New York

Riff Raff Kills Whitie

by

YOU’RE IN A PLACE WHERE THE NIGHTS ARE HOT


“This one goes out to all the lovers”

Kill Whitie
Savalas, Williamsburg
August 31, 2005

Intro

Enough of you jokers armchairing your “I don’t know the guy, but man oh man this irony party stuff racism blacks Brooklyn privilege dancing fagbags” bullshit from afar. What you are about to read, if you so choose, is an account of a real Kill Whitie party, in Williamsburg, that happened a few days after the Washington Post published that piece about Jeremy Parker’s “all-white parody of black culture” extravaganza. This is not some on the corner shit–I am not a journalist, not Common–just some straight-up cheetah-by-the-riffhorns, a moment-by-moment account of Riff Raff actually killing the whiteness inside.


First:

An Interview with Jeremy Parker a/k/a Tha Pumpsta, and Shannon Funchess a/k/a Sha Na Na Na, two founders of Kill Whitie

RR: Shannon, why were you not mentioned in the Post article?

SF: I didn’t fit into the view of an all-white parody of black culture, I guess.

JP: And I quote the Post, “all-white parody of black culture,” all-white, when Shannon was clearly interviewed with myself in the same setting.

[Shannon is a black woman.]


Whitie, not Whitey

Parker explains, he initially misspelled the word, but by the time he realized the mistake he had printed up flyers for the first party and silk-screened a bunch of t-shirts with KILL WHITIE. So it stayed IE.


In a Riff Raff Universe

When I walk through the doors of Savalas, I see a bunch of black dudes wearing skinny ties, playing air guitar to the Strokes. Behind the boards? Dizzy fucking Gillespie, wearing a hockey helmet.


In the Actual Universe

Riff Raff gets a headstart on killing the whiteness, and promptly orders six Stolis. While this magical potion eats away the melanin, an Asian dude gets up on the side of the bar and starts doing the dance when you open your legs and close them and open them again. The bartender sorta digs this and says, “That’s it!” to nobody in particular, but if I had to guess she was probably talking to the Asian guy. She jumps up on the bar with him, and starts pushing her bottom into his crotch at a rapid pace, with motions so expert, so on point and well-rehearsed, the crowd watching the two weren’t turned on so much as mesmerized. This wasn’t black vs. white, white on black, irony or parody or even prosody; it was young vs. old, sex vs. sex, something else at least. Dancing?

Ten minutes later she jumps off the bar and starts serving drinks again, mouthing along with every ad lib and chorus. I recognized “Pump That Pussy,” “My Chrome,” “Stay High,” “Bombs over Baghdad,” a few others; she knows every song.


RR: Do you like rap and booty bass ironically?

JP: No, not at all. That’s all I know. I grew up in Atlanta, in suburban Georgia, where that music was marketed to me. That’s all the music I know.

SF: It’s what I listen to, it’s what I dance to, it’s what I like to spin as a DJ.

RR: What about the people going to the party?

JP: Honestly, the core people who have been coming to Kill Whitie have been coming for four years. I’ve known a lot them from Atlanta, that’s just the music they listen to. It’s about dancing and it’s a very sincere thing. People come to Kill Whitie ready to dance, and they’re so amazed at how many people are actually dancing in a city where nobody dances, where you can’t dance.

SF: We’ve had people’s mothers at our parties shaking their asses.

JP: We have had no problems, 100% support from everyone involved–hipsters to local people, neighborhood kids, yound, old, ugly, cute as hell, fat, skinny.


Original Hipsters

From Wikipedia:

“In the purest sense, the original hipsters were the hip, mostly black performers of jazz and swing music in the 1940s and 1950s, at a time when “hip” music was equated with African-American-originated forms of musical expression.

Although hipsters could be black or white, the term later and more predominantly came to be used to refer to whites who were aficionados of the music, groupies and members of the so-called Bohemian set, or Beat Generation. Because the jazz scene had long been integrated, hipster culture, too, became integrated before much of the rest of society. The use of the term “hipster” for whites who had an affinity for the avant-garde and for African-American culture was popularized in Norman Mailer’s 1956 book The White Negro: Superficial Reflections on the Hipster. Hipsters sometimes were referred to as beatniks, a combination of “beat” and “nik,” a Yiddish suffix meaning “person.”

