Posted in music on January 27, 2007

TV on the Radio

In an article entitled "Truly Indie Fans", the NY Times wrote::

...There is even a new word for black fans of indie rock: “blipster,” which was added to UrbanDictionary.com last summer, defined as “a person who is black and also can be stereotyped by appearance, musical taste, and/or social scene as a hipster.” .........THE recent attention given several bands with black members — like Bloc Party, Lightspeed Champion, and the Dears — could signify change. “Return to Cookie Mountain,” the second album by the group TV on the Radio, a band in which four of the five members are black, was on the best-album lists of many critics in 2006. Around the country, other rock bands with black members are emerging....
I'm thinking the term "Blipster" (not much unlike "hipster") is unnecessary. Offensive even. Do you agree, or do I just need to lighten up?

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Comments (161)

i agree with you BV. anyway, why is a subgenre of hipster really needed? let alone one based on race?

Posted by ohseptember | January 27, 2007 4:47 PM

were those all the doofy black guys at the last arcade fire show?

Posted by Anonymous | January 27, 2007 4:54 PM

I'm black . I'd smack someone for calling me a blipster ..

Posted by Anonymous | January 27, 2007 4:55 PM

what a stupid, stupid article. afropunk is a stupid film and james spooner is a self aggrandizing douchebag if i have ever met one (i've met him several times). i'm just going to take jello biafra's side in the first verse of holiday in cambodia and say this whole suburban, white, ashamed of their wealth and oversympthazing with black people needs to stop. it's one thing to sympathize with the civil rights movement, its another thing to say things like "black people invented rock and roll, then left it to white people." frankly i am sick and tired of this race crap. it's only still an issue because stupid journalists like the one who wrote this article keeps pointing it out. if you can honestly go to an indie show and think the fact that black people being at the shows is a big enough issue to write about it, you are a racist. end of story.

Posted by manic hispanic | January 27, 2007 5:08 PM

Sure, blacks invented the blues - but it was white people that made them feel blue enough to come up with them.

Posted by Crosseyed Sniper | January 27, 2007 5:13 PM

I think that the article is really daft. But making an issue out of it is just as daft. If black fans really need to find other black fans - then fine. okay. whatever. But I hardly belive that's the case....and just because a predominantly white scene has black people in it, it's hardly worth making an issue out of it.

I'm sure it'd be a lot less of an issue if the article was about white people that enjoy hip-hop.

Posted by Anonymous | January 27, 2007 5:14 PM

....doesn't the new york times have more important things to do.....

Posted by Anonymous | January 27, 2007 5:16 PM

What a ridiculous article. Doesn't being a hipster transcend race?

Posted by Anonymous | January 27, 2007 5:29 PM

is akon a blipster?

Posted by Anonymous | January 27, 2007 5:43 PM

That's some stupid ass shit.

Posted by Steve Lambo | January 27, 2007 5:47 PM

when gangsta rap was first going mainstream, there were plenty of articles about the fact that it appealed primarily to white sububanites.
yeah, these articles are stupid in that they're simply observations, but they're new observations to many people. and is this article really so different from the musings regarding the clipse show being exchanged on this blog?

Posted by Anonymous | January 27, 2007 5:47 PM

Does this make me a jipster?

Posted by birdboy | January 27, 2007 5:52 PM

jewster

Posted by Anonymous | January 27, 2007 6:03 PM

Since when does a term's appearance on UrbanDictionary.com give it "new word" status? They've got a definition for "Blipoy'foz'noodle" on there, but I don't see the NYTimes writing that one up any time soon. Darn sloppy if you ask me.

Posted by yikes | January 27, 2007 6:08 PM

I don't like it at all
ridiculous

Posted by snag | January 27, 2007 6:20 PM

One more useless, divisive label.

Posted by Christopher | January 27, 2007 6:25 PM

Completely racist. Thanks for spreading that racist word across the internet, BV. The world really needed another racist sterotype...

Posted by bleh | January 27, 2007 6:25 PM

Not only is it unnecessary, the term just sounds so silly! Blipster? Come on!!

Posted by Amy | January 27, 2007 6:36 PM

jewbagster

Posted by Anonymous | January 27, 2007 6:40 PM

If you're offended by the term "hipster," then you really are a stupid hipster. And if it does offend you, get out of my city and move back to Iowa.

Posted by mr | January 27, 2007 6:52 PM

"if you can honestly go to an indie show and think the fact that black people being at the shows is a big enough issue to write about it, you are a racist. end of story."


This reminds me of sports fans downplaying the significance behind both Super Bowl coaches being black this year. People love to pat themselves on the back because they don't feel like skin color enters into their personal equations, but any honest person who comes across stories like Hurricane Katrina and Sean Bell and thinks that race isn't a big deal in the wider world is either being naive or dishonest. If I see a black person at a show at say, Northsix, I notice it. If for no other reason than because percentages say there goes a fellow commuter out of gentrified/homogenized Williamsburg. That being said, I did not read the article nor do I intend to. Grups, Blipsters, etc., it's all bullshit marketing moonlighters.

P.S. People who write "end of story" are fucking idiots. Thanks Homer, we can pretty much figure out for ourselves when your story ends.

Posted by dola | January 27, 2007 7:01 PM

You people need to lighten up. Pointing out that black people are making a name for themselves in a subgenre that has always been overwhelmingly white is not racism. Saying that TV on the Radio is a horrible band because black people just can't play music as well as white people IS racism. Whether you think it's unnecessary or not, it's a valid point. One could surmise that the indie crowd is mostly pretty liberal and being told that your music scene exists almost exclusively within a white bubble is tough to take. Think about it: How many black bands have been signed to Sup Pop, Kill Rock Stars, Drag City, Matador, Touch and Go or Dischord? A ton of hip-hop shows are made up of mostly white people, but how many times do you see even five black people at most indie shows? And yet one of the most successful indie bands over the past few years is made up of mostly blacks. I'm sorry, but that's a legitimate story even if it pains you to have that pointed out to you. Sure blipster is a dumb word but the writer is simply mentioning that it exists.

Posted by will | January 27, 2007 7:09 PM

Here is a link to song by a band called the cocker spaniels. It's called "the only black guy at the indie rock show" and it ryhmes GBV with BET. Which I think is amazing.


http://www.cspaniels.com

Oh, and blipster is offensive.

Posted by nobody | January 27, 2007 7:19 PM

Folks

This is taken straight from my blog. I tried to write this woman, but her email doesn't work. Please disregard the very strong language.

Ms Pressler,
I read your article "Truly Indie Fans" in today's New York Times Magazine. While I found it to be an enjoyable read, I take issue with some of the points you raised.

"But 40 years after black musicians laid down the foundations of rock, then largely left the genre to white artists and fans, some blacks are again looking to reconnect with the rock music scene."

Firstly, blacks did not "leave” rock music “to white artists and fans."
IT WAS TAKEN FROM THEM.

In the mid 1950s, record labels frequently had white artists, like Pat Boone, re-record Little Richard and Chuck Berry songs so that they would be easier to market to white audiences. It wasn’t until the arrival of The Beatles and The Rolling Stones that the original Black artists were given their due credit. Moreover, your article frequently downplays the influence that Black American culture has left on the last 100 years of international pop music.

To be frank, your article truly fails to touch upon the real problem: The rigid and dated conceptions of race in the United States. In my opinion, Americans are incapable of escaping their obsession with race. In this country there are accepted definitions of “Black” and “White." When an individual questions or defies these definitions, they’re automatically labeled as being an outcast.

So who’s to blame?

Blacks are culpable because they have bought into the idea of “niggerdom.” That is, Black Americans are so brainwashed by hip-hop stereotypes and the poor portrayal of blacks in the media that they have come to believe that their culture lacks variety. They are convinced that if you're not acting like a nigger, you must not be black. This obsession with "niggerdom" has even poisoned the Black American work ethic. If a black person is working hard or doing well in school, they are decried for acting "White." Clearly, something is very wrong here.

