Hip-hop often gets the ‘noise violation’ talk from folks in the burbs, but today it is facing some opposition from its own backyard.
Some resident’s in Park Slope, Brooklyn are lashing out against plans for a restaurant bar near the now under construction Barclay Arena. The arena, some of you may recall seeing pictures of the groundbreaking of the arena, mainly because hip-hop’s mainstay couple Jay-Z and Beyonce were in attendance. Well despite the show of support from the couple and Jay’s personal investment in the project, at least one resident of the affluent Park Slope neighborhood is less than thrilled about having the Brooklyn-born mogul’s brand of music close to home.
In an online petition being circulated to Park Slope residents, Jennifer McMillen outlines her protest against Prime 6, the restaurant/bar currently in development. In her petition, titled, “Indie Music Will Earn You More Than Hip-Hop!!!!“, McMillen argues:
I don’t think anyone would deny that Park Slopers are about the least “racist” people on the planet. What IS causing strife in this situation is that over the last ten years, Park Slope has become a family-oriented and family-centric community.
She goes on to ask:
Isn’t there some middle ground between this spot being a stroller repair shop and it being a full-on hip-hop club? Instead of focusing on hip-hop and urban entertainment, what if Prime 6 embraced some of the more indie local artists of ALL races who live and perform in the area. It’s not “racist” to equate hip-hop with an elevated crime rate vis a vi other types of musical genres – It’s just a statistical fact that crime is more likely to occur among urban audiences than among audiences of other demographics. R&B and rap happen to be my two favorite types of music, but no one (especially my African American friends and colleagues) would seriously deny that hip-hop’s violent history tragically precedes it.
Oh boy. Where do we begin?
While we’re sure that McMillen believes that she is being super open minded- what with her “African-American friends” and all, this whole petition reeks of an incredibly elitist tone. Not only does she imply that patrons of a hip-hop club would be cheaper than patrons of an indie club, she also ignores that hip-hop is a billion dollar marketing machine with appeal beyond just those “urban” kids. While hip-hop certainly has its roots in America’s urban areas, it has become an mainstream American form of artistic expression (and while we’re counting, the second distinctly American style of music created by Black folks- you’re welcome).
Saying that hip-hop is bait for elevated crime seems is quite a stretch on its own but then to imply that it isn’t embraceable by all is just illogical. If it isn’t already apparent, one could point to the popularity of hip-hop artists like Jay-Z whose fan base includes a diverse audience.
Frankly, McMillen’s argument is made more annoying because of her failed attempts to be subdued and tame the scene. As if by pointing out that some black people also think hip-hop can be violent brings a sense of objectivity to her claim. In her wordy attempt at subtlety, McMillen still conveys the sentiments an old man with a rocking chair on a porch screaming, “get off my lawn!”
Currently, the petition has 15 signatures, a sign that there may indeed be one or two errant fans of that hippity-hop music living in Park Slope.
While McMillen goes out her way to explain that she’s not being racist, are we convinced? Is a club likely to make more money or be safer if it goes light on the hip-hop?
Discuss, Clutchettes- tell us what you think…