Illusion Apparel: What’s your favorite thing about your craft?
Kareem Gwinn: The favorite thing about my craft is the freedom that it gives me to express myself, and the self-discipline it gives me that I carry on in my day to day life.
IA: How long have you been working on your craft?
KG:I’ve been dancing for 21 years and have been a professional b-boy since I was 14 years old.
IA: How did you get started?
KG:How I got started in my craft, I was just a normal kid in my neighborhood, and I saw some kids breaking on the street, super random, honestly asked them what they were doing and they told me they were b-boying. So, I kinda started from there.
IA:Who or what are your current inspirations?
KG: My current inspirations, it sounds weird, but I definitely – it’s not really any dancers at this moment. I’ve been really watching a lot of Mike Tyson interviews. The reason why I like Mike Tyson is because – people might think Mike Tyson is like a crazy guy, and of course, what he did in the past is crazy, but his transformation from being the youngest boxing world champion and having all the money in the world, to having no money, an to now being a father and having a family, and be more spiritual is really inspiring to me to see him go through that transformation, so I watch a lot of Mike Tyson interviews.
IA: What advice do you have for others who want to pursue break dancing?
KG: The advice I would give to people who want to pursue dancing, it would be, to be honest – just follow your heart. I know that sometimes it's hard to follow your heart because society has a certain standard that you're supposed to live, you're supposed to do this, you're supposed to do that, but that’s their standard, it's not your standard. So, I would say as long as you follow your heart and stay close to your family then I mean, you kinda have no limits, you know.
IA: What was your best moment / most memorable event in your craft?
KG: The most memorable event in my dancing career actually has nothing to do with a dancing event in general. It actually has to do with taking my mom to Italy with me for her first time out the country. And the reason why that was so important was because I started dancing and traveling the world when I was 14 years old and she allowed me to travel the world and consistently travel into my adulthood pretty much. And the way I was able to give her the opportunity to go to Italy was through paying for it through my dancing. So I would say that is probably my most memorable, most important event in my dancing career.
IA: What do you define ‘illusion’?
KG: When I think of Illusion, I think of something that’s kinda imaginary. It's not in your face, but it is in your face. It can be away from your face, but it can not be away from your face. Does that kinda make sense? Illusion for me is like – when I’m battling, or I’m going against somebody and I’m performing, I have to like, make myself believe that I’m the best. For me that’s the illusion of kinda tricking my mind into thinking that I’m the best of the best in the world, which is really hard to do when you’re facing somebody that is one of the best in the world. Luckily, I’ve been able to, I guess, give a lot of people the illusion that I am an elite dancer and I am one of the best because they kinda believe it.
IA: How do you break illusions in your craft?
KG: I watch a lot of Mike Tyson, I read a lot of Eckhart Tolle books, I truly do believe that your mind is your most powerful muscle and asset that you have. My abilities are cool, but my mind is what gave me the idea to even try the ability. For me, I definitely – I meditate, and it could be like 5 minute meditations, you know, or whatever. But I definitely try to connect my body with my mind because the mind is the most important thing.
IA: Anything else you’d like to add?
KG:For the people that’s going to be watching this video, my fans, people that don’t know me, the people that want to get to know me, for me, I’m not really in the whole – I believe illusion is real. If you make your mind believe that you have a million bucks, and you have one dollar in your pocket, you're one dollar away from having a million bucks if that kinda makes sense. I know my mindset is kinda like – not the whole normal, but I really believe that illusion is everything. For me to be doing what I’m doing to be traveling the world.. I’ve been to 58-59 different countries and multiple countries at that. I had to have the illusion to have that idea to put it forward to actually indulge in my craft to make my illusion become a reality. So, I would say, I know Illusion is a clothing brand, but it's also like a mind set that you have to have. And for me to represent this brand, I feel like the name in itself is me. So, If you’re wearing it, or reading it, or you’re defining it, it’s how I am and how I live my life.