Adolfo “Shabba-Doo” Quiñones (1955-2020)
We are deeply saddened by the sudden, unexpected loss of our beloved hip hop icon, dance pioneer, and philanthropist, Adolfo “Shabba-Doo” Quiñones the Godfather of Street Dance. On the evening of Tuesday, December 29, Shabba-Doo died peacefully in his sleep in his Los Angeles home.
We want to say thank you to the legions of friends, fans, and dance family members who have reached out to show support during this difficult time. Shabba-Doo leaves behind a loyal tribe of friends and collaborators, a cherished family, and an enduring, immeasurable legacy. To those reading, please know that even if Shabba-Doo hadn’t spoken to you in a while, we’ve heard all of your names and enjoyed all of your stories; he loved you deeply.
Shabba-Doo was kind, giving, gracious, insightful, and full of love for everyone he met. He was also passionate, tenacious, filled with bravado, and unrelenting in his pursuit of continued greatness. These things, along with his integrity and vow to impact the world positively through dance, allowed him to grow from humble beginnings into a visionary artist whose vibration was felt around the globe.
Shabba-Doo first showed off his dance skills as a young boy by his mother’s side in Chicago. From this exhilarating moment on, his life was dedicated to dance and the way in which it could transform and transport himself and others to sheer bliss. Starting his career in the wake of the civil rights movement, he wanted to represent and empower Black people, give voice to the voiceless, and uplift every community, no matter creed or color, who weren't getting a fair shake.
A true artist, his craft was rooted in emotion and expression, Shabba-Doo would say “Someone might be able to jump or kick higher than me, but they can’t FEEL, how I FEEL.” That was his superpower; sharing those feelings while performing in front of the world. He used that ability and his own experiences of pain and ecstasy to strike a match, dancing and setting stages ablaze across the globe. He remained committed to these values throughout his 50-year legendary career as a dancer, choreographer, actor, filmmaker, and international instructor.
Shabba-Doo’s passion, dedication, and talent led him to dance on Soul Train, become an original member of The Lockers, perform on Broadway, choreograph for Lionel Ritchie and Madonna, and earn an MFA from AFI — among countless other accolades and accomplishments. However, he is most widely known for his role as Ozone in the famed BREAKIN’ movies, which continue to inspire generations of fans with their message of perseverance, the importance of honoring your authentic self, and the pursuit of joy; all things which Shabba-Doo valued and embodied himself.
Shabba-Doo was one of a kind and is irreplaceable, but his message should be carried on by all of us. Help those in need, have passion in everything you do, and believe in the beat of your own drum. Leave nothing unsaid. Leave nothing undone. Leave it all on the floor.
As Shabba-Doo was dedicated to supporting emerging dancers, The Shabba-Doo Memorial Dance Scholarship Fund has been created in his honor. Funds will go towards training programs, competition-related travel, and other costly expenditures for worthy 2024 Olympic hopefuls in the new official breaking category. Please consider donating as a way to pay your respects and honor his legacy.
For any and all inquiries regarding Shabba-Doo, please contact On Q Media Group’s Managing Director Robert Bryant.