Whites are equally guilty because they created and continue to propagate many of the stereotypes of "niggerdom.” Even worse, Whites have the advantage of a double standard. Today, in 2007, it is still more acceptable for Whites to be into hip-hop than for Blacks to be into rock. And to top it all off, Whites will tell Black rock fans that they’re “Not Black” or “Acting White” without hesitating.

Ms. Pressler, I don't think that you will EVER be able to understand how DEGRADING it is to be called "White" by Black and White Americans simply because you fail to fall into their petty social constructions of race. Mind you, I’m not a black American, I'm a Ugandan-American. For me, being called "White" is not only absurd, it is a deep insult to my heritage and my ancestors.

I understand that you probably wrote this essay with a limited amount of time and research, but I felt it was necessary to write to you because I feel really strongly about this topic.


PS
Please excuse the occasional outbursts of rage in this email, I have a lot of pent up aggression. Even at 25, I'm still taunted by the hoods across the way for wearing tight trousers and a peacoat!

Posted by K | January 27, 2007 7:49 PM

Anyone who knows/loves? knows how much I HATE labels of any kind. To oversate the obvious, labels limit. I would not call nor want to be called a blipster.
I am still recovering from being called an "aging hipster" oww, that hurt.

Posted by musicmatters | January 27, 2007 7:52 PM

If rock music was "taken" from black artists, what's with Little Richard and James Brown and Chuck Berry playing everywhere from The Apollo to the Tick-Tock Inn for the last 40+ years? Reparations?

Posted by Crosseyed Sniper | January 27, 2007 7:58 PM

Kramer is a hipster doofus....... and a racist.

Posted by BK | January 27, 2007 8:04 PM

"In the purest sense, the original hipsters were the hip, mostly black performers of jazz and swing music in the 1940s"
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hipster_%281940s_subculture%29

Posted by wrs | January 27, 2007 8:22 PM

I guess my pal from Manila who practically lives at Pianos is a "Flipster".

Posted by Eric | January 27, 2007 8:44 PM

yeah, it's unnecessary. we all know better. ignore them.
labels suck, generally. propagating the proliferation of labels is dumb, and very (VERY) un-hip.

Posted by libs | January 27, 2007 8:54 PM

And with this article, Indie has indisputably jumped the shark.

Posted by Indier than fuck | January 27, 2007 9:08 PM

Flipster rules.

Posted by indier than fuck | January 27, 2007 9:10 PM

I think Blipster is very offensive. I am black & hispanic (and I love all things indie!) and personally I don't think about whether or not the music is made by a black person. The whole "niggerdom" issue mentioned by another commentator is sadly on point. Why can't blacks just be embraced by the "hipster" culture? The article was absolutely unnecessary.

Posted by Kat | January 27, 2007 9:28 PM

(haha, flipster!)

Posted by kate | January 27, 2007 9:31 PM

the shit ain't offensive/ it irelevant blacks invented hipness, we know it when we see it.

Posted by jonjon | January 27, 2007 10:08 PM

I'm up for another stereotype! They are just so fuckin funny.

Posted by Anonymous | January 27, 2007 10:22 PM

Wow! Some of you guys should consider enrolling in some sociology classes.

Posted by Anonymous | January 27, 2007 10:22 PM

llighten up cracker! but seriously, why can't we just stick with nigger?

Posted by Anonymous | January 27, 2007 10:51 PM

dola

you talk about the first time two black coaches reach the super bowl. this is a different matter because 20 years ago black people were considered too stupid by some to play quarterback or be the coach of a football team. this marks a change in the times. there was no point where anyone said black people were incapable of writing music. you talk as if Hurricane Katrina, Sean Bell, and the black guys at the peter, bjorn and john show tomorrow night are the same thing. nice reference to Homer. you must be really educated to pull that. get over yourself. you're a fucking bum. end of story.

Posted by manic hispanic | January 28, 2007 12:07 AM

Labels are stupid. I'm a 28 year old attorney who makes bank...though none of you would ever know; shit, prolly chilled with half of you motherfuckers claiming I was a "writer" or some shit and was thrown props. But, I'm an attorney. I don't do anything that compromises my integrity or makes me feel awkward. I live on the LES and go to shows regularly, keeping a keen eye on BV for suggestions. I go, because it's fun. For no other reason. Hipsters hate on Yuppies. Nerds hate on jocks. Jocks hate on the same mf'ers in high school that they now go see at MSG for $35 a ticket. Blipster is clearly, the pinnacle of labeling, and even more so...fuckig stoooopid.

I'm glad to see that most everyone that's posted on here recognizes how ridiculous and superficial tossing a tag at someone is. But mad funny how all the hipsters get all amped, and they pull the same shit. Honestly, WHO THE FUCK CARES. Have a good time and fuck it.

Posted by Brian | January 28, 2007 1:26 AM

Frederick Douglass was such a blipster.

Posted by mbl | January 28, 2007 1:34 AM

That's the most horrible thing I've heard all day.

Posted by forecastmazy | January 28, 2007 5:56 AM

It works all ways. I hear "oh you don't act gay" all the time. I just say "I'm not an actor"!

I've felt like a misfit all my life because I don't fit in with any of the pigeonholes that people expect my white gay ass to fall into. I'm not nellie, I love rock music and people that do it well. I don't care what race/creed/color/whatever they are. It's too bad everyone can't have that outlook.

Posted by Russ | January 28, 2007 9:25 AM

charlie fucking parker.

Posted by assface | January 28, 2007 9:46 AM

i thought blipsters were hipsters into nintendo music and 8bit gaming.

Posted by chris | January 28, 2007 9:49 AM

Brian, do you use the word "prolly" in your opening statements? Thanks for lowering the bar.

Posted by Mudd | January 28, 2007 10:13 AM

hi there, i posted 9 small clips of konono n1 playing in downtown são paulo at my blog http://transito.zip.net/ see ya!

Posted by andre maleronka | January 28, 2007 10:33 AM

On one hand I want to attack many of the fallacies I'm hearing here. On the other hand, I feel like most of us are in agreement that the term "blipster" is, at best, only one journalist's scheme to coin a catchphrase and gain some fame, and, at worst, yet another depressing indication of the narrowmindedness and inherently awkward nature of liberal white listenership confronting their own guilt.
However, news pieces like this one do have a credible basis. "White rap fans in the nineties" was a legitimate and interesting topic- though entirely overdone- because it represented a demographic in the majority taking interest in a product of the minority (a statistical anomaly, if not a historical one). That said, black musicians and fans participating in indie culture should not be as much of a story because, by the numbers, it's not surprising that a smaller group should become part of a larger one. The fact that people find this newsworthy at all is a testament to how culturally homogeneous indie rock has become.
Johnny Rotten often complained that punk ended when people started to dress like Sid Vicious. In other words, when the culture lost its ability to act as a haven for individuals, and started to behave as its own entity, dictating fashion, mannerisms, and attitudes instead of encouraging their diversity. Does this sound familiar?
Journalists: Stop reducing and re-packaging a culture for the benefit of fifty-somethings looking to relate OUR story to THEIRS. Independant music IS essentially different from the trends before it, because its only manifesto is to promote what hasn't yet been heard. Let's not lose the connection that music has forged between listners and musicians of different races and backgrounds just because some track jacket-wearing, once-a-week-Pitchfork fuckers looking for a secure identiy to ride out through high school and college don't know how to act around a black man at an Arcade Fire show.

Posted by shoppingcartmagnet | January 28, 2007 11:45 AM

hey wat's up with this labeling crap, i personally think its offensive, i mean why shud i be pointed as being different from the rest of the crowd. So let me get this straight white people who listen to indie music are considered hipsters and black people who listen to indie are considered blipsters. what the fuck is that, that's just blatantly unnecessary, why should it matter in the first place, and why is it such a big deal if a black guy is at an indie show, isn't he there for the same reason as all the other white folks why shud he feel singled out. Isn't this person trying to find some sort of safe haven just like eveyone else, where he can feel secure and free from the rest of the fucking ignorant world. but hey maybe this overrated is not much better from the general public it has been putting down for all it's life. why has this topic even seen the light of day. fuck it, let's try to move on, but let me say this, i can't say i'm not gonna feel a bit weird when i'm at an indie show, wondering if everyone is calling me blipster, but then again, fuck it when my band comes on i really couldn't give a shit what anyone else says.

