‘Coming 2 America’ Star Wesley Snipes Was a Breakdancer Before He Got Into Acting

Wesley Snipes is known internationally as a movie star, but many people might not know he has a few other talents, as well. The Coming 2 America star also has a long history as a breakdancer, too.

According to Snipes, he used to breakdance during the early days of Hip-Hop, when it was first created in the Bronx. He also went to performing arts school as he began to transition into acting, but it took him a while to find success.

In fact, he was turned down after auditioning for the original Coming to America film. 

Wesley Snipes was a breakdancer before he was an actor

Wesley Snipes gestures during a conference at the "MAGIC" (Monaco Anime Game International Conferences)
Wesley Snipes gestures during a conference at the “MAGIC” (Monaco Anime Game International Conferences) | VALERY HACHE/AFP via Getty Images

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Prior to making it on the big screen, Snipes was known around New York City for his breakdancing skills. He recently told Jimmy Kimmel that he and his friends would dance on the street in the Bronx throughout the 1970s. 

“My early days, when I first started back in the Bronx, in the earlies, when the Bronx was burning in the ‘70s, that’s 76, five, six, seven, and eight,” Snipes said. “Yeah man, I was on concrete. I learned how to flip on concrete. I learned how to spin on concrete. All of that stuff.”

He and his crew would get together wherever there was cardboard on the ground and start breaking into their dance routines. 

“We had a crew, man,” Snipes said. “Cardboard was everywhere … the Bronx was burning so there was plenty of cardboards everywhere, man.”

He’s an ambassador for the art of breakdancing

Later in the interview, Snipes talked about breakdancing officially becoming an Olympic sport. 

“The goal is to elevate the art form,” Snipes said. “It’s the first American art form that has ever been inducted into the Olympics.” 

He then mentioned how he plans on creating a training center in the Bronx to help get more kids involved in breakdancing. 

“I’m telling you, and what we’re gonna do is that we’re gonna expand it,” Snipes said. “We’re going to put an Olympic training center there in the Bronx, and then we’re also going to make the Bronx the sanctuary.” 

According to Snipes, his goal is to bring some positivity into the world through his efforts.

“It’s absolutely necessary,” Snipes said. “We’ll heal the world, we’ll heal the community, and we’ll get in shape at the same time …”

He dances in ‘Coming 2 America’ 

Even though his breakdancing days are far behind him, Snipes can be seen dancing in numerous scenes throughout Coming 2 America, which he assures is intentional. 

“B-boys rule the world, man, B-boys rule the world,” Snipes said. 

He was rejected from the first ‘Coming to America’

Ironically, Snipes was not cast in the first Coming to America film because he was passed over for one of his friends. He recounted the experience in the same interview. 

“I think we went to maybe four or five auditions,” Snipes said. “Me, Eric La Salle, my friend at the time. I think Mario Van Peebles, who ended up working with New Jack City. And we’re back for a number of auditions, man. You know, I thought I had it, thought I had it locked in there … and then I came up with a big L.”

Coming 2 America is available for streaming on Amazon Prime Video.