Knight Blog

The blog of the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation

Lil’ Buck and the art of jookin’

Jan. 23, 2015, 4:25 p.m., Posted by Fernando González

Lil' Buck performs during the YoungArts Salon. Photo by World Red Eye. 

The question to dancer and choreographer Charles “Lil’ Buck” Riley laid out what many in the room had been wondering: “How do you do this? Are you Superman?”

 “I’m really glad you asked. The cat’s out of the box,” Riley deadpanned, without missing a beat. “I came here from Saturn …”

The audience at the sixth National YoungArts Foundation Salon exploded in laughter. The Tuesday night conversation, one of a series sponsored by Knight Foundation, provided a short introduction to Riley’s graceful and athletic style. But for anyone familiar with his astonishing mix of classical dance and jookin’, a style of hip-hop dancing developed in Memphis, Tenn., the question, and the answer, sound perfectly logical and possible.

In full flight, Riley, 26, glides across stages with a liquid ease. He mixes fluid movements with sharp angular breaks, and arms evoking classic ballet swan gestures. He constructs narratives mixing freestyle steps and en pointe work in high-top sneakers, often bending and twisting his ankles in impossible angles. At pauses, his body seems to vibrate to the music like a plucked string.


Knight staff helps expand community garden in Miami service project

Jan. 23, 2015, 9:18 a.m., Posted by Lauren Rothstein

Knight Foundation staff and their friends and family members joined some Liberty City residents to work on a garden project Jan. 16.

Sixty Knight Foundation employees, friends and family members recently joined Miami community residents and the nonprofit Health in the Hood to dedicate a day to gardening and observe the Martin Luther King Jr. Day of Service.

The Jan. 16 project took place in the Liberty City neighborhood, where the group built new vegetable beds, planted seeds and seedlings, and harvested vegetables, including broccoli, collard greens, cherry tomatoes, okra and edamame. 

The neighborhood kids brought their interest and enthusiasm. While the adults placed cinderblocks and moved sod, the younger gardeners built trellises for the cherry tomatoes and helped move topsoil.

‘Knight Cities’ podcast: Shaun Abrahamson, on how startups can solve the challenges cities face

Jan. 21, 2015, 4:32 p.m., Posted by Carol Coletta

Can business muster the will, the know-how and the capital to take on the problems cities face?

Shaun Abrahamson is betting on it. He is co-founder of, a new public benefit corporation based in Miami – and a Knight Foundation grantee – that supports companies working to solve the most urgent urban challenges.