From Something I’ll Have to Hunt Down, Can’t Find it Right Now for Some Reason:

A hipster is someone who abuses subculture, cashing in on its social currency (i.e. what it means to be associated with that subculture) without properly engaging or even taking an interest in the subculture per se

Or, maybe:

A hipster is someone who bullshits his life– no interests, just interests in interests–empty gestures, namedrops, function follows form, talking loud, saying nothing


Mohawks, Fauxhawks

Don’t know what Garcia saw, but I saw no bling, no jesus pieces, and the only fauxhawk I saw was totally a mohawk, and the dude was black too. As for the white girls dressing up like black women, apparently another thing Garcia saw, I can only assume she was talking about those two girls with tight, curly hair I see at pretty much every party around Williamsburg. We all go to the same gym, actually–no tease, that’s totally their real hair.


RR: So this is a dance party. Why all the rhetoric, all the things you said about irony?

JP: If there was any mention of irony, it was the fact that I’m a white person throwing a party called Kill Whitie. I mean, that’s ironic. That’s all I was getting at. We had no strong intentions, no manifesto, no blatant manifesto. It was a dance party. In a culture when I grow up and I listen to hip-hop music because it’s mass-marketed and it’s on every radio station, is that a conscious appropriation of black culture?


Alanis Morissette

Her song “Ironic” includes this example: “It’s like rain on your wedding day.” Which is not ironic, just coincidental. Which, if you think about it, is ironic.


RR: So ‘Kill Whitie’ is just a catchy, mildly offensive name?

JP: Whitie means to me Establishment, the Man–the fucking city that doesn’t let you dance is Whitie to me. Inhibitions, that’s Whitie. Kill those. That’s a very clear message that people get when people come.

SF: We’re like, what do we call it? Kill Whitie.

The waiter interrupts. “Did you guys want sparkling water, or Sparks?

RR: Let’s pull back from race and talk women. As a woman, how do you feel about putting women clapping their butts on posters?

SF: If you’re asking me, Do I feel like I’m subjugating myself or exploiting women–it’s about time we did ourselves instead of having other people do it to us.


Hmm…

Hmm.


Put Differently

Nick Barat a/k/a DJ Catchdubs, New York DJ, poster and cover artist, and editor at The Fader:

“Mainstream club rap imagery is really over-the-top to begin with. If you play club music, women in bikinis, stuff like that–that’s the iconography.”


“Planet Rock”

It came on, somewhat pointedly, after a DJ Sha Na Na Na rant about the recent proceedings and some “Kill Whitie, now more than ever” rhetoric that earned a “Shannon, shut the fuck up!” from the bar. I’m hesitant to bust some shit here–especially since the “Zih zih zih” line gave us Clipse’s “Zen”, and that’s the best song of the year–but all’s to say: Can we really speak of hip-hop, at least the construction of the music, as a strictly black thing, when one of its groundbreaking works samples white culture in the form of Kraftwerk? Would it be more prudent to discuss this in terms of young vs. old, creative commons, the accidental morality of sampling, and proceed from there?


Parthian Shots

JP: This just proves that racism is alive and well and kicking in America. And the only thing that we’re trying to fucking do is address those issues by bringing people together and making them dance.

SF: It’s ridiculous that people don’t have anything better to do than to sit on the computer and blog Kill Whitie.

RR: …


Ideas

First they insist it’s just a party, then they talk about how they’re addressing “those issues.” Ugh. Listen, when people are forced to understand the mechanics of what they do–a thing journalists ask of their subjects–people often say really stupid, pseudo-philosophical stuff, the implications of which they don’t really understand. Maybe I’m being generous here, but I think that’s what happened with Kill Whitie, and that bums me out. So many awesome, truly unconflicted things about Parker and Funchess’s party–the biggest being, it’s fun! how about that?–now in trouble because their hosts start having ideas about them.

Parker got griff’d–jeez, same publication and everything. Take away the offensive name though and this is just another dance party in a city filled with plenty of good and cheap ones if you look for them. Parker and Funchess can throw down, and Kill Whitie is as diverse of a party as I’ve been to, by no means exclusively white, or exclusively young, straight, or gay. Like at Hollertronix, people come to dance, maybe hook up; nobody comes to laugh, and nobody seems remotely uncomfortable listening to hip-hop on the loud. Why should they? At least everyone under 26 has experienced rap not as an exclusively black thing, but as a pop thing–and for the last few years, as the most popular pop thing.

The Moral: Riff Raff Kills Whitie

I’m two-stepping off “Violator” when DJ Sha Na Na Na Na pins me against the wall with a three-minute krump, not backing off until I krump back. “Are you having a good time?” she asks. I’m too busy krumping. “Listen, let me introduce you to CocoRosie.”

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