If there were ever a b-boy name that didn’t require any explanation, it’d probably be “RoxRite.”
It’s one of those names that can make or break a b-boy’s reputation. Prove your worthiness, and it’ll help make you memorable. Fall short, and you become an easy target for jokes – the way you would if you were named “fast”-something but were actually really slow.
Fortunately, Omar O. Delgado Macias of Richmond, California, was able to rise to the challenge.
Simply put, Delgado – better known as RoxRite – rocks right, the way one should b-boy. It shows in his collection of 61 tournament victories around the world, including 21 one-on-one tournament victories.
When he dances, each of his movements seems deliberate and precise. His flow somehow manages to be very light and buoyant but also solid and aggressive.
And the 26-year-old doesn’t just rock one “style” either. From his smooth footwork to his powermoves to his signature freeze combinations, everything RoxRite does seems suspended in time and space. And because he seems to be able to break the law of gravity, he’s able to follow the law of never, ever crashing.
And that’s why the name fits him so well. Like his dancing flavor, it’s pretty straightforward yet also mind-blowingly profound.
Of course, a dope name doesn’t always make a dope b-boy. In fact, for RoxRite, the name only seems to confirm what’s been a part of him ever since he was born.
Sure, it takes a lot of dedication and training to get on RoxRite’s level. But in the same way that he makes b-boying seem effortless, he makes living the life of a struggling “freelance b-boy” look so natural that it almost seems like it was a matter of fate.
Even before he could remember it, his parents would take him to parks in Mexico to watch the local b-boys when he was “real little.”
The small child would sit and watch for hours, mesmerized by their movements.
Perhaps it was a matter of destiny, then, that when he saw some kids dancing at his junior high school in California, something inside him clicked.
“It kinda reminded me of me. I saw that it was something I could relate to,” RoxRite says, speaking quietly. “I could relate to the people that did it. It had something that was me. It was challenging, and the mentality was coming from a certain background – hip-hop. You can relate to it more because it comes from like a struggle background.”
It was 1995, and the deal was sealed. He was going to be a b-boy.
Fourteen years later, RoxRite still isn’t used to being a b-boy celebrity with worldwide b-boy fame.
For instance, there was the girl on MySpace who was flaunting the title of being “RoxRite’s wifey.”
Except there was one problem: RoxRite had no idea who she was. So he deleted her.
RoxRite’s nervous laugh gives away his confusion regarding the uncomfortable, albeit humorous, situation.
“You have people constantly asking questions on a personal level,” he says. “It’s not like musicians where you have somebody representing them or running their MySpace or Facebook. You’re dealing with a person, and you respond yourself. Everything you say, they take, so you try and give the best advice you have.”
People get star struck in person, too.
There are those who comment that he looks taller in videos. And then there are those who express their surprise that he has more moves in real life than he does in his videos.
And though he’s never tried to recruit fans or win over followers, RoxRite seems to deal it with the same humble patience and logic that he applies to the rest of his life. It’s all part of being a good b-boy, and he was born loving b-boying, so he does his best.
“I’m glad people can look up to me,” RoxRite says. “I’ll try and help you even if I only have a short amount of time. But it’s still just kinda mind-blowing – it’s all new to me. It’s like, damn, I wonder how other people deal with this.”
A lot of b-boys and b-girls dream of being “famous” – of being featured on music videos and movies, gaining fame not just in the b-boy community but in the mainstream media as well.
RoxRite, however, intentionally avoids that path. Not that there’s anything wrong with being a performer, he insists; it’s just not for him. He’s just innately more comfortable with pure, unadulterated b-boying.
Sure, he’s done his share of shows, and he did have a stint dancing for the Golden State Warriors. In fact, he seems to have a pretty good understanding of what it takes to be the sort of b-boy it takes to survive in the show business.
“You’re going to wanna perform for people, so they’ll hire you based on that,” he explains. “Your career is in movies, so what I recommend is that you learn acting. You’ll wanna do eye-catching shit – flips, headspins. And you can learn more dances.”
But his real passion isn’t as much about entertaining and hyping up crowds as much as it is about battling and teaching others about the culture.
“I like to perform, but only if it’s in a certain way I can relate to,” RoxRite says. “I don’t like to audition for performances or anything like that. It’s like, that energy where an entertainer yells, ‘Clap your hands! Clap your hands!’ isn’t my personality.”
