If you look far enough into a Bougie Black Person’s (BBP) past, youâ€™ll likely see that they went through a longer than expected period of time where they seriously entertained being an artist. The art itself varies—youâ€™re likely to find connections to anything from guitar playing to graffiti curation—but six particular forms of art seem to be more popular than the rest: writing, rapping, singing, dancing, clothing designing, and producing music.
(Why writing, rapping, singing, dancing, designing clothes, and producing music? Well, theyâ€™re all art forms with regular Black people roots. And, as we all know, few things matter more to BBP than keeping their regular Black people roots.)
If you need proof, the next time you happen across a group of BBP having dinner at a Thai restaurant, ask each of them if they seriously thought they could be a full-time writer, rapper, singer, dancer, designer, or music producer if they put their time into it. Thereâ€™s a 90% chance that at least 80% of them will say â€œYes.â€ And, this â€œYesâ€ will be said without any hints of irony. â€œBut,â€ theyâ€™ll follow with, attempting to explain why they never cultivated this particular talent â€œI have student loans. I canâ€™t just drop everything and start singing full-time.â€
But, while FAFSA and Sallie Mae are conspiring to keep the BBPs from winning Pulitzers and scoring multi-million dollar record contracts, this kindred connection to art is expressed in other ways, and the most common way is to search for and attend free events featuring artists whose art exhibits that theyâ€™re invested in the true essence of art. And, â€œartists whose art exhibits that theyâ€™re invested in the true essence of artâ€ usually means â€œbroke artists.â€
These events are usually found at gallery crawls, community theaters, and the type of bohemian bookstores and nightclubs popularized in Love Jones and romanticized whenever Bougie Black girls fantasize about possibly meeting Frank Ocean or that guy who played Cutty on â€œThe Wire.â€ To an outsider, it may be difficult to distinguish between BBP and Bipsters (Black hipsters) in a setting like this. After all, uber-fashionable Black people do tend to look alike, even to other Black people. But, since BBPs usually have corporate occupations, they tend to have less prominent facial hair and less visible tattoos than their bipster brethren. If still not clear, sit next to the bar. For obvious reasons, BBP also tend to have more disposable income than the bipsters, and theyâ€™re subsequently more likely to order wine and drinks with complex instructions than beer or any well alcohol.
Ironically, these free events tend to feature artists who definitely need money. Perhaps theyâ€™re not starving, but foundation grant money and Indiegogo only goes so far. Also ironic is the fact that BBP, whoâ€™d think nothing of dropping $120 for some nosebleeds at a Kanye West concert, wouldnâ€™t think of attending these events if they werenâ€™t free. Yet, what seems like it should be a paradox has practical purposes behind it.
1. BBPs feel a little guilty for being BBPs. Not guilty enough that theyâ€™d revert back to being regular Black, but guilty enough that they feel compelled to continually remind themselves, other BBP, and regular Black people that they still have regular Black people roots. Attending and consuming something thatâ€™s free of commercialization (and, usually, just free altogether) is an easy way to do this, serving the dual purpose of showing that theyâ€™re not too pretentious to still frequent venues that feature this type of art while also exhibiting that their tastes are both refined and grounded enough to appreciate it.
2. BBPs love free shit. If fact, you can argue that BBP enjoy figuring out ways not to spend money more than they enjoy making it.
(Ironically, this—the love of free shit—connects them to regular Black people more than any free concert would.)
3. There is no quicker way to impress a Bougie Black girl you may be interested in than taking her on a first date where a free event featuring artists who definitely need your money is somehow involved. Doing this would show her that youâ€™re appropriately resourceful, appropriately cultured, and appropriately bougie enough for her to continue to scour Facebook for any sign that you might not be single.
If you happen to know a BBP and you also happen to attend one of these events with them, donâ€™t be surprised if immediately following said event, they start talking about things like â€œfinding creative outletsâ€ and â€œsoul nurturingâ€ and â€œhating White people.â€ In the coming weeks, you may notice them growing their beards out a bit or â€œgoing natural.â€ They may even start a blog, or email you some tracks they laid a couple days ago after finding a studio time discount on Groupon.
If, no, when this happens, listen to their conversations about all the ideas they wish they had to the time to pursue, read their first five or so blog entries (and donâ€™t say anything when the blog goes five months without an update), and listen to their tracks.
But, as a friend, when finished doing all of this, itâ€™s also your duty to matter-of-factly drop a line about your 401k or how â€œSallie Mae is kicking your assâ€ during a conversation. This will likely snap the BBP back to reality and remind him that attending free events featuring artists who definitely need you money is better than being one of them.
—Damon Young (aka “The Champ”)