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Rise of the Afro Hipster

Did everybody else catch this story the other day in the Style section of the New York Times about black people who are into cracka-ass cracka music like indie rock? (I know a lot of you d-bags are into fashion.)

If not, here you go:

The gist of it’s that black people, by and large, haven’t been involved with rock music since the days of Little Richard and Chuck Berry, but today – thanks to both the Internets and the fact that hip-hop sucks balls – there’s a growing community of young, black indie rock fans.

Last year alone, one of the most popular albums, Gnarls Barkley’s St. Elsewhere, as well as one of the most critically acclaimed albums, TV on the Radio’s Return to Cookie Mountain, were by black rock groups. Hardly any rap albums were as critically acclaimed or as commercially viable.

Already, one of the top albums of 2007 is A Weekend in the City by Bloc Party, a group who’s lead singer has somehow managed to be both black and teh ghey. It’s not even out yet, but my guess is that’s gonna be a pretty big album. Nullus.

Even many of the most anticipated rap albums of the year are by Kanye West, who’s working with the likes of Jon Brion and Chris Martin, Lil’ Wayne, who rocks big belt buckles and pretends to play the guitar, and The Pack, who rap about wearing Vans and riding skateboards. What gives?

The Times article is suggesting that part of it has to do with technology. There have always been black people here and there who were into cracka-ass cracka music, but in the past they were all kinda isolated. Now they can all join together on the Internets and comiserate.

Which sounds like a real story of technology-aided progress, though of course some aren’t as jazzed as others. For one, I’ve been listening to cracka-ass cracka music for years, and as much as I like the idea of other young jigs seeing the light, I could do without the tight pants and big belt buckles.

As Nelson George put it in the Times story, “Black kids do not want to go out with bummy clothes and dirty sneakers. There is a psychological subtext to that, about being in a culture where you are not valued and so you have to value yourself.”

If the Times would’ve called me for a quote, and of course they didn’t, I would’ve just told them the shit was teh ghey-looking.

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