When Roger Pollard’s marriage ended in divorce in 2010, he lost a wife, but he also lost his trusted dance partner of almost 40 years.
After realizing he’d need to find a style of dance that he could do without a partner, Pollard walked into a hip-hop club in San Ramon, Calif., downed a Scotch and strode confidently onto the dance floor wearing a button-up shirt tucked into a pair of slacks.
His life has never been the same.
The 62-year-old now has a lifestyle that makes him the envy of people a third his age.
By day, he runs a successful construction company that rehabs condos in Tracy, Calif., about an hour east of Oakland.
By night, he transforms into “OG Pollard,” a club-hopping, Hawaiian shirt-wearing hip-hop head who rolls with an entourage of rappers and dancers and is paid to make appearances at venues throughout the Bay Area, where he is routinely mobbed by fans eager for selfies with the unlikeliest of dance stars.
OG — which stands for “old guy,” not “original gangster” — has more than 150,000 followers on Instagram and has appeared in 11 music videos, including a recent Chris Brown production featuring Tyga and Schoolboy Q.
The title: “B—— N Marijuana.”
Pollard may be the only white baby-boomer who can pull off moves like the Quazimo ‘doe, the Hella Saucy and the the Swag Me Out on the dance floor. He refers to his friends as “his squad,” wears a “Stay Turnt” T-shirt in his Facebook profile photo and ends conversations by saying, “Hit me up on Snap.”
How does one explain OG Pollard’s popularity?
See for yourself (some of the lyrics are NSFW):
How exactly did all this happen?
“Accidentally,” Pollard told The Post.
He had such a great experience the first time he set foot in a hip-hop club that he decided to return, he said.
Pollard quickly picked up a few moves and within a few months was club-hopping every weekend in San Ramon and Modesto. From the first night, he recalled, young people were welcoming and open, although they demanded that he untuck his shirt. He found that the more people he met that first year, the more fun he had.
As for being the only old white guy in clubs full of young people who looked and talked nothing like him, Pollard simply didn’t care.
“I’ve never been afraid to try new stuff,” he said. “My older friends think I’m crazy. They say, ‘Roger, you walked into a club full of black people?’ I say, ‘That’s what the music and the culture is, so yeah, I did.’
“No matter where you go dancing, there’s not a whole lot of older white people on the floor, so you gotta get past that.”
It has always been easy for Pollard to look past his age and race, but other people still see it, according to Pollard’s girlfriend of nearly four years, Claudia Gransberry.
“When he walks into a club, some people will look around like they don’t know what this guy is doing here,” she told The Post. “And then he starts moving better than you and me and you can’t help but give him his props.”
If the dancing doesn’t win people over, Gransberry said, Pollard’s openness does: He has a way of putting people at ease, no matter who they are, she said.
“The way he smiles, the way he talks, the way he dances is very genuine,” she adds. “When we met, I saw how alive he was on stage while he was dancing and I told him I wanted to dance. We’ve been dancing ever since.”
As the legend goes, Pollard was “discovered” at an event held by Oakland rapper Mistah F.A.B. in early 2013. F.A.B. spotted Pollard — flanked by his new, young girlfriend at the time — on the dance floor and was immediately mesmerized. At midnight, F.A.B. grabbed a microphone called Pollard to the stage.
“He told the crowd, ‘I’m gonna invite Pops up on stage, so I can show you what dancing really is,’ ” Pollard recalled. “I went on stage and said, ‘It’s not Pops; it’s OG.’
“He turned to the DJ and said, ‘Spin ’em!’ Then he turned to me and said, ‘I know that you know what to do’ and then everyone started to film. That video got shared a lot.”
A whole lot — as in close to 90,000 times on Facebook.
Here’s an edited version below:
Two years later, Pollard is continuing to amass fans. A video posted in March of him dancing in public with a younger woman racked up nearly 1 million views on YouTube and more than 400,000 on World Star Hip Hop.
“I got invited to dance in a music video recently and when I walked on set there were probably 70 people yelling, ‘Oh, yeah! OG is here!’ ” he said. “I didn’t know all 70, but I knew most of them.”
Pollard goes out dancing as many as four nights a week and has cameras trained on him nonstop, he said. About once a month, he estimated, he is paid as much as $600 a night to make club appearances as a host somewhere in the Bay Area. He brings his squad, he said, because “we dance harder than anyone else.”
People are often shocked to see him mouthing the lyrics, too.
While his club-hopping persona may look like a humorous gimmick to those on the outside, OG Pollard insists his lifestyle is very real. The people he clubs with — many of them rappers, producers, dancers and other industry types — are the same people he spends time with outside the club.
“When it comes to friendship, I just love life and I treat people the way I want to be treated,” he said, noting that too many older white people are quick to judge a person based on their race.
Keeping up with the rapidly evolving lingo is the biggest challenge, he said.
Pollard may have two lives at this point, but he seems to enjoy each of them equally. He doesn’t want to give up his day job and he hasn’t dropped his old friends, many of whom are clients he has known for decades.
At least one longtime friend didn’t even know about his hip-hop lifestyle until her grandchild showed her “an old white guy” dancing in the Chris Brown video.
“I know that old white guy,” she told her grandchild, according to Pollard. “That’s Roger Pollard!”
When he’s not clubbing, Pollard enjoys duck hunting and golfing with the baby-boomer set. But lately, he said, some of his older folks have grown curious. Now they’re telling Pollard they want to meet “OG.”
That’s unlikely, Pollard said.
“I say, ‘You go to bed at 8:30 p.m. and I don’t even go out until 11,” he told The Post. “There’s no reason to be at the club before 11 p.m. They love hearing about my other life, but they don’t want to to stay awake long enough to see it.”