Jamie Doward, The Guardian, Feb. 22
Once white youth’s attempts to embrace black street culture ended in embarrassing parody. Attempts by white rap stars such as East 17 and Vanilla Ice to become so-called ‘wiggers’ — white people who act black — made for ridiculous posturing, which eventually metamorphosed into the spoof character, Ali G.
But a new report, based on interviews with young people across Britain, suggests that more and more white youths now see black street culture as their only credible influence in the UK. And, what’s more, the predominance of black culture has even led to the formation of a fledgling hybrid language-’Blinglish’.
TRBI, the marketing agency which advises blue-chip clients on how to sell products to young people, conducted a series of interviews with black and white teenagers to produce its report: ‘Black Britain And Its Influence’.
The report says: ‘The days when popular culture was controlled by white artists and pushed by cultural organisations have faded. Black youth have a disproportionate influence on mainstream culture.’
TRBI believes that one of the main reasons white youth seems to follow black culture is an absence of any credible alternative sub-culture. Whereas previous white generations had acid house or punk, today’s teens have to look to black culture for their inspiration.
As one of the teenagers interviewed by TRBI puts it: ‘The coolest group at school are the “rude girls” who dress and talk black.’
TRBI’s researchers found that an increasing number of white youths now talk with a Jamaican patois which they have dubbed ‘Blinglish’-a reference which suggests the marriage of English to black street culture’s love of ostentatious displays of wealth, known as ‘bling’.
Embracing black youth culture has become a way of recreating the generational divide. The report notes: ‘Generation X may have been a happy all-inclusive world where mums and kids could enjoy Oasis but today many mainstream adults find black music and culture inaccessible and shocking. Hip-hop culture represents a genuinely rebellious voice.’
Joseph Christie, owner of the UK’s leading hip-hop label, Low Life Records, said he had detected a huge shift in his client base over the past decade. ‘It’s a good thing; everybody is making money. Ten years ago we were putting on gigs to only a handful of people and selling only 500 records at a time. Now we’re doing 10 times that.’
Artists such as Justin Timberlake are credited with helping make a credible transition from white to black youth culture.
Davidson said: ‘Timberlake was with this white nerdy boy band and now he’s working with The Neptunes, one of the most credible outfits around. Even the geeky boy in Leeds thinks he can now take his lead from black culture.’
Mampi Fat ugly woman
Cotch Sitting around at home