Park Slope Anti-Rap-Club Petition Probably A Hoax, Definitely Unhelpful


Kudos to Capital New York for writing the most thorough piece yet on the great Prime 6/Yo! MTV Raps/Park Slope-is-racist controversy. You recall the online petition, circulated by one Jennifer McMillen, suggesting that Prime 6, a soon-to-be-opened club near the Atlantic Yards nexus, consider playing “indie” music instead of hip-hop, so as to become “a vibrant artistic hub instead of another Yo MTV Raps ‘bling-bling’ vip club.” Hilarious. The online mockery began immediately, even as everyone suspected this was performance art. As indeed Capital pretty much confirms it to be: Two weeks later and no one has heard from — heard of, really — any Jennifer McMillen, while Prime 6 proprietor Akiva Ofshtein never really even mentioned hip-hop in the first place. To wit:

But reporters looking for the movement behind the petition were soon frustrated. We could not find “Jennifer McMillen,” or any record of her belonging to any local or neighborhood group, or any prior record of her living in Brooklyn. (Neither could The Wall Street Journal.)

Nor could neighbors remember the name from any neighborhood activities or organizations, or help indentify or locate her. And yet, suddenly, this lawyer from Midwood [that’s Ofshtein], who had never envisioned a “hip hop club,” looked like the victim of rabid and rapidly institutionalizing racism in the swiftly-upward-moving (and increasingly white) area around Flatbush Avenue.

“The music thing is an aberration. That was never ever a concern of any of our neighbors,” said [Park Slope resident] Steve Ettlinger. “It’s a complete distraction. It’s a free-for-all and an indictment of the web.”

This was pretty much borne out by a community meeting we attended last week, where Prime 6 was pointedly discussed, but neither McMillen nor hip-hop in general came up much at all. At its core this is a loud-bar-in-the-neighborhood thing, exacerbated by Atlantic Yards-based ill will, where both sides have justifiable issues that viral Internet sensations won’t much help settle. So indicted, the Internet will now slink away to address other, more pressing issues. You’ve seen “Friday,” right?