Jamaican dance culture for many decades has captured the attention of the world and while the iconic moves have been popular influencing other genres, it’s also been controversial and deadly at times.
Humphrey Phillips Jr. known to the world as Spinal who hails from Swamp Road in Yallas St Thomas, has been dancing across New York City for the past 7 years. Spinal story of immigration which mirrors many other families across the Caribbean, shows how one can continue their love and passion even outside the islands beautiful shores.
After his mom brought him to NYC under false pretenses, as she sought better opportunities for her son. Spinal never gave up his love for dancing and continued pursuing his passion in the streets of New York City.
Unable to stop dancing, his popularity continued grew but so did the struggles too. He recalls dancing at events for free, after being advertised as a guest performer to even promoting events without pay. Though he wasn’t at the legal age to even drink in the big city, Jamaicans parties welcomed him as he represented for dancers back home, whilst preserving the culture.
Over time his popularity in NYC grew, and his resume now boasts cameos with reggae artist Jahmeil, Hood Celebrity, Blak Ryno and even recently appearing in Kemar Highcon Sauce remix with Billboard charting artiste Spice and Grammy-award winning recording artiste Shaggy.
His recent collaboration with @THATSTHEDANCER bringing life to Kartel’s single “Then You & Me” off the acclaimed album ‘To Tanesha’ caught the artiste eyes. Spinal realizing he had the Gaza Boss attention partnered with Pyrotech Dancers releasing a choreography for Vybz Kartel single “Tony Montana” that led to a public endorsement from the genres king. The video which was re-posted to the incarcerated world boss Instagram page has amassed thousand of views to date.
“I’m pleased that Vybz Kartel who is the King of Dancehall saw the talent and acknowledge it but I’m a regular Jamaican youth here in the big apple seeking to keep the culture alive, not just in the streets of New York City but globally. I do it because I love it not because of the fame but because of the opportunities that can stem from it not just for me but others” -Spinal stated.
A humble youth from Swamp Road who cherishes family, religion and the right to artistic expression, Spinal seeks to use his talent to further his entrepreneurial endeavors. As he eyes opening a commercial complex giving space to others in the arts, he also want to explore his love of cooking by opening a Jamaican cuisine restaurant in NYC.
Currently one of the front-line workers in NYC, Spinal love for his Jamaican roots and culture keeps him focused and humbled on his journey.
Follow @Spinalphillips on Instagram to see his artistry.