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Deejay's Appeal: 'Kill The Whiteness Inside'
Booty bass is a product of the Miami hip-hop scene that fused throbbing bass with up-tempo dance beats. It was made popular in the 1980s by acts such as 2 Live Crew and 69 Boyz. These days white hipsters embrace the genre, along with many trends of that era, in a city where that strain of hip-hop is considered a foreign creation.
The dance floor at the Williamsburg club is a pastiche of all that was hip and cool in the past 20 years, including faux hawks (mohawks with a buzz on each side), jelly shoes and short shorts. A few young women have permed-out hair and blue eye shadow a la Pat Benatar and vintage clothes a la "Sixteen Candles." As for the tights and boots combos? Think Madonna version 1.0.
Bianca Casady, a multiply-pierced woman with a scalp divided between long dark hair and a buzz cut, grabs her female friend by the hips and shakes her like a blender. She steps outside, catches some fresh air and talks about the party.
"It's about being nasty, people come to grind on each other," said Casady, 23. "It's like friends being sexual with each other."
Casady was raised in Santa Barbara, Calif., but quickly notes her worldliness by listing the cities where she has lived along the trail to Brooklyn. A regular Kill Whitie partygoer, she tried the conventional (that is, non-hipster) hip-hop clubs but found the men "really hard-core." In this vastly whiter scene, Casady said that "it's a safe environment to be freaky."
Tha Pumpsta also moved here from somewhere else -- Cobb County, Ga. He said he admired Martin Luther King Jr. and, at age 15, decided to promote racial understanding by printing T-shirts with black and white interlocking fingers. He keeps one of the shirts stuffed in his closet.
Booty bass entered his life in a big way when he wandered into Freaknik, the annual spring break blowout for thousands of African American students. He came to see himself as part of post-racial Generation Y, for whom whiteness was an outmoded, oppressive idea.
In his hipster world, the credo is to use irony to make light of anything "sacred."
So Tha Pumpsta started throwing Kill Whitie parties about four years ago, piggybacking on the hipster colonization of a swath of the Williamsburg neighborhood on the border between the Hasidic Jewish and Puerto Rican neighborhoods. There's nothing subtle about his advertising.
His street fliers come emblazoned with the words "Kill Whitie" across a woman's backside. Another flier offers free admission to anyone with a bucket of fried chicken.
For Veronica Green, who is white, the irony thing just doesn't cut it. She stood outside the club dressed in a flowing orange and yellow summer dress puffing on cigarettes.
"You wouldn't see this in Atlantic City," Green said, scowling at a white crew of hip-hop poseurs. "You have a lot of black bars and white bars and a lot of diversity. Here, it's white kids dancing to hip-hop."
Step back inside the club, and the pace ramps down from an amphetamine-like rate as Tha Pumpsta spins some old school hip-hop and latter-day classics. The dance floor eases into the rap of Brooklyn-born rapper Notorious B.I.G.
So what's the point of all these white hipster kids trying to imitate black hip-hop?
Direct this question to Mark Grubstein, a 36-year-old artist, and he says the Kill Whitie parties speak to something inside of him. "I make art about that, that's my life," he said. "It's based on the idea that things that are funny are the deepest."
"If you don't see it's funny," he said, "I can't help you."