Posted by jajaja | January 28, 2007 12:07 PM

I know a black guy who almost killed someone for getting blood on his Swirlies T-shirt.

Posted by fuck it | January 28, 2007 12:27 PM

brian,
you're an attorney and you've never done anything that compromises your integrity or makes you feel awkward? that alone is laughable. but then to boast that you lie to people you're partying with in order to get props, integrity still intact? dude, seriously?

Posted by Anonymous | January 28, 2007 12:52 PM

RaHoWa

Posted by Anonymous | January 28, 2007 12:56 PM

reading that made my head hurt. i can't stand the music media.

Posted by rkb | January 28, 2007 1:07 PM

This is another example of the corporate media's obsession with slapping an absurd and preposterous label on every pop-cultural micro-phenomenon they claim to be illuminating. The economic motivations in this age of hyper-specific demographic marketing and lifestyle branding should not be underestimated. "Hipster" was bad enough for those of us who were happy to live for years under the illusion that we were too marginal to warrant the type of brand-identification that plagued our "beatnik," "hippie," "punk," "new wave," "gen x," etc. forbears, although at least it does admittedly have some value in explaining an apparent cultural phenomenon to clueless observers. Now they want to coin a ridiculous term that is offensive not only to the people who invented (out of necessity) the entire notion of a "counterculture" along with its greatest musical and artistic achievements but those who daily suffer the humilation and abuse that comes with not fitting into a pre-fabricated racial and cultural category. While African-American and other-nonwhite participants have been sadly underrepresented in "indie-rock," "punk-rock" circles for the past 25 years, those who consistently defy such categorizations (has the Times ever heard of Bad Brains?) have been there for years. Surely they deserve more respect, and propagators of terms like "blipster" deserve the smackdown that the poster above suggests.

Posted by anonymous | January 28, 2007 1:22 PM

you all need to get it over it, ah hum, yourselves.

Posted by Anonymous | January 28, 2007 1:25 PM

it's a bad article because it's dumb, not because it's racist. i for one think it's a good thing to highlight people like these musicians who go against prevailing negative stereotypes. it's just that the term "blipster" is a hundred times less clever than the writer intended it to be.

Posted by Anonymous | January 28, 2007 2:19 PM

"dola

you talk about the first time two black coaches reach the super bowl. this is a different matter because 20 years ago black people were considered too stupid by some to play quarterback or be the coach of a football team. this marks a change in the times. there was no point where anyone said black people were incapable of writing music. you talk as if Hurricane Katrina, Sean Bell, and the black guys at the peter, bjorn and john show tomorrow night are the same thing. nice reference to Homer. you must be really educated to pull that. get over yourself. you're a fucking bum. end of story."


Manic Hispanic, I see that by criticizing your need to put some hackneyed exclaimatory flourish to mark the end of your jumbled thoughts has made you bitter.

This bum (what are we in The Bowery Boys?) will try to make the point very clearly for you: whether or not you are "sick and tired of this race crap," it is still a significant problem. What too many whites, and others that have been taken in by apologetic nonsense screaming otherwise, fail to grasp is that they have the privilege of being oblivious to the benefits of a white supremicist world. Therefore if racism and its effects aren't immediately apparent to them in their own experience, well that just means that we've gotten past it and it's time to move on.

Are blacks represented with more frequency throughout media today, as evidenced in part by the two black men coaching this Sunday? Yes. Can you use that to extrapolate in a wider sense where race relations are in the country? I don't think so.

After that point you seem to misunderstand me and then mash things together in a clumsy and confused way so I'm not really sure how to address what you're trying to get at. Again, when it comes to the effects of racism in this society, be it the neglect of almost an entire city after a disaster, the shooting of an unarmed man, or the segregation of music today, it still springs from the same old well.

By the way, I'd listen to Holiday in Cambodia again. Biafra was poking holes in hypocrisy and superficial identification. No where in those first verses does he repudiate the need to sympathize and with connect in meaningful ways with oppressed people. Have you ever heard or read any of Jello Biafra's speeches? Do you know where his politics generally lie?

Posted by dola | January 28, 2007 2:20 PM

Thanks jackass for the RaHoWa comment. What the fuck are you racists trolling over? Ah yes, Racial Holy War is gonna happen. You dumbass uneducated fucks who believe that you are being oppressed.
Having lived in D.C. and Los Angeles, where it is not uncommon to see black folks at shows, this is nothing new. Got to love the Sunday Styles section with their no nothing writers trying to glom on to the next "trend" that is not a trend. I guess some trend spotting site must have wrote about this, so some retailer can exploit another market and destroy all of the fun and excitement.
Arggh!!!

Posted by fortyver | January 28, 2007 2:21 PM

dola anyone can dismiss anyone's claim by merely calling it jumbled and incoherent.

why don't you listen to holiday in cambodia again? or i'll save you the time:
So you been to school/ For a year or two/ And you know youve seen it all/ In daddys car/ Thinkin youll go far/ Back east your type dont crawl/ Play ethnicky jazz/ To parade your snazz/ On your five grand stereo/ Braggin that you know/ How the niggers feel cold/ And the slums got so much soul/ Its time to taste what you most fear/ Right guard will not help you here/ Brace yourself, my dear

I voted for Jello Biafra, mind you.

"Again, when it comes to the effects of racism in this society, be it the neglect of almost an entire city after a disaster, the shooting of an unarmed man, or the segregation of music today, it still springs from the same old well." No, it doesn't. The neglect of New Orleans reflects the neglect of a government, the shooting of an unarmed man reflects the fear of a policeman. The apperance of a black person at a indie show does what? Secondly, love how you can belittle someone for using cliches and use them yourself.

Posted by manic hispanic | January 28, 2007 2:37 PM

frederick douglass was such a blipster

Posted by Anonymous | January 28, 2007 3:12 PM

"i thought blipsters were hipsters into nintendo music and 8bit gaming."

sweet. well put, chris.

Posted by jerry | January 28, 2007 3:27 PM

Well since we're disputing each other's interpretations of the song, simply posting the lyrics doesn't make your case for you.

The examples, Katrina, Bell, etc., have their on particularities and consequences but they all shade different aspects of how racism manifests itself in society. To answer your question, 'the appearance of a black person at an indie show' is notable because of its rarity. What that says about current music and how the arts are received by different segments of society is worthy of exploration.

Finally, characterizing something as 'springing from a well' is much less obnoxious than saying "end of story." The primary problem isn't that it's a cliche, but you are effectively saying that you refuse to consider any challenges to your conclusion, despite however premature and self-serving it maybe.

Posted by dola | January 28, 2007 3:49 PM

It's stupid. Labels are stupid.

Posted by Mel | January 28, 2007 4:04 PM

I'm black, listen to "indie" music and didn't find the article offensive. Just a little on the surface, but nothing to get up in arms about.

Posted by Brittany | January 28, 2007 4:19 PM

i'm black. i'm indie. my jeans are tight. yet i cannot bring myself to be offended by the term "blipster." if anything, i welcome it. so true are the points that have been made about the internal racism associated with people who don't think it's newsworthy that so few black people are at indie shows. as a member of a counter culture and an oppressed race i understand the courage it takes to not embrace the mainstream. in an age where assimilation is celebrated especially amongst Black people [a very conservative race] i'm overjoyed when i see other black kids at shows. the fact that such a liberal subculture such as hipsters is so overhwelmingly white says something to the state of race relations in this country.

i'm not saying that the article was exactly au courant, but i did appreciate that SOMEONE was saying ANYTHING. race talk makes so many people uncomfortable laying it out on the table is the only remedy even if what we're saying are only small observations.

Posted by charle | January 28, 2007 4:56 PM

Of course labels are silly but you can't deny that there are black and other non-white hipsters that embrace their racial and ethnic identities mindfully in the context of their social "hipster" identity. As much as they prefer not to be distinguished from their white counterpoints, they generally are going to be because race and ethnicity are signifiers of a unique social status within such a predominantly white subculture.


