“No Sleeping in the Trophy Room” is REVOLT’s digital series hosted by Carlos Del Valle. This sit-down style show is a conversation series fueled by motivation, experience and truth, where Del Valle interviews successful individuals across different industries.
If there’s anything that screams New York, it’s the art of Litefeet. Without an introduction, you know it when you see it: Seemingly intricate routines that look as though dancers floating off the ground at times scored to the sounds of group chants and recognizable cuts such as Kid The Wiz’s “Love Come Down” remix or Joo and DJ C-Him’s “Valid Like Salad.” Born in Harlem sometime in the early aughts, Litefeet is identified as a modern extension of the original glory of breakdancing in the ‘70s, and naturally, its vast popularization can be pinned to a group of artists, DJs, and dancers who have taken the craft, and outpaced their peers. Among them is the indisputable Forefather of Litefeet, King of Spank (KOS).
”I always knew I was that man,” says the seasoned dancer and creative in the latest edition of “No Sleeping In The Trophy Room.” “Someone told me, ‘When you the man, you not supposed to say it,’ but I always knew I was the man.”
This infectious morale is a shining quality of KOS, as he minces no words when it comes to giving himself his flowers. It’s a practice he’s long-adopted, as KOS recalls times when being a dancer felt as though he was at the bottom of the food chain.
”Dancers, we’re like the bottom of the entertainment pole. We’re the last thing to think about as far as getting payment and actually being respected,” he told the show’s host Los Antonio.
It was this sentiment that caused a young KOS to go from dancing at others’ events to choosing to play both host and dancer in a series of functions, which put entertainers such as himself in control for once.
”I basically shifted the game...we’re the creators so I felt like we had to control it,” he added.
For KOS, this control extends far beyond any surface-level authority. Rather, it signaled toward a theme of inclusivity that continues to characterize his ethos. What it translates to is the significance of keeping Litefeet and its adjacent cultures in the hands of those who made it.
”Everything I was inspired by was something I lived,” he declared, making reference to early influence Harlem’s Al B, who created the Harlem Shake. “Everything I do, I lived. Nothing is fabricated when it comes to dancing, I can really dance. If I say imma get fly, Imma really get fly. That’s just Harlem. Harlem takes pride in everything we do.”
This pride is easy to spot, too. It’s a hallmark of Uptown that materializes in a well-documented swagger that birthed the King Of Spank’s namesake.
”The spank is an entity within itself,” he explains of the intangible attribute. “The spank is an energy that you have; a confidence. You either have it or you don’t. You can’t buy spank.”
This unshaken spirit would eventually allow KOS to land his first major break and bring Litefeet and the spank to the masses when he was tapped to dance for Diddy and Pharrell Williams’ “Finna Get Loose” music video. The opportunity would ultimately pride KOS with a memorable quote: “Tired gets you fired.”
The words were uttered by Justin Combs after KOS was caught yawning onset. Those words continue to influence him to this day.
”When he said it wasn’t about me actually being tired. It was a bigger message,” he said. “Never let anyone see you tired. Never let someone see you down. No matter what, you always gotta have your game face. You never know who’s watching. From then, I got my mind right mentally and got in tune.”
This shift in mentality has certainly contributed to a great yield for the Harlem native who has since cultivated a movement that bled into the neighboring Bronx, crept down to Brooklyn and eventually found its way to places like Japan, Paris, Los Angeles, and London.
KOS affirmed, ”The culture is everywhere, it’s global for real.”
True to his creed, KOS hasn’t harbored the fruits of his labor to himself, emphasizing the importance of legacy and the great need to open doors for the dancers and creatives around him. This has included taking on the role of creative director for BB Simon and playing a central role into the brand’s foray into the realm of high fashion. It’s also included his role in revitalizing the Litefeet movement with the popularized act of dancing on New York City’s subways.
”Our goal was to get the culture popping again,” says KOS. “Now, it’s exactly that.”
The artform of LiteFeet has since found its way to stages such as “America’s Got Talent” and has helped market brands such as Ciroc and Nike, and, without a doubt, it can all be traced back to the contagious passion and zeal rooted in KOS.
”Believe in your vision and be true to your vision,” he aptly reminds us. “If someone doesn’t believe in your vision, it’s fine because it’s yours.”