USC Annenberg Fellow, Jessica Koslow, grew up dancing. Last year, she attended a “krump” class by Marquisa Gardner a.k.a. “Miss Prissy,” one of the founders of the energetic and expressive dance style born on the streets of South Los Angeles. Miss Prissy invited her after class to attend a weekly midnight krump session in a North Hollywood supermarket parking lot. When Jessica arrived to the midnight dance circle a few weeks later, she discovered an enthralling and thriving underground culture.
This first encounter with the midnight dance circle, nicknamed the “818 Session,” occurred while Jessica was completing the Master of Arts in Specialized Journalism (The Arts) degree from the USC Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism. As part of her coursework, Jessica took a Documentary Production class with Cinema’s William Yahraus in which she created a 15-minute documentary titled The 818 Session with fellow classmate Tshego Tee Letsaolo.
Jessica continued investigating the 818 Session beyond the completion of this course, and developed the documentary into her master’s thesis project. Although The 818 Session was her first time handling a camera, the film has seen great success. The piece premiered at the USC Annenberg Graduate Symposium in April 2012, and was later accepted into the Dances with Films and the Dance Camera West Media Film Festivals, screening at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA) in June 2012.
Exercising her journalistic muscle, Jessica is expanding her coverage beyond print and film by bringing krump to the stage to celebrate the tenth anniversary of the dance style. Over the next week, USC Visions and Voices will host three krump events that Jessica has organized with the collaboration of Dr. Sasha Anawalt, Director of the Arts Journalism Programs and Associate Professor of Professional Practice in the Journalism Department of USC Annenberg, and Taj Frazier, Assistant Professor for the USC Annenberg School for Communication. The first is the live show, The Underground: From the Streets to the Stage, taking place Wednesday, September 5, 2012 at 8:00pm in Bovard Auditorium. The Underground features two of krump’s founders, Christopher A. Toler a.k.a. “Lil’ C,” and “Miss Prissy.” The show explores issues such as gender, the use of space, and fame, through the lens of the birth and growth of krump, touching on its links to historical community dance rituals. RSVP and find out more about the show here:
The second event features Jessica herself, and takes place Tuesday, September 11, at 12:00pm noon, in Annenberg 207: Journalism Director’s Forum –Krump on the Screen and Stage: A Conversation with Miss Prissy, Star of “Rize,” and Journalist Jessica Koslow.
The final event is a krump dance workshop with krump legends, Lil’ C and Miss Prissy, which will take place Wednesday, September 12 at 5:00pm in the North Gym in PED:
Jessica earned her degree in May 2012, and thanks the USC Annenberg Graduate Fellowship and the Master of Arts in Specialized Journalism (The Arts) programs for providing the opportunity to explore her interests as a mid-career journalist: “One of the greatest gifts of going back to grad school is to be able to write stories that interest me.”
Congratulations, Jessica Koslow!