJ Screw, Slim Thug, Paul Wall, and more. Houston is also home to breaking legend Ericka “BabyGirl” Martinez.

A couple of weeks ago, we kicked off our Red Bull series with an in-depth piece that dove into the history of breaking. Today we’re taking it a step further by going into the background of B-Girling and the incredible women behind it.

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B-Girls Houston / Red Bull

So what exactly is a B-Girl?

The term itself refers to a female breaker that is heavily involved in hip-hop, and to be very clear, B-Girls have been dominating for the same amount of time as their male counterparts. B-Girls are fierce competitors on the dance floor and superwoman off of it. While they make breaking look easy, they will be the first to tell you that getting to this point hasn’t been without its challenges.

Being a woman in a male-dominated field can often be difficult at times. There’s an automatic question of how you got to be there and whether you have what it takes to make it on a certain level. Women have to work extremely hard to gain respect, and even then, we can still be reduced to the elementary school level tauntings of “being a girl.” 

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B-Girl Lexlyia / Red Bull

B-Girl Naty Lite shared the same sentiments. She was introduced to breaking around 2003, starting professionally in 2014. While the year 2003 is considered the start of the digital era to an extent, there was still a ways to go in terms of internet advancement. While the idea of one day having social media platforms may have been floating around, it wasn’t a reality until nearly a decade later.

No Instagram, TikTok, and YouTube meant that she had to get her breaking education from word of mouth. Naty Lite attended the University of Florida, and it was there that she began breaking with various groups. She also learned a lot about the art form from her B-Boy husband, Ray Gunz.  Like BabyGirl, the talented dancer was primarily focused on raising her daughter Izzy but rediscovered her love for breaking and competing as Izzy got older.

“I learned a lot about breaking from my husband. He really helped me get into it, and it was easier for me to learn that way. I started breaking in 2003, but I didn’t really compete until 2014 because my main focus was on my daughter.”

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B-Girl Powerflow / Red Bull

Like Beyonce said in her 2011 hit single "Run The World," “Strong enough to bear the children and get back to business.” BabyGirl and Naty Lite have more than proved themselves and their legacy within the breaking community, and now their main focus continues to be on mentorship and growing the sport.

Both regularly serve as judges now for these Red Bull BC One Cyphers, but as BabyGirl points out, the biggest factor is sisterhood. “Sometimes these young B-Girls think that they need to walk in and mean mug their competition, but it shouldn’t be about that. The most important thing is sisterhood and the internal respect where it’s like yeah, we’re competitors, but I see you here as a fellow young woman doing your thing.”

And this past weekend in Houston was nothing but love amongst the B-Girl competitors. There were no attitudes and no mean mugs—just a group of very passionate women doing what they love most. 

The U.S. Red Bull BC One National Finals will take place this upcoming weekend in Orlando, where one B-Boy and one B-Girl will represent the U.S. at the Red Bull BC One World Final in Gdańsk, Poland, on November 5 to 6. Stay tuned for more coverage, and you can check out Red Bull's awesome video series Rise of the B-Girl here.

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