Posted by Anonymous | January 28, 2007 5:08 PM

Lighten up all you politically correct jack asses.

but yeah its retarded as the word indie itself or emo, or prog or etc...

Posted by Telex | January 28, 2007 5:14 PM

Man, I glanced over this article this morning and it looked so idiotic I didn't even bother.

Waste of time for all involved.

Posted by Jay | January 28, 2007 5:21 PM

"thanks Homer, we can pretty much figure out for ourselves when your story ends."

ummm, that was amazing. you are a genius.

Posted by cris | January 28, 2007 5:30 PM

Charle (and others)

The term blipster is just stupid, but as I pointed out earlier, one must take issue with the fact that this woman presented such a poorly researched article to a major international newspaper. Think about it for a second...

Why didn't someone write this essay 25 years ago when Bad Brains were at their peak?
Why didn't she ask how these blacks felt about being called white?
Why did she say assume that blacks just "gave up" rock and roll? Last I checked, whites stole it, just like they stole jazz.
Why didn't she call out both black and white Americans about their twisted perceptions of race and identity?
Why should non-American blacks (Africans, Carribeans, Latinos, etc) be asked to shoulder the burden of a 400 year old squabble? Is that really fair?

I call bullshit on anyone who says "Why can't we just get along" or "Why can't we forget about this race crap."
You Americans keep bringing it up. You're obsessed with it and you've poisoned your country with it. You've managed to pigeonhole everybody. A black person can work hard his entire life to become a lawyer or a doctor and people will say "Oh he's not black" or "He talks white."

I've had enough of turning the other cheek. I'm a strong advocate of standing up for what you believe in. For all you blacks out there in "the scene": next time somebody tells you that you're not black or that you talk "white", HIT THEM. I don't care how or with what. Retaliate in the most primal form possible and show them that you are not afraid of their backwards thinking. These same people would probably never say to a Jewish person "Oh you don't look Jewish." Call them out on their hypocracy.

I'm not joking. Next time someone says "You're not black." Hit 'em.

And if I ever hear about those "Kill Whitey Parties" again, there's going to be serious trouble.

Posted by K | January 28, 2007 6:08 PM

"If I see a black person at a show at say, Northsix, I notice it."

I suppose, but do you ever mistake them for the bouncer? Because that's what this article literally says is happening.

"Blipster" is offensive. Bringing up the phenonmenon isn't. But the way this article tried to do so (i.e. trying to tow both lines of cute new word coinage and actual origin/fall-out of the lack of diversity) was stupid. And totally indicative of NYT Sunday Styles journalism. "Uber-sexual," anyone?

Posted by Anonymous | January 28, 2007 6:18 PM

this is more fired up than a limited-edition first-run vinyl pressing of belle and sebasatian tigerlilly ebay auction.

Posted by Anonymous | January 28, 2007 6:29 PM

reminds me of that "Buppie" thing they did a few years back

Posted by Anonymous | January 28, 2007 7:06 PM

K

you make very valid points about the poor quality of Pressler's article. it seems almost slapped together. still she -if superficially- emphasizes points of matter. maybe i should reread it, but i never got that she was accusing us Black indie kids of being whie. if anything, she failed in her attempt to give a black perspective on an ill-researched topic. it also seems that she just brushed the surface on could-be in depth ideas with the Mr. Spooner quotes.

while it is extremely offensive to assume that Blacks who buy into predominantly White subcultures actually desire to be White, Pressler came off as more of a sympathetizer to me. in her own half-assed way, she provided a pseudo black perspective to highlight most of her details. maybe she would have fared more successful if she'd mentioned the double standard of white suburbanites at hip hop shows that someone spoke of above or the general irony in blacks being accepted as entertainers but less so as patrons of certain arts. she probably has no idea of the subcultures within indie rock that value appearance like Vice and Cobrasnake, to name a small few, where most of the images that seem to be the most celebrated of the genre are skinny, white people.

Posted by Charle | January 28, 2007 7:24 PM

Ridiculous, of course, the whole mess. But we love our words and genres and labels and branding. I say good for calling it out, just registering the proverbial vote. I second.

Posted by Jonah | January 28, 2007 7:36 PM

I agree with K. As a black person who listens to Indie Rock I've dealt with people calling me "white". I've never hit one of them but I have yelled at each and everyone of them and informed them I do not stand for that kind of shit and they should never do it again.

Posted by Marlon | January 28, 2007 8:15 PM

all i have left to say is that i'm not sure how you can interpret that verse of holiday in cambodia any other way. it's almost as if years ago he was saying ms. pressler, shut the hell up, you don't know anything.
and be honest with yourself, how rare is the appearance of a black person at an indie show?
how was the conclusion self serving? sure, maybe i was a bit caught up in the moment after reading that stupid article, but read it and then make your own conclusions, don't just be a jackass and nitpick on diction and syntax. this is a messageboard, kid.

final word (i know D.L. Hughley isn't exactly considered a great thinker but): "'I'm not racist, I've had five black people over at my house!'...if you know how many black people you've had over at your house...you racist as a motherfucker."

Posted by manic hispanic | January 28, 2007 9:21 PM

all i have left to say is that i'm not sure how you can interpret that verse of holiday in cambodia any other way. it's almost as if years ago he was saying ms. pressler, shut the hell up, you don't know anything.
and be honest with yourself, how rare is the appearance of a black person at an indie show?
how was the conclusion self serving? sure, maybe i was a bit caught up in the moment after reading that stupid article, but read it and then make your own conclusions, don't just be a jackass and nitpick on diction and syntax. this is a messageboard, kid.

final word (i know D.L. Hughley isn't exactly considered a great thinker but): "'I'm not racist, I've had five black people over at my house!'...if you know how many black people you've had over at your house...you racist as a motherfucker."

Posted by manic hispanic | January 28, 2007 9:21 PM

There are going to be real problems if two-tone comes back into style.....

Posted by Anonymous | January 28, 2007 9:22 PM

there are going to be real problems if two-tone comes back 'into style'.....

Posted by Anonymous | January 28, 2007 9:24 PM

"“And all the kids listen to indie rock,” he said. “If you ask them what’s on their iPod, its Death Cab for Cutie, the Killers.”"

How come they managed to leave Jet out?

..and as for blipsters...they DO exist...I've seen 'em - I swear.

Posted by Pitchfork Media | January 28, 2007 9:31 PM

"if you can honestly go to an indie show and think the fact that black people being at the shows is a big enough issue to write about it, you are a racist. end of story."

----------------

"and be honest with yourself, how rare is the appearance of a black person at an indie show?"

Not sure if we've come full circle but I think the word I'm looking for is, "exactly." If the crowd is and always has been a diverse one, then this topic is a non-starter. If, on the other hand, we've seen an almost uniformly white crowd over the years, then this is a welcome development that should be noted, albeit by a better journalist.

Posted by dola | January 28, 2007 9:53 PM

those two statements weren't even from the same perspective.

Posted by confused hispanic. | January 28, 2007 10:01 PM

The writer of this piece used to write for an alternative newsweekly in Philly. In her column she came across as the epitome of a sarcastic, shallow hipster (basically a Wonkette-wannabe). Eventually she fell out of favor.

Now it looks like she's somehow convinced the NYT that she has her finger on the pulse of youth or something. Sigh. No doubt she had good intentions, but we can all thank her when "blipster" passes into common usage and further alienates black and white fans from each other.

Posted by Phillia | January 28, 2007 10:18 PM

Jessica Pressler the author of the TIF articles in the NYT has this to say in a recent article about what's i n her ipod...I think we have a conspirataur on our hands>>>>>>>

Pressler comments:

"I guess I should be ashamed of having the
Thong Song on my I-tunes, but f*** it, I'm totally not. It's one the best odes to the female posterior ever written, and you can dance to
it. Whither Sisqo now? I guess when Hot in Herre came out everyone forgot about him. Which is not really fair. When you think about it, Sisqo was ROBBED by Nelly. ROBBED."

Is it that she in all her posterier glory might want some blip blip for herself? and whats up with slackin' TVOTR on the top of this post? Those guys rule!

