A new star: Harlem rapper and actor Arnstar’s growing fame

Harlem-raised actor and dancer, Sean ‘ARNSTAR’ Kirkland recently went viral for his dance video performing LiteFeet dance.
Krispy Photography

He’s a triple threat of talent.

Brooklyn-born and Harlem raised actor, rapper, and dancer Sean “ARNSTAR” Kirkland, is making a lot of moves for himself in the entertainment world. The 27-year-old recently starred in the Netflix film “Roxanne, Roxanne,” and went viral for a dance video he and a few friends did for a challenge headed by singer Neyo, while also highlighting Harlem’s vibrant dance culture and scene. The video was reshared and picked up some traction, shedding light on a revival he wants to bring to the forefront of hip-hop.

“We were doing our response to Neyo’s ‘Pushback’ challenge and we loved his energy, and we ended up going further with the challenge and we outdid ourselves,” said Kirkland.

In the viral video, Kirkland and his Waffle crew — an acronym for We Are Family For Life Entertainment, are seen performing the dance, which began in Harlem circa 2005-2006. He says the dance represents an aspect of hip-hop culture in its early form without the commercialization.

“LiteFeet started with a handful of dances from over the years, it’s grown with the culture, and it’s plugged into hip hop’s true values,” he said. “It‘s not a commercial dance for us — it’s what you see for yourself and that’s what makes LiteFeet powerful.” He says the culture surrounding the eye-catching dance is bringing light to Harlem’s roots in hip-hop music and a newfound appreciation for it.

“The movement is so infectious that it causes someone to stop in the middle of the street to record, and that’s what’s keeping the viral buzz going,” said Kirkland. “It’s like it’s being revamped and this is our way of expressing it.”

Prior to going viral, Kirkland made his acting debut in the biopic film “Roxanne, Roxanne,” which is about Queens rapper Roxanne Shante. His casting in the film was a perfect opportunity for him to further explore the genre of hip-hop and his own personal connection to it through his father, who was a member of breakdance group, the legendary Rock Steady crew.

“That was a powerful moment for me, and it was a 360 moment into my direct past life because my father was a hip hop pioneer who was part of the movement before they knew what they were doing, and I was happy to play a role to continue that legacy,” he said.

In the film, Kirkland plays the role of rapper MC Shan. Getting the chance to portray one of his idols was an opportunity of a lifetime, he said.

“When you get to play a hip-hop icon like MC Shan, who I was already fond of before — I learned so much more about hip hop,” he said. “Getting to play him helped me know him better and got me introduced to the hip-hop that most didn’t treasure.

He began dancing at five years old, and started singing in a chorus at nine with the Boys Choir of Harlem. But it was at 12 he began an interest in hip hop through poetry and set sights on rapping. The acting came later on, and during the shooting of the film he took note that he was a natural talent at it.

And right after filming, he was casted to play in “Wheels,” an independent film about a young Brooklyn deejay with a fond appreciation for hip-hop’s origins. Along with another acting role, Kirkland has a gig on the MTV hit show “Wild N Out.” But Kirkland says he is going to pick up his music career that has since been on hold.

Kirkland says he has high hopes for his career and says he was able to get where he is through mentorship and believing in his dreams.

“You have to make it clear to yourself what you want to be, and be who you declare yourself, but you have to live in that while also having room to be malleable and take advice,” he said. “Because most successful aren’t just successful with just what they know, but what they are willing to accept from others by keeping their ears and heart open.”

Reach reporter Alexandra Simon at (718) 260–8310 or e-mail her at asimo[email protected]local.com. Follow her on Twitter @AS1mon.
Kirland landed the role to play MC Shan in the Netflix film “Roxanne, Roxanne.” Since the role, he was casted to play in another film and on MTV’s show “Wild N Out.”
Krispy Photography
Krispy Photography

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