In fact, there was a long period of time where RoxRite didn’t even feel like he had the credibility to be a teacher.
“Now I’m at a place where I don’t consider myself a master teacher, but I have good things to pass down,” he says.
In a typical RoxRite workshop, he might answer some questions about history, cover some steps and drills, go over some tactics for “coming up with new stuff from old stuff,” and show how to build improve on strength, flow, and overall cleanliness (in terms of the moves, not one’s hygiene).
And he may talk a bit about battling – one of the few topics that causes a break in RoxRite’s usually calm, quiet voice, revealing the natural passion and aggression he has bubbling inside.
“A lot of it is mental – you have to not fear your opponent,” RoxRite begins. “That’s the number one thing, first off. Don’t underestimate anybody, but don’t fear anybody.
“Let’s say there’s an airbaby trick you’ve got,” he continues, outlining an example of a battle strategy he uses. “Say you wanna set them up for this. You throw a complex round with technical things, then go into a quick airbaby. The guy says, ‘I got something for that.’ Then he throws something with an airbaby. Then you respond with your killer. Set them up for defeat. That’s very old school. It comes from ‘90s power.
“There’s many more ways of how to attack,” RoxRite concludes. “You always want to be confident, but not too cocky. You gotta believe in yourself, or then people watching or judging aren’t gonna believe in you in the battle. Carry that with you.”
Of course, what constitutes a “battle” has changed a lot, even in the time that RoxRite has been dancing.
Though he primarily makes a living by competing in organized battles, RoxRite says nothing can compare with circle battles when it comes to squashing beef, testing yourself, and learning how to battle in the first place.
“In long round battles, you see who’s really holding it down,” he says. “In short-round battles anybody can lose – you might be doing warm-up shit or your heaviest shit. A real, real battle is in circles for me, honestly. You go and push yourself to the limit. You have circle battles nowadays where they wanna battle three or four rounds. That’s not a really real battle in my eyes.
“Before I competed, I battled at schools, at dances – everywhere I went, I battled,” RoxRite continues. “You go until you quit or you’re obviously dominating that battle. Circle battles are more important if you’re learning how to battle. You have to get a feeling for that. You really have to learn how to go at it – not just talking shit, but really exchanging moves. When you really test yourself, you learn what you need to do better. That’s how you progress. Then, in a competition, you feel more comfortable, and it’s easier to jump out in a tournament, since four rounds ain’t shit if you’ve battled 20, 25 rounds.”
And the Internet has changed the idea of paying dues as well.
For newer generations, the most visible form of exposure has come through Internet footage. For some new b-boys and b-girls, the tried and true method of paying your dues in real-life scenarios has been replaced by flaunting a résumé of video clips.
It doesn’t feel right to RoxRite.
“Before, you had to grind it out to get that rep. People still need to go by that, “RoxRite says. “For people that don’t have access to hip-hop that we have, where b-boying is not as big yet and it’s very secluded, then it’s understandable. But people who are trailer-this or trailer-that – that’s for a movie. If you’re coming out with a DVD, then it’s a trailer. If not, then it’s a clip. Go battle people. Go build your rep. Go let people know what you’re capable of doing. Seems like people are too caught up – they just wanna be so big so fast. Give it time.”
RoxRite pauses. Ever the strategic battler, he considers his own words.
“And just so people know, I didn’t put all those videos of me out there. I’ve only put up a Break Disciples one and maybe one more and that’s it,” he says. “I also hear people say that I don’t hit up circles. Well, that’s just what they think. Just because I don’t hit the same circle you was in doesn’t mean I didn’t.”
Natural defensiveness aside, one of the most striking things about RoxRite is how unusually humble he is.
More and more nowadays, it seems like the line between b-boy battle braggadocio and real-life drama is getting blurred. RoxRite, on the other hand, actually seems content. Maybe it’s just his personality or just how he handles all things b-boying internally; he’s obviously still hungry, but he speaks with a overall tone of ease that most other b-boys seem to lack.
For example, even though winning or losing a battle can mean having money for rent or not, he makes a point never to harass judges, even when they may have made poor decisions.
“They saw it a certain way that moment,” RoxRite explains. “I’m not gonna change the outcome by asking them. It’s good to learn history and foundation – that’s good. But I’m not gonna change my way of dance because I lost and you tell me I should do it a certain way. When I lose, it’s just whatever. You win some, you lose some.”
