So, the other day, a kid (probably young 20-something) told me that I must’ve been a Black hipster. Oh, the irony in that statement. After writing and talking about extensively what it means to be a Black gentrifer in a Black community, it’s an interesting mental journey to then think about what it means to be a Black hipster.
So, I started thinking about all the ways I’m not a hipster, which led me to take this interesting, comical journey on the 15 things that make me a Black Hipster.
1. You know who Kara Walker and Bansky are. Sure Black hipsters frequent the Studio of Harlem and practically know every artistic director at Alvin Ailey by heart, but true Black hipsters, love abstract and mystery in their art. And Black hipsters love to discuss their love of little known artists as well as upcoming mainstream, critically acclaimed, thought provoking artists like Kara Walker.
2. You frequent the Everyday People Brunch. There’s brunch on the lower east side on Sundays at Sons of Essex, and then there’s the hipster haven casual street style brunch that will land you on Chef Roble’s instagram or on the pages of Essence Street Style section. Every Black hipster has to go once, just to say it’s pretentious.
3. Solange is your fashion ideal. While Lupita was coming to steal Solange’s glory, before that Met Ball stunt, Solange remains queen. Solange is to Black hipsters, what Beyonce is to the rest of the world. Everything.
4. Everything is vintage, thrifted, and or from a neoclassical, contemporary designer. Let’s face it, Black hipsters hate Michael Kors as much as they hate Louis Vuitton. If it’s not from a thrift store or a flea market, they probably won’t own it. If they must buy something, it’s probably from Alexander Wang or 3:1 Phillip Lim. They’d scoff at anyone who didn’t know who these designers were. They cringe at the phrase “red bottoms.”
5. You don’t believe in Brazilian bundles. Your hair is in a natural style (twists, afro, braids, locks). Because straight hair makes us feel weird, or fancy, or both.
6. You love music festivals. Every summer (without fail) you are standing in mud in your Hunter boots (thrifted) listening to Kid Cudi on Roosevelt Island. You live from Afro Punk festival, singing all the words to Common’s “There is a Light.”
7. You like to brag about your technological inadequacies. Black hipsters love to talk about how unplugged they are. They love to brag about how “late” they started a twitter account. They love to discuss how they don’t understand Facebook.
8. You are Anti-Flyover states. Black hipsters love to vacation on the East Coast, California or the Rest of the World. Black hipsters have little tolerance for vacationing in Atlanta or partying with friends in Minnesota. Black hipsters love to vacation in San Francisco or Los Angeles. If they’ve visited the west coast 3 times too many times, and there’s no major concert happening in Philly, they go frolicking across Spain for two weeks. Most Black hipsters don’t believe Oklahoma is a state.
9. You love liberation t-shirts and activist pins. Nothing says, I’m an activist like a t-shirt about Steve Biko. Black hipsters love to protest with their clothes.
10. You love TravelNoire and Street Etiquette.
11. You live in Brooklyn. Let’s face it, just like our often-disparaged counterparts; Black hipsters love to live near other Black hipsters. While complaining about the original Black hipster neighborhood, Fort Greene, many Black hipsters have moved outward towards Bushwick and on the edges of East New York in search of cheaper rent and more authentic “BK” experiences.
12. You have a blog. You may ride your bike downtown to your financial analyst firm, but by night you write abstract things about abstract conversations you had with your equally as abstract friends.
13. You’re addicted to Etsy. After you’ve spent countless hours on pintrest and polyvore, you’ve decided to purchase a homemade, unique piece from a little known artist on Etsy. What’s more to love.
14. Anti-Kindle. You can always spot a Black hipster on the train by their expensive eyewear deeply immersed in an old worn out, 25 cents copy of “The Souls of Black Folk.” The truth is, we take pride in reading real newspapers and going to real bookstores. To really spot a Black hipster, you will notice the shelves of old magazines they hoard in their home.
15. Non-prescription glasses, hats, and skinny jeans oh my!