Posted by Anonymous | January 29, 2007 12:42 AM

K -

When you said,

"These same people would probably never say to a Jewish person 'Oh you don't look Jewish.' Call them out on their hypocracy."

you were, unfortunately, mistaken.

Posted by Amy | January 29, 2007 1:06 AM

Is there a term for black mallcore kids?

Posted by Bort | January 29, 2007 7:36 AM

Check out the party at Jessica "Sally" Pressler's house!

http://www.blackpeopleloveus.com/

Posted by Anonymous | January 29, 2007 10:05 AM

Though the discussion on ethnic divisions in music is a fair one... I did think it was offensive to create a potentially offensive nickname such as "blipster".

A better discussion would be why radio formats rarely, if ever, cross color lines. Or why record labels still create seperate imprints for "urban" and "pop".

Posted by Christian | January 29, 2007 10:43 AM

"No doubt she had good intentions, but we can all thank her when "blipster" passes into common usage and further alienates black and white fans from each other."

Sort of how VH1's The Next White Rapper show is already doing to kids. I think the premise of that show is wrong and so is the term blipster.

Posted by Anonymous | January 29, 2007 11:35 AM

i find the "blipster" term at least implicitly somewhat racist, but it's important to point out that the author didn't coin the term. she doesn't even explicitly endorse it or discuss its usefulness, she just mentions that it's in this slang dictionary and refers to that idea one other time. not that that fact means the article isn't basically written in the same spirit.

it seems like a lot of people are debating the merits of racial colorblindness. anybody who thinks that the least racist way to behave is to pretend race doesn't exist is pretty naive. race does exist, and i wouldn't insult anybody by saying that we should pretend this big part of their cultural identity isn't real.

but sometimes it's just not particularly interesting or relevant (and i don't see the author pointing out any reason why it's either one of those things - i guess it's just supposed to be self-evident somehow). i'm sure there are a lot of other differences, class for one, between different groups of people that go to rock shows and play in bands. sure, it's nice to see a bit more diversity. but it doesn't have to be some kind of marketing trend.

Posted by karen | January 29, 2007 11:44 AM

Would you have even heard of TV On The Radio if they didn't have one white guy who basically handles the business end. Hell no!
Whites are still in control of everything!

People are offended enough bu the word hipster. this reminds me of the yuppie and bupie thing.

Posted by germ | January 29, 2007 12:21 PM

you mean "whipsters" are in control of everything

Posted by Anonymous | January 29, 2007 12:29 PM

i think speaking of a musical genre as a changing one, in which a more diverse core of artists are representing that genre, is a very positive thing. however, the article ceased to represent that idea the moment a needless racial branding tool was applied.

for quite some time i've thought "independent" music was an all encompassing genre in order to avoid micro-labels and branding.

if the writer was attempting to note that in the mass media, a more diverse representation of a unified musical genre has existed in recent years, her use of the term "blipster" is thereby oppositional - "We're unified - through a strict system of segregation!". it's a bit counterintuitive.

Posted by romanina | January 29, 2007 12:55 PM

I think part of the reason blipster is such a frustrating term is that it belies the rampant cultural cross-pollination of "indie music," and the cross-pollination of white/black music in general. To argue about who started blues or when it became rock, or the validity of John Lee Hooker versus Led Zeppelin is futile; the history of blues, rock and indie-rock is a history of mutating ideas and identities. How could one subcategorize all the mutant identities involved in, say, TVOTR, ooioo, Fujiya & Miyagi, Jose Gonzalez and Girl Talk?

If a black fan wanted to adopt the term "blipster" to react to the whiteness of a perceived scene, so what? The terms hipster/blipster themselves are semantical. What seems more offensive is the ownership implication that hipsters, or indie music fans, are essentially white, and that black people need a sub-category. Or that black indie fans must be so starved for identity that they should validate themselves by creating an identity which distinguishes them from the "normal" hipster crowd. It would be sad and ironic for a term which has roots in black-culture to be shifted to whites, and then use it to establish a negative identity (negating in the sense that it's "blipster," NOT "hipster").

For a music that porously engages conceptions of identity and exists in a racially messy society, it just seems feckless and eidetic. Pressler may not be advocating the term in her article, but she is creates an obnoxious case, if only to pass it off as "interesting". That's what shitty music criticism is all about.

Posted by nick | January 29, 2007 1:27 PM

DEV IS COOOOOOOL!

The guy from the Dears is Indian anyway, surely?

Posted by Anonymous | January 29, 2007 1:31 PM

I'm black, and I'm indie. And you should all listen to what I have to say. This is all futile! This is cancerous thinking! Modern american indie music had its roots in the white american suburbs, in the midwest. And it appeals to me, a black person! This is the same as the black bluesmen who appealed to the beatles and the stones, and caused the so-called theft. It's merely music, man! It's about enjoyment, and what turns you on. These external sources and forces are nothing but trouble, the devil himself is the cause.

Also, I am white, and not black. I was lying.

Posted by southside slim | January 29, 2007 1:43 PM

I have been to several indie shows where I was one of if not the only black person there. More often I have been the only black woman. And if anyone, black, white, hispanic, asian or other, accused me of "acting white," I would smack the shit out of them. I guess I am black after all.

Seriously, this article is stupid because a) black people at shows is not that much of a trend as far as I can tell and b) bands with black members aren't really doing anything different than the all-white bands. It's not like some new musical genre is being created; it's just more people who grew up listening to the Cure or Nirvana or Pavement making music.

To me the most interesting part of the article was the idea that some (not all I'm sure but some) black indie rockers or punk rockers would like to see more black folks at their shows and expose more young black kids to music besides R&B and hip-hop. Probably because discovering rock music was such an important part of their coming of age, as was the case for me. I only had one other friend growing up who listened to rock (I grew up in an all-black suburb of Cleveland) and we longed to go to concerts but were too afraid of ridicule and of being the only black people in a room and of having to ask our parents for a ride to the Agora to actuall go.

Now that I'm almost 30 I don't give a fuck, but it took a long while to get there. And I'm still pissed off that I missed so many good shows when I was a teenager because since I have been living in New York seeing a band live has become the best part of the whole musical experience for me. So good on Afropunk and those bands that want more black faces at their shows.

Posted by fusskins | January 29, 2007 1:54 PM

I don't think it's offensive. It's not ment to be offensive. It's like emo kids or scene kids. it's just something to call yourself.

Posted by Devun | January 29, 2007 1:57 PM

Shouldn't we just be focusing on the fact that the article is a piece-of-crap hatchet job by a terrible writer? And furthermore, all this hubbub is spurred on by something that appeared in the lame NY Times Style section.

Posted by grumpy old man | January 29, 2007 2:21 PM

so i guess by this rationale, i would be a hipster (i'm hispanic)

Posted by julio | January 29, 2007 2:50 PM

Umm, the original term and the cultural trappings of hipsterism were derived from parts of urban black culture, specifically jazz musicians. This is all covered in Norman Mailer's "The White Negro" a text written 50 years ago. The writer of this article is pretty historically ignorant. But what do you expect from the style/fashion section of the NY Times.

Posted by Anonymous | January 29, 2007 4:27 PM

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/White_Negro

For instance, note how the subtitle says "White Hipster"? Which means "hipster" is a word that originally denoted certain African Americans, which was appropriated. (Derived, probably, from the terms hep and hepcat.)

Posted by Anonymous | January 29, 2007 4:30 PM

dont let anybody tell you that DEVO isnt still cool!

Posted by DEVO | January 29, 2007 5:53 PM

I am more offended by the hijacking of "hipster" itself.

From cool cats that listened to jazz and read Kerouac to some nerds in ironic t's trying to make us beleive they can grow beards and listen to weak-ass shit.

-G.

Posted by juepucta | January 29, 2007 5:54 PM

when i was being interviewed for this article, what i got from the questions i was being asked was that it was going to turn out to be an insightful feature on an overlooked subgenre of people. by keeping a correspondence with the interviewer, i found that the article went through nine editors. she even told me she cringed when she read the final version. and if i can quote the essay i did on my band’s website about the article, “what could have been a great article got diluted into ‘black indie rockers for dummies.’ ”

i, and ms. pressler, thought this was going to be a commentary on black stereotypes, but it seems as though the editors made people like me a stereotype.

