On the second season of the documentary TV show “World of Jenks,” premiering tonight on MTV, filmmaker Andrew Jenks shadows three inspirational young people for 10 episodes. We’re most intrigued by 21-year-old street dancer D-Real. From one of the most violent cities in America—Oakland, CA—D-Real has used dance to overcome many tragedies, including the deaths of two of his brothers. Here, Dance Spirit talks with D-Real about his experience on the show.
Dance Spirit: Tell us about when Jenks first contacted you about the show.
D-Real: It was one of those phone calls you wait for. As a struggling artist, I’ve always hoped someone would see my story. When I got the call, I just started dancing, gliding around the room while I was on the phone. My family was shocked when I told them about being on “World of Jenks.” They’ll finally get to see I’m helping out my community and doing a lot of good.
DS: What was the first day of filming like?
DR: I wasn’t nervous, but I was overwhelmed. Where I come from, when you see cameras on the street, it’s always because they’re doing a newscast. So I was surprised at all the things that go into taping a show—things you don’t see on TV. I remember thinking, “This is amazing, but I wish my partner, my brother, were here.” He’s the reason I know I should be dancing.
DS: What was it like to work with Jenks?
DR: He’s a really smart, cool dude. The wisdom he gave me was just what I needed. He’s from a different world than I am, so when we exchanged ideas, it made me see things from a new perspective.
DS: What message do you want to get across to viewers?
DR: I want people to know that there’s no obstacle you can’t overcome. Dancing is one of the hardest fields to be in, but now that I’m on the show, I feel like I’ve made it. I’ve been homeless, and I’ve lost brothers and cousins. But what I’m doing now is becoming a better man for my kid, my fiancée and myself.
Tune in tonight at 11 pm EST for the season premiere of “World of Jenks.”