And RoxRite doesn’t seem hung up on the fact that he hasn’t struck riches, either. He’s surprisingly open and unashamed about his humble financial situation.
It hasn’t been that long since he was able to leave behind the food industry. One can only imagine how many pizza customers opened the door impatiently, completely oblivious to the fact that their pizza delivery guy was one of the most respected b-boys in the world.
In early 2007, he was working three jobs to support himself after half a year of not working because of an injury.
Sure, it would be nice if b-boys could rake in cash. But RoxRite seems to have come to terms with the fact that non-entertainer b-boys usually don’t make a ton of money – like it was a condition he knew about and signed up for from the beginning.
Most people are never forced sit down and choose between making tons of money or being a b-boy. But one gets the feeling that RoxRite already chose long ago, and his commitment to b-boying was unshakeable. It makes sense; he just really, really loves being a b-boy.
And for that reason, it seems difficult for him to think of anything he doesn’t like about the state of b-boying – he’d rather talk about why he loves it.
“It’s everywhere. That, in itself, is beautiful,” RoxRite says. “In almost every country, somebody is there that breaks or tries to break. When I was young and first started, I never would have imagined that there were b-boys everywhere, and they’re all positive. Hip-hop and b-boying are positive movements.
“It’s weird – it’s like a code we live by. It’s hard to explain. Makes me feel like, damn, that’s crazy. That’s beautiful and dope. To inspire somebody from South Africa be like, ‘Oh! RoxRite!’ – it’s dope. And everybody keeps it positive. As far as b-boys, they all wanna learn, dance, and keep dance alive.”
He seems especially grateful that for the past few months, he’s been able to rely completely on dancing to pay the bills for the first time in his life.
It’s what he calls being a “freelance b-boy,” meaning he takes on different b-boys jobs without a steady pay. Up to four times a month, he’ll take jobs judging in Florida or Chicago, or maybe going to battle in Portugal or France.
“For now, I just continue to pursue my passion,” he explains. “I do have a girlfriend that I live with. We support each other, which is a really good thing to have. With b-boying, I am able to support myself financially, but at times, it gets a little tight.”
Though being a “freelance b-boy” may not be the most lucrative profession, it’s not without its perks – like, say, traveling around the world for free.
RoxRite fondly reminisces about trips to Brazil, South Africa, and Australia as well as jams like the UK B-Boy Championships in 2005 or Pro-Am in 1999 that inspired him so much.
“Those moments were important,” he says. “That was like, ‘Whoa, damn. This is something I really like.’ I felt like I could live doing this.”
And this past December, he was even able to travel to lead a workshop in the Middle East.
“In Kuwait, b-boying is illegal,” RoxRite says. “Even clubbing is illegal. To see them and to see kids get down – it was inspiring because they have the heart to do what they like to do.”
Of course, there are travel stories galore, like the one about how RoxRite managed to win a jam in Japan in 2006, even with an almost-broken arm.
After hearing a ripping side from the muscle above the back of his elbow, he decided to battle alongside Lego anyway.
“It started to swell up into a ball,” RoxRite says. “It was fucking hard. I did that battle doing stuff on my left hand. I didn’t tell people like, ‘Oh, I’m hurt.’ What the fuck am I gonna do? It was really painful. It turned black and purple, and the swelling went down to my wrist. I was just a guy playing his role – you do what you can. People talk, and they don’t know. They’re gonna say what they’re gonna say – I’m not gonna go out there and be like ‘Yeah, I was hurt!’”
With his arm still badly injured, RoxRite competed against Juice Boogie the next week at the UK B-Boy Championships, and he was still injured when he won third place at the Red Bull BC One Sao Paulo.
That fierce commitment to the game seems to go hand in hand with RoxRite’s love for experiencing different cultures.
“That’s dope when you can tell the difference between b-boys because each area has its own flavor,” he notes as he reminisces about his travels. “It’s learning about the roots of where you’re coming from. Learn the history of your area. Learn about the people who were there before.”
Even having traveled so much, RoxRite says he still hopes to visit Russia, Greece, and the Caribbean some day, and he dreams of the day when he will be able to claim 100 wins.
And considering that he trains enough to be a serious competitor even when he’s seriously injured, his goals don’t seem too far-fetched.
Even when you’re being flown out to b-boy events four times a month, it leaves a lot of downtime between gigs.
For RoxRite, a lot of that time goes into training and developing new combos and moves.