Posted by douglas martin | January 29, 2007 6:40 PM

Blipster is such a stupid name. Maybe, it's just someone try to get revenge for the word "wigger" being created.

Posted by Akira | January 29, 2007 8:42 PM

What's next an article about whiggers? "Blipsters", for lack of a more creative monicker, have been around since the dawn of punk. Long live Bad Brains, 24/7 Spyz, Living Colour, Fishbone just to name a few!! I've rocked out at many alt/indie/punk/newwave rock shows over the years and have NEVER felt like an outsider. The truth is that true rockers see no color. While I agree that "blipster" is stupid, the article had some merits.

Posted by like a song | January 29, 2007 10:06 PM

This is so pathetic it is, as some have already said, almost comical. While African American activists, artists and intellectuals doing great work in their communities and in the world are too often overlooked, a few kids listening to Nirvana - NIRVANA?! - are profiled in one of the most prestigious and widely read newspapers in the world. Do the NY Times' editors have any sense? One has to wonder.

Posted by Bostonbooked | January 30, 2007 12:22 PM

everyone get the fuck out of newyork seriously . im sick of u all

Posted by jah jah | January 30, 2007 12:32 PM

Compartmentalizing shit makes people comfortable. And it makes freelance journalists bank. That's not anything new. Besides, if anyone's expecting an enlightened discussion of racial identity and socialization from the Gray Lady, well, they ought to look elsewhere.

As for what K said in his questions above (loved the reply letter, by the way), I thought this one was interesting: "Why should non-American blacks (Africans, Carribeans, Latinos, etc) be asked to shoulder the burden of a 400 year old squabble? Is that really fair?"

I don't think it's an issue of shouldering some squabble about American racial politics. As a black woman from the Caribbean, I definitely can observe the after-effects of colonialism when I go back home. I think this is true of a lot of black people who aren't from the States. To say that having some sort of issues with race/power/what.have.you is, to my mind, pretty naive. It's not like Africa or the Caribbean or Latin America were magically exempt from fucked-up race relations. The only difference is that indie rock isn't a major (or even a minor) consideration, but if you want to get into cultural ownership and all that jazz... hell, we could be here all week.

Posted by Ju | January 30, 2007 2:12 PM

Edit to the above: To say that having some sort of issues with race/power/what.have.you is limited to this country is, to my mind, pretty naive.

Posted by Ju | January 30, 2007 2:15 PM

"It works all ways. I hear "oh you don't act gay" all the time. I just say "I'm not an actor"!

I've felt like a misfit all my life because I don't fit in with any of the pigeonholes that people expect my white gay ass to fall into. I'm not nellie, I love rock music and people that do it well. I don't care what race/creed/color/whatever they are. It's too bad everyone can't have that outlook."

Damn.you sound sexy.

myspace?

Posted by Anonymous | January 31, 2007 12:13 AM

Douglas, I wouldn't buy it. Especially when she's ripping into people on comments pages like this. If she's not cut out of the NYTimes freelance budget because of the stupidity of this story, she should be for leaving these types of comments:

http://www.philebrity.com/2007/01/29/j-press-reveals-some-of-our-best-hipsters-are-black/

Posted by Anonymous | January 31, 2007 9:09 AM

jesus christ! what a bunch of whining assholes. would you all just please shut the fuck up? seriously. blipster?? that offends you? go back to your mother's basement, you obviously aren't prepared to deal with the real world. especially the real world as it exists in New York. get the fuck out of my city you blubbering douchebags.

Posted by FrixFrixFrix | January 31, 2007 12:52 PM

OMG! i'm more new york than you!

i'm black and i wear tight pants!

i'm white and have three black friends!

people, GET THE FUCK OVER IT. K is right to be angry, but stop posturing. half the people getting up in arms about this are white kids who live on the upper east side. being a "black sympathizer" doesn't make you any less racist... it makes you a little bit too neurotic and obsessive about who you support and what you really believe in.

stop looking at people in narrowminded ways. in fact, why can't we all just work on art and music without looking for approval from a particular cross-section of people?

"get out of my city?"

nah son. get over yourself.

whoever posted the link to blackpeopleloveus.com is my fucking hero.

Posted by dan | January 31, 2007 2:37 PM

I thought the person who brought up the fact that the middle-class black community tends to be more conservative, and therefore less likely to strike out into a music scene populated by liberals, hit on something really interesting. And the sad thing is, no mass-produced newspaper like the Times (especially not the Styles section) is going to print a real investigative expose delving into deeper observations like this. Too bad, it could've been really interesting.

I agree "Blipster" is bullshit. Last time I checked, hipster had to do only with stereotyping how a certain bunch of people dress, and surmising that these people all listen to exactly the same kind of music. Equally as disturbing, is the fact that the media has reduced what used to proudly be referred to as "the indie scene," which meant music made by under-represented, and some might argue more talented artists, of varying music genres, who were not funded by major labels, into this "hipster" thing. As a former music journalist who covered the indie scene in the late 80's and early 90's, it depresses me how twisted people's perception of "alternative" music is. True music lovers, of any race, do not listen to only one type of music.

Though I will say - giving airtime and reporting on people who defy stereotypes is worthy & potentially thought-provoking.

Posted by inquisigal | January 31, 2007 5:27 PM

The 'blipster' term isn't offensive to me because it's racist, which it is.

It's offensive because it's fucking corny.

Posted by Infamous | January 31, 2007 6:15 PM

I read the article and have to say that although I though the label "blipster" was silly, I thought that the overall piece had merit. What follows is a long but also long-thought-out take on this discussion.

I used to consider myself indie, until I realized that many (the majority but not all) of the white indie people I considered my friends were either dismissive or presumptous of my identity. Example: I was constantly advised on natural hairstyles, told I was overly sensitive about race, etc. by white people. (Imagine if your friend was dismissive of an important aspect of your identity, what would you do?)

Indie culture (like many subcultures) is not just about music. It is a way of life with political undertones--after all, what does it mean to be indie but that you are independent, believe in freedom, usually anti-corporate, support the spirit of DIY and grassroots movements. It is also proudly "liberal," (as far as I've seen) GLBTQ-friendly, profeminism--in other words, everything progressive EXCEPT race.

We find our friends through shared interests such as music and politics. Not surprisingly, many black indie scenesters thus tend to have many white friends (who, unfortunately, tend to have not so many black friends).

Whenever I have tried to share my concerns about the homogenous nature of the indie scene with white friends, they have been dismissive in that "is it always about race," "there you go pulling the race card," "I don't see you as black" attitude that is basically their own self-denial of white privilege. This is especially ironic since many people in the indie scene consider themselves progressive or liberal. Yet, when it comes to race, they espouse conservative rhetoric.

By the way, the so-called color-blind "I don't see you as black" phrase is one of the most degrading things you can say to a black person--I do not consider my blackness to be a stigma that should be hidden from society.

What bothers me most is the DISMISSIVENESS of many white indie people to what is clearly an issue that needs to be addressed. I mean, the black:white ratio at indie concert attendances is so blatant that I have been bowled over by the apparent state of denial that many indie people seem to have when it comes to what is basically a lack of racial progress in this area! NOTE: Many of us choose not to go to concerts precisely because we are tired of being in the minority...as usual.

I am really glad that I came across the NYT article. It has led me to James Spooner's myspace page. I can't wait to see his Afro-Punk documentary, as well as his upcoming "White Lies, Black Sheep." The trailers are encouraging and I am hoping to network with other black independents. (I may even go back to considering myself indie and actually attend indie concerts. For the moment, I think that the word "independent" captures the spirit in which many of us have attended indie concerts solo, placing ourselves in uncomfortable, awkward situations that white people rarely encounter unless they actively seek to be in an unprivileged, minority position--that is, to make a political statement.)

Most of my friends nowadays are black, Latino or Hispanic, but do not share my interest in indie music (and that is the double-edged sword that us black independents are faced with--we either pursue our real interests and remain outcasts or abandon them but embrace those settings in which we feel as though we are welcomed and "belong").

