Majestic Gents Step Their Way Towards Black Awareness
The Majestic Gents use Chicago style steppin to educate and increase awareness of Black culture throughout the world by hosting classes, events that give exposure to Chicago’s South Side culture.
James Fraizer founded The Majestic Gents in 1996, according to their official website. Twenty-three years later the organization has won numerous step competitions, starred in films and performed for well-known musicians such as Jamie Foxx and the O’Jays.
After growing up in a poor neighborhood on the South Side of Chicago, Fraizer developed a desire to change his community so he started The Majestic Gents. He was able to make his dream a reality by teaching people the art of dance, hosting fundraisers and traveling around the world with Chicago steppers to introduce the culture of stepping.
For Fraizer, stepping has a very personal place in his life due to how it can give people of color an opportunity to “share their culture with others”. Stepping is “colorless” and something anyone can learn and do without being judged, he said.
“The music is great, you know, so when you are going through a lot, you’re dealing with a lot, ain’t nothing like going home or going to an event and listening to some Chicago’s stepper’s music and getting out there and going steppin’,” Frazier said. “It’s a form of a lifestyle, it’s a form of relief… Stepping’ is also it’s a great exercise.”
According to multiple sources stepping is a style of ballroom dance formerly known as boppin. Some steppers have been formally trained while others observe another stepper’s style and incorporate some of their moves into their own routine.
Through stepping it has opened many doors for the Majestic Gents, they were given the opportunity of being able to perform downtown, taught a class of various people at this year’s The Taste of Chicago for the last two years and the access to go to schools and mentor students and teach them about stepping.