As mentioned earlier, RoxRite has an unmistakably clean and fluid flow, and he attributes much of that flavor to his disciplined approach to training.
“I never intentionally try to be like this way or look a certain way,” he says. “I guess what it comes from is the mentality of always knowing when I dance, I do stuff that I can do. Say I’m in a battle – I’m not gonna try moves I haven’t got down. If I feel moves, I’ll do that move at that moment.”
Of course, there are inevitably haters who are quick to criticize RoxRite’s success and style. Some accuse him of being too basic, while others claim that RoxRite uses sets.
RoxRite addresses these accusations by attributing them to a lack of understanding and by welcoming any challengers to battle him.
“Just because my freestyle doesn’t look like I’m about to fall or I’m catching myself doesn’t mean it’s not freestyling,” he says. “I have moves, not sets – what I do is just try to combine my moves in different ways. When I get down, I think of at least four or five moves. Then what I do is freestyle in and out of those moves. Sometimes, shit’s flowing more, so I can add more. Sometimes it’s not, so I cut it short.”
It’s all part of RoxRite’s strategy of training by falling in and out of his moves in different ways.
“Certain little steps will trigger certain movements,” he says. “When I practice, I try many different little things. I try to practice all these other moves I haven’t done in while and kinda just do them from different angles. Like, a CC to ninja freeze to continuous windmill to backspin – you try stuff differently.”
And with the name RoxRite, it’s no surprise that music is an essential part of getting his creative juices flowing when he trains.
“That’s what’s gonna make me come up with new stuff,” he says. “If you get a good break or a good beat, you get a certain energy, and you wanna release that energy. Freezes to me are like releasing a certain energy. That’s me releasing energy that beat gives me, to come up with certain things. A good beat, a rare break, a dope song that I’ve never really breaked to before will give me a new feeling, a new movement.”
But RoxRite’s practice music diet isn’t just limited to traditional breaks, either.
“Some hip-hop shit with MCing is more mellow. Like, Nas helps because it gets you zoned out,” he says. “You listen more to the flow and get in the flow and mentality. You hit the floor and flow around with freezes and sets. That’s what helps me – it zones me out to where I can concentrate more.”
Sometimes, keeping your concentration as a b-boy means you have to take a break from breaking.
“At times, I take breaks, weeks at a time, to feel renewed and refresh my mind,” RoxRite admits. “You can’t be on overdrive all the time – eventually, you’ll break down. So doing that helps me a lot.”
He also spends his free time as a self-taught video editor. After studying books and fooling with different software, RoxRite was able to edit and produce his own solo DVD with help from Kid David in 2006.
It was only a matter of time before bootleggers had ripped the “Straight Up B-Boy” and made it available for download online.
“As long as you’re selling your DVDs in your possession, and it’s not affecting you, that’s straight. It’s gonna happen anyway,” RoxRite admits. “In a way, it’s good for us, but some of us are trying to survive from it. Support your community – those in the community are gonna wanna give back, and you’ll want people to support you too. For us to grow, we need to support.”
He’s even considered going back to school to learn film in the future, especially since he believes that b-boying deserves quality documentation.
Again, RoxRite’s uncanny calm ability to handle b-boy business shines through. People are downloading his hard-earned work without supporting the culture. He really hasn’t thought much about the future other than that he might be able to fall back on film one day.
But at the end of the day, it always comes back to the dance: RoxRite is a b-boy. He loves b-boying.
RoxRite says he’s never thought about quitting the dance, even if he has to work different jobs or quit traveling as much in the future. After all, b-boying is not just his profession, but how he’s chosen to live his life.
For all practical purposes, it seems like the perfect extension of his personality and his abilities – almost as if he was chosen by b-boying, rather than him choosing to b-boy.
And with a strong support network from associated crews including Renegades, Footwork Fanatics, and Break Disciples (which he started along with Kid David in 2006), it doesn’t seem as if RoxRite will stop rocking right anytime soon.
Even as this feature was in the works, RoxRite was preparing for a trip to Portugal and planning on a future move to San Diego.
“That feeling you get when you’re dancing all day and it’s like, ‘Damn, I gotta do this again tomorrow’ – that inspires me to compete and battle and to travel,” RoxRite says. “Before, I wanted to come up and break and do this and that. Where I’m at now, I dance for the love of it. I wanna carry on this tradition – to be able to be one b-boy that can carry on this artform.”
“This is what I learned, and in a way, this is all I have.”