The truth is that both the black and white communities have contributed to marginalizing black independents. Now that this discussion is more out in the open, I hope that people will be less dismissive of the voice of those marginalized by both of these communities--indie and black. I recommend that rather than assume you know everything that goes on in the indie scene, you give our voices a chance and see Spooner's documentaries. Your black indie friend might or might not appreciate your making an effort to understand his or her identity.

Posted by Ex-Indie | January 31, 2007 6:52 PM

Let me amend that last sentence and say "whole" identity. Being black is an important part of who I am, but it is not all of me.

Peace

Posted by Ex-Indie | January 31, 2007 7:08 PM

It's sad that we need labels to define who we are and how we choose to live our lives.
"Let's judge each man by his actions not his color." -unknown

Posted by marcelle | January 31, 2007 8:38 PM

I don't think "blipster" is nessesary. A hipster is a hipster. I'm not offended, I just think it's lame.

Posted by Chachi | February 1, 2007 9:22 AM

wtf is a blipster? i bet the author felt so smart pulling it out in her article.
"this will be the new 'beatik' " she thought
"...and perhaps, I'll be credited with coining the term!"
as a black person who's been called a hipster a fair amount of times, and as a black female who's been to northsix a fair amount of times (and not the only one at a show) i'm not embracing the term.
the word isn't offensive, just retarded (no offense to retards)
here's a fucking article, write about how the word hipster is the new rock & roll. get it?
well it's retarded when you try to give it back to us!
the article wasn't news to me, it's life. and a watered-down version of it.
if you get off reading about black kids into rock music, go to AFROPUNK.COM

JAMES SPOONER IS MY IDOL!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Jessica Pressler is lazy and out of touch. Who gives a rats ass what she has to say on the matter? She wrote her article, made her deadline and got paid. Fuck it. Someone had to write it.

Did I mention that
JAMES SPOONER IS MY IDOL?!

Posted by puresugati | February 2, 2007 12:47 AM

It's not the term that is offensive. It is when people take the media seriously enough that they identify with it, either as subject or voyeur.

Marketing, needs to market to someone. Hence, the classification of everything from colour of skin, type of ball game we play, the house we live in, the friends we have and what we consume or we should be consuming.

Basically the media creates a microcosmic world endlessly reflecting upon itself and tempting us to accept its B.S. view of our place within it. You try it, you buy it and you wear it.

The best tool to approach media with is total and utter cynicism. The best term to carry out one's cynical view of media B.S. is "Whatever!"

So when I read the NYT online or intellectually inferior Australian Newspapers (rarely) I read an article then say "Whatever!" and kick it to the kerb.

So... Are you being oversensitive? No.
Are you giving the NYT article too much credibility? Probably.

Posted by OzSugarGlider | February 3, 2007 9:50 PM

White people would love to live in a world where the fact that they are racist is not thrown up in their faces. The fact that in 2 hours 2 black coaches will take the sidelines for their respective clubs is historical. The reason for that is if the NFL wasn't such a "good ol boys club" that it is, this historical should have happened years ago. Black folks are responsible for just about every popular musical genre there is and that includes white folks' precious country music. It's the white people who have a problem when they see black folks at shows and start getting on the kick that is so unusual to see a black face at a rock or indie show. While you all need to realize if there was no Chuck Berry or Little Richard or the black men before them, there would be no rock n roll.

Posted by Anonymous | February 4, 2007 4:18 PM

Ohhh-fuckin'-k. Blipster is high-larious. As someone who readily openly identifies as a black hipster and shouts that shit from the treetops, I just thank Ms. Pressler for the howlingly stupid abbreviation. It made my day.

Those of you offended by Blipster are really smoking rocks or you're those overprivileged jerk-offs in skinny jeans tolerating Brooklyn because it's the new hot shit.

Hipsters are fucking shallow. If you see someone in a NorthFace and L.E.I. jeans walking down Bedford, you're ready to stone them. Now you're getting upset because racism still exists and that's just so not what you need in your life right now. You've got to be kidding. Trust, if being outwardly racially intolerant was in vogue, all of these comments would be different.

Peeps seem up in arms because someone pointed out that black people have taken to being pouty, underfed creative types which is a luxury not afforded to a group of people who because of enduring stereotypes, often have to work twice as hard to be accepted as half as well. We've always got to conform be it becoming a rapper or becoming a banker but in this day and age, becoming a rock star does not fit either ideal of a black person as a thugged-out loser or an upwardly mobile negro.

When black people run around losing their minds downing Sparks and listening to "white people music," it's incredible. It is rare to see that level of abandon within the African and African-American community so when I see a fellow negro bumpin' M.I.A. I get my Kool-Aid smile on. It's like seeing a leprechaun. It's liberating.

So waaaay too long story short, racism exists and Blipster is perfection. The End.

Oh and if you really want to hard commentary on the whole issue, check out an authentic Negro Hipster blog: http://connykate.wordpress.com/

Posted by Conny | February 6, 2007 3:34 PM

Those pictured "Blipsters" look like I did back in the 80s. Was I an early pioneer of Blipsterdom?

Posted by Jay Wilson | February 7, 2007 11:00 PM

How stupid... I feel like I wasted two minutes of my life reading this article..

Posted by Thelonius | February 12, 2007 3:34 PM

I read the article and as a black person who is NOT on the scene, I appreciated the coverage. I think it was for people like me (those not in the know) and the purpose was well served- It got the message out that there is a seperate way to be black in urban america. I live in Detroit, and we need to be opened up to alternatives if for no better reason than to learn that the world is larger than what is outside our windows.

I feel badly for the people who have taken this forum to simply degrade Spooner's film. If you didn't like it, that's fine- not every piece of media will change your world. At least you can be respectful of the fact that he took the DIY spirit to heart and made his own life story a part of the popular culture lexicon. Its more than most of us can say for ourselves. If you think his movie was so horrible, I suggest that you honestly use his movie as a reference of what NOT to do and make your own story into a film- maybe it will spark a new dialogue and further increase human interaction.

Posted by LaWanna | February 14, 2007 1:48 AM

james spooner's film sucks because it is so self-aggrandizing. i talked to him about it and he literally thinks he changed the world and saves lives with that movie. it's stupid, self-righteous people like him who are the reason why crash wins a best picture oscar.

Posted by afropunk | February 14, 2007 11:53 AM

Initially I was bothered by the article and by the term "blipsters" because I felt it was unfair to slap a racial label on some music fans and not on others. One more thing to widen the gap between the races. After some thought, I realized that the world (especially the narrow minded) needs to know that black people (and biracial people like myself) are not one-dimensional and that there are many of us that really do listen to music that doesn't include R&B and rap! You'd be surprised how many people I encounter that can't fathom a black or biracial person not liking R&B or rap. Sad commentary on our society. Read more at http://www.nycbiracialgirl.blogspot.com/

Posted by kkattison | February 18, 2007 4:30 PM

a white guy invented basketball.

Posted by Anonymous | February 18, 2007 7:04 PM

The "Blipster" thing is problematic, but I think it's defintely worth talking about, 1) because it is a fringe term that people have been using, and they've been using it because 2) America, for the most part, is on an ideological racial binary and even though most of the kids "on the scene" like to think of themselves as post-modern, race still makes a difference.

Notice I didn't say "hipster". That's because most "hipsters" don't consider themselves hipsters. In fact, thinking of yourself in categories like that completely goes against the whole idea of being post-modern (which get's back to race . . . and identity you can't really escape, but wait, black people can be hipsters still, can't they? Something to think about).
Anyway, hipster isn't an internalized identity, it's put on them from the mainstream.

So basically, I'm not exactly upset about the term, because it's just another example of the mainstream trying to put people into categories so they can understand them. My main problem with the article was how it suggested that all black people who listen to indie rock and go to shows even are hipsters. Not true. Even though "hipsters" don't technically have a collective identity, there's still an us-them dynamic going on, and you can't really be "in" unless you're like, cool. Otherwise you're just associated with the scene, which may make you better than some guy on wall street, but not necessarily cool. In fact, there are certain types of people who we all can agree are totally un-cool: Hippies.

