Excited to announce that N'tegrity In Motion will be recognizing Bgirl Tynee, GoShow Your Self Merchandise in #fellowshipfridays next Blog Issue. She supported me with her line Resilient last year, giving me the courage to follow through and use my voice.
Photo by Tckproinc
I almost can’t believe that one year has passed since I published my first blog! It simultaneously feels like a lifetime has passed and in no time at all so much has happened!
First, I want to extend a gigantic and genuine thank you to everyone who read my story, shared the blog, and supported me. Together, we reached over 12,500 people and four continents (North America, South America, Europe, and Asia)! We had the blog translated into Spanish and a petition to remove Xcel from his position was signed over 700 times.
I have had the incredible support of some truly impactful organizations including Dance Safe, Floor Lords, Unscripted Podcast, Breaking Barriers, Child of this culture, Bgirl Collective, Not All That Glitters, Rede Bgirls do Brasil, United Hip Hop Vanguard, and people have rallied by my side to fight for a safer breakin’ community.
Although that blog I published one year ago made a huge impact, we still have a long way to go! But that’s okay. I’m looking to the future and I see a world that is safer, happier, and more inclusive for all!
In this blog, I want to celebrate how far we’ve come and begin to pave the way for anyone who wants to fight against sexual abuse, harassment, and bullying in the breakin community. With the Paris Olympic games right around the corner, I believe there has never been a more important time to pull our resources together and create a environment where everyone feels safe enough to follow their dreams - wherever those dreams may lead.
US Breakin’ Announces Xcel’s Resignation
The first and biggest result of the blog is Xcel (Jonathan Escotto), the Vice President of USA Breakin’ resigned from his position. I was hoping that the blog would spark an official investigation that ended in Xcel’s removal. However, that is not what happened.
First, USA Dance released a letter saying that he was suspended from his position while they investigated the claims I made in the blog. You can read that letter here.
Ken Richards, President of USA Dance, said:
“USA Dance, Inc. has been notified by the USA Breakin’ Board of Directors that their DanceSport Vice President, Jonathan ‘Xcel’ Escotto, has been accused of a SafeSport Violation and as such has been suspended from his position pending an investigation.”
USA Breakin’ also released a letter. It simply stated:
“Dear USA Breakin’ Community,
An article was posted online today accusing a member of our Board of Directors, Jonathan "Xcel" Escotto, of rape in 2011.
USA Breakin’ has a zero tolerance policy for abuse or misconduct and seeks to ensure a safe environment in which dance athletes all can thrive.
Given the allegations, we are immediately suspending Jonathan's role in our organization as we conduct an investigation of this matter.
Our hearts are heavy to learn of these allegations and for all victims who have experienced abuse. We will do everything in our power to ensure our athletes can practice their sport in a safe and healthy environment.
You can view the Facebook post with this letter here.
Unfortunately, the investigation was never able to occur because Xcel resigned. With his resignation, the investigation was called off. Along with that, USA Breakin’ did not themselves announce that Xcel would be leaving his position, nor did they allow for an unbiased announcement. Instead, they let Xcel speak for himself. You can read his resignation letter below.
USA Breakin’ posting his resignation letter effectively allows Xcel to control the narrative. At worst, posting this was an act of solidarity with Xcel. At best, it was a really awful mistake - one that caused a lot of backlash.
Understandably, people in the breakin’ community were immediately outraged. They communicated their feelings on Facebook.
“As a dance sport athlete and as an individual who’s been Safe Sport Certified since 2016 and has a Bachelors in Public Relations, the blatant bias in this announcement is quite disheartening.
Moving forward, how will you ensure that any and all allegations or concerns will be taken seriously and investigated fully without bias or personal interest?
What steps will you take to prioritize safety over image and/or results?” -Michiko Sharpe (Facebook)
“1. Nah a full investigation needs to be done and the results told to the community to ensure 1, USA Breakin cares about the community’s women/female practioners or organizers who maybe don’t break directly.
2. The accused in his letter is also doing what must abusers to, centering the letter around himself, talking about their love for the thing or group they’re in, and then finishing it out with ‘they’re lying and I’ll handle it lowkey.’” - Hauston Grimes (Facebook)
“While I understand your organization’s attempt at transparency by sharing the letter, your organization's statement and non-reply regarding the contents in the letter does not make anyone feel safe.
If you are here to build public trust, you are failing at it.
If I have a daughter, female students, and/or female colleagues who want to join breaking at the Olympic level, given what I have stated, why should I bother recommending your organization to them? -Sheng Tan (Facebook)
After being inundated with questions and concerns from the community, USA Breakin’ disabled comments underneath the resignation letter and released another statement, which did not allow any comments at all:
I want to thank Floor Lords, Xcel’s crew for taking immediate action and removing Xcel from their crew. They posted the following letter on their Instagram: