New York “Times” Discovers Black People On The Radio

Jan 29th, 2007 // 6 Comments

Yesterday, the New York Times ran a lengthy Sunday Styles piece on the perceived prominence of black musicians (specifically, members of TV On The Radio, Bloc Party, and the Dears) within the indie-music scene. Because the subject of race tends to get indie-types all hot and bothered–after all, it’s a genre that seems to be produced and consumed almost exclusively by white people, a fact of which everyone seems to be aware–the story has been met with considerable debate, and one passage in general seems to have drawn the most ire:

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.

Ooof! While there’s no doubt that rock has been primarily a whites-only enterprise for decades, we’re pretty sure that black musicians didn’t voluntarily “leave” the genre: rather, they were all but forced out when record labels realized that Pat Boone’s version of “Tutti Frutti” could make them a lot more money than Little Richard’s rendition. And since when does–which is credited in the story for legitimizing the term “bilpster,” or “black hipster”–count as a credible Times source? Does that mean we should expect a William Safire essay on “Wentz face“?

Truly Indie Fans [New York Times]

  1. MTS

    I already made “Quote of The Day” down here, so I’m just going to pass along this track from The Cocker Spaniels, “The Only Black Guy At The Indie Rock…. Pretty much says it all.

  2. chrisb

    “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.”


  3. frankenslade

    Did they dig up an old “Black Rock” article from 1983 and change the names? What’s next, The Year of Women in Rock?

  4. the rich girls are weeping

    Dang, so totally scooped by Maria! I was totally popping in to mention The Cocker Spaniels as well. Apparently, Sean Padilla isn’t the only black guy at the indie rock show anymore. Or something.

    This is newsworthy? In the STYLES section? I don’t know whether to laugh or be offended.

  5. acb

    this manufactured outrage is delicious

  6. Looks like I picked the wrong day to quit sniffing glue

    Of course black people left rock and roll, the same way they left slavery and Jim Crow behind for white people to enjoy.

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