Posted by E-boogie | February 18, 2007 8:27 PM

VICE magazine has just posted an article on "a new tribe of race-bending trendsetters taking over. Blipsters beware. Blavers (black ravers) OWN London's new/nu rave scene right now and are ready to take over the planet."

http://vice.typepad.com/vice_magazine/2007/02/blave_new_world.html

Posted by dimdom | February 19, 2007 1:35 PM

"james spooner's film sucks because it is so self-aggrandizing. i talked to him about it and he literally thinks he changed the world and saves lives with that movie. it's stupid, self-righteous people like him who are the reason why crash wins a best picture oscar." first off i owe it to myself to second this comment... but then again im not exactly here to comment on what spooner THINKS he has done.... (taking a phrase that has existed without you and making people pay to use it is a cockshit type thing to do..and afropunk just annoyed the hell out of me...we all got picked on in high school...get the fuck over it and grow up...had the film focused on black youth speaking on experiences of a 5"2 black girl having to literally fight a 6 ft tall white male with S.S. bolts tattooed on his face just to get close enough to hear the music... i would have seen the film as something more then just spooner capitalizing on something and snatching up the bucks at every afro punk event so that BK folks who didnt have to thrash could simply bring out their spike belts and play in the kiddy pool of punk rock created by James...then safely go back to their real world.... good job Spooner....i hear your mother is Jewish...which parent do you represent the most????:: as far as the term blipster.... that's ridiculous. I have to agree with the masses on this...its unneccessary and certainly not needed. Whos fuckin bright idea was it anyways. Black people do need to havea seperate classification in every genre...and someone thinks we do....they have too much fuckin time on their hands...can we get on with the show or do we need to create more titles to classify our position in the word....

haha...just as dumb as the term...Afro-Africa American... Black has always suited me just fine....

keep the shit simple people....

and its cool that i may be one of few black rockers who do not and will not support Afro Punk or anything else Spooner can manage to pull out of his ass.... us as people need to stop stealing from each other...and one day you'll realize that he has been stealing from you this entire time...

the secrets arent out.....yet....

Posted by a roselike color | February 20, 2007 5:41 PM

This is a good example of white ignorance. What do you call a white hipster then?

A Whipster?

Posted by Bubba Blipster | February 22, 2007 7:22 AM

HAHAHAHA a WHIPSTER!....lets put that in the Urban Dictionary...GENIUS...and sometimes so perfectly suiting!

im using that one...

Posted by Adrian | February 25, 2007 12:15 PM

The original hipster...was black. Wikipedia, check it.

Posted by Anonymous | March 20, 2007 5:33 PM

No such thing as indie. It went outie with the ninties. All the shorties coming to NYC to buy some cool. Need to leave the past in the past and put some energy into something that actually has meaning. No actually helps society-OK I thank you for making my brooklyn neighborhood so cool by your existance. Thanks-but in short grow the fuck up.

Posted by Grown Ass | April 17, 2007 11:23 AM

Racism is slowly but surely dying with each generation. We're all swapping fluids now, we'll all be brown soon, probably to evolve because it makes no sense to be melonin-deficient and have to find a rock to hide under or get 3rd degree burns. Our music is just mirroring our mixing...categorizing should've ended with the elitist Victorians.

Posted by Meaghan Callahan | April 21, 2007 1:33 PM

Re: "We're all swapping fluids now, we'll all be brown soon."

Sure, if you call the Chinese "brown."

Posted by Anonymous | April 21, 2007 2:32 PM

hahahaha I was so late to this.
I find this hilarious.
I'm black I frequently attend "indie shows"
and I really never feel uncomfortable. I've never felt like a "blipster"
But there is truth to the article, alot of people in the black society have been brain washed to like hip-hop.
I guess cause I wasn't raised like that, that's reason why I haven't fell into that sterotype.
But either way a sterotype will arise.
And it's funny to read all these comments left by probably middle-class whites that probably graduated from a liberal arts college. And those liberal arts colleges are really not diverse at all. So it sort of the very society the hipster culture stands for, isn't.

Posted by Anonymous | August 10, 2008 6:32 AM

at the end of the day no one is embracing their nationalities race or whatever people are just embracing the fact that they are living in a williamsburg loft, creating bull shitty art and wearing glasses too big for their faces so this article shouldn't exist anyways...

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Posted by GRACEDJ28 | February 23, 2010 7:02 AM

They're afraid that black people might make better indie music then white people <-- see how ignorant that sounded. we are all fucking humans we are all capable of making music, practice makes perfect. but yes each race has dumbasses. plus race is basically a form of a corporatism.

Posted by LOL | April 3, 2010 6:15 AM

It's sad that black people can't be hipsters. They need their own separate category. It's the same with vouge making a black vouge. It's basically saying that ur not good enough to be in the regular vouge or ur not accepted as the norm so were going to give you ur own separate publication that isnt synonomis with it's root. At the end of the day we just want to be accepted-just like everyone else in this alternaive lifestyle. But whatever,that's the way things are. Sorry for all the typos,I'm on my iPhone lol

Posted by Black woman | October 20, 2010 2:15 AM

Oh fucking please. Blipsters are a dime a dozen in NYC. Even Solange Knowles decided to be down. You're absofuckinglutely right about them being queer-friendly, pro-feminist & progressive-EVERYTHING *EXCEPT* race. They differ from hipsters because they usually have their own blipster circles unless they are the token black person working in Urban Outfitters. They worship people like Kanye West & Basquiat.

Posted by Fuck you | November 20, 2010 7:52 PM

I'm not a fan of James Spooner's films because they are so self-aggrandizing. I talked to him about it and he literally thinks he changed the world and saves lives with that movie. It's stupid, self-righteous people like him who are the reason why crash wins a best picture Oscar.

Posted by Jose | January 6, 2011 2:45 AM

i agree with you BV. anyway, why is a subgenre of hipster really needed? let alone one based on race?

Posted by GaMes | January 19, 2011 9:46 AM

The only reason blacks ever adopt these fads is to prey sexually on whites.

They know at punk shows most are either/both vulnerable drug addicts.(or) have only seen blacks on television and think they are really tame like that.

If you have ever been to a punk show with blacks present you know this is the truth.

Actually this is pretty much the only drive in black's lives.

If you have ever been around them, you know this is true, too.

Posted by EOJ | March 5, 2011 11:19 AM

The only reason blacks ever adopt these fads is to prey sexually on whites.

They know at punk shows most are either/both vulnerable drug addicts.(or) have only seen blacks on television and think they are really tame like that.

If you have ever been to a punk show with blacks present you know this is the truth.

Actually this is pretty much the only drive in black's lives.

If you have ever been around them, you know this is true, too.

Posted by EOJ | March 5, 2011 11:19 AM

The only reason blacks ever adopt these fads is to prey sexually on whites.

They know at punk shows most are either/both vulnerable drug addicts.(or) have only seen blacks on television and think they are really tame like that.

If you have ever been to a punk show with blacks present you know this is the truth.

Actually this is pretty much the only drive in black's lives.

If you have ever been around them, you know this is true, too.

Posted by EOJ | March 5, 2011 11:19 AM

I've had enough of turning the other cheek I'm a strong advocate of standing up for what you believe in.

Posted by thai music | August 2, 2011 1:38 AM

I like very much.
I have to follow it.
Thank you.

Posted by ครีมหมอจุฬา | August 2, 2011 4:59 AM

Thanks for sharing the post in entitled "Truly Indie Fans", the NY Times

Posted by reformas madrid | August 12, 2011 7:03 AM

If you have ever been around them, you know this is true, too.

Posted by หี | October 27, 2011 1:12 AM

blipster? Ouch that's a little harsh.

Posted by Gordon | February 20, 2012 10:43 AM

I personally think people take words and their meanings to seriously. Lighten up life is short. Words can only hurt you if you allow them to.

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Posted by freelance writing | April 11, 2012 3:39 AM

Stupid to even suggest "black hipster." Even though, African Americans created the culture of being a hipster in the 1940's. Keep on trying to steal a culture you racists Americant's.

Posted by Truth is Power | April 26, 2012 8:24 AM

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