Jamaican, prove thyself

Despite lack of interest, the scene demands tribute

Ras Trent and Brandi skank in the beachgrass
  • Ras Trent and Brandi skank in the beachgrass

Dear Hipster:

I have recently moved to San Diego and have immediately noticed a general affinity for reggae music. It seems that everywhere I go, hipsters are wearing the T-shirts, the beads, playing the music in the stores and driving to the beat. Of course there’s also the “creative swirl of smoke” in the atmosphere, too! My question is, how comes the hipsters don’t even give me eye contact? I’m a Jamaican! Feeling a little left out...

— Christine (A Jamaican in North Park)

Hipster reggae knowledge chart

Hipster reggae knowledge chart

Hipsters can be a lot like cats; that is to say, fickle with their loyalties, so you have to let them come to you.

True, your Jamaican nationality brings you instant cultural cachet, but that’s not enough to guarantee a warm welcome in the local hipsters’ social circles. You still have to make friends “the old fashioned way,” by which I mean going to openings at local art galleries, attending cupping seminars at your local independent roaster (great chance to slip in an anecdote about the actual Blue Mountains of Jamaica, provided you have climbed them), attending local concerts (reggae or otherwise), or socializing as you normally would.

Our local variety of hipster is perhaps extra wary of newcomers because of the high turnover rate among local scenesters. Like a lone wolf trying to join the pack, a new citizen like yourself has to show persistence, perhaps even offering the metaphorical equivalent of a freshly killed rabbit (perhaps you could promote a dancehall night at a local club?) in order to gain group acceptance.

Whether hipsters are more like cats or wolves remains up for debate.

Interestingly, reggae music is one of the rare genres about which hipsters aren’t driven to accumulate vast reserves of esoteric knowledge. Hipster science has tried to analyze this problem, but to no avail. In all fairness, hipster science didn’t try very hard because Morrissey was in town that weekend.

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