It’s no secret that the targeting of subway performers has only increased since Police Commissioner William Bratton was appointed, and underscored the city’s need to enforce the “Broken Windows” policy. Among the many performers, though, is 5-year-old Nasir Malave, a talented dancer who roams the trains with his older brother, Marc, dancing to make money.
He’s the focus in a Huffington Post video feature about child subway performers, and part of a longer written piece on the lives of those who perform underground to make money.
Nasir’s parents, Fred and Jessica Malave, are interviewed throughout the video and at one point they talk about their son’s view of the NYPD.
“With Nasir,” Fred Malave says, “his outlook on the police [is] bad. We try to explain to him that not all cops are like that.”
As for Nasir’s thoughts on NYPD?
“Imma punch them in the face,” he says. “‘Cause they stink.”
Because Nasir and Marc don’t have after school programs, the Malaves pay a former street dancer who now runs his own non-profit company, Full Circle, to train their kids, three days a week. Gabriel “Kwikstep” Dionisio charges $25 for the week.
Dionisio knows the challenges of being a minority in this city. “When you’re black and brown, it’s not enough to just be amazing,” Dionisio says. “Our friends who are white, they can come in and out of the culture as easily as they breathe, but for us, this is all we have. We have to be five times better than anyone else. We don’t have a choice.”
(Photo: Emily Kassie)