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Review: When The Beat Drops – A High Energy and Inspiring Look At The World of Bucking

“Bucking” It’s the dance move you’ve probably seen but didn’t know about! Sit back and tune into Logo’s premiere on August 9 because When The Beat Drops is everything you ever needed to know.

Jamal Sims IMBD shows his work as a choreographer on films such as Step Up and Hairspray. He has also worked with the likes of Madonna and Jennifer Lopez. For his latest work, Sims steps behind the camera in his directorial debut to take us on a “bucking” ride.

In When The Beat Drops, Sims uncovers the dance movement, predominantly looking at black gay dancers in Georgia, Atlanta and tracing the origins of this high energetic hip-thrusting move that all began with female cheerleaders.  At the center of it all is Anthony, better known as “Big Tony”, the pioneer of the “bucking” movement in the 90’s. While Voguing was all the rage over the New York scene, bucking was emerging in the underground scenes of the South and it was Big Tony who created the competitions where dancers could do what they did best and thrust for their lives as they compete. 

What makes When The Beat Drop a fascinating watch are the stories of the dancers. By day, Napoleon is a music teacher and non-profit director, Flash is a web radio broadcaster. By night, their high energy dance moves are unleashed as they practice. Sims hits when the dancers share their personal stories – Big Tony gets mugged in a parking lot one day. Flash’s mother reveals the struggles of her crack addiction and her struggles with her son, it’s a powerful watch. Sims also examines the homophobia and racism they face,  but through these stories, he contrasts their struggles with their passion for doing what they love the most. It goes without saying that the highlights of are the incredible dance performances, the technical ability of the dancers will leave you in awe. 

The greatest gift this documentary reminds us of is that when society imposes their stigmas on us, to ignore it and follow your heart and most importantly, your passion. Watching these dancers perform is such an inspiration to our lives whether we are dancers or not. 

World of Wonder’s Randy Barbato recently told me in an interview that he and producing partner Fenton Bailey have known Sims since the days of RuPaul’s Talk Show, “I’ve watched him grow up into this extraordinary world-class choreographer and proud gay black man. Now, he’s a top-notch director.” Barbato says. And that, Sims is. When The Beat Drops took five years for Sims and co-producer Jordan Finnegan to bring to the screen and deliver a message of empowerment, highlighting the achievements through these electric personalities and performances and serves as a feel-good watch because we end up caring and rooting for them all as they fiercely battle it out. Credit must also be given to visionaries, Taj Paxton and Pam Post who also serve as producers on the film and for recognizing the incredible artistry in the documentary and will bring it to Logo TV on Thursday August 9 at 8pm. You won’t want to miss it.

“A true fire will always burn.” Big Tony.


When The Beat Drops airs on Logo at 8pm on Thursday, August 9th