Hey Ron!

Hey Ron! - Who Wants to Be a Punk?

By Ron Hemphill

It's probably safe to say that I come from a different background than most of you. I grew up in the projects on 100th between Park and Madison. In my neighborhood, a punk was someone who couldn’t fight or didn’t do dangerous things like the rest of us. Things like putting chalk in a sock and hitting people with it on Halloween. Historically, a punk is someone who takes it up the butt in prison, so I think it’s strange that a lot of white kids use that term in a positive way.

I don’t have any punks in my circle of friends, but working at VICE I’ve had to embrace a lot of different types of people. I don’t know that I’ll ever understand punks, though. I don’t like the music, I don’t get the lifestyle, and I don’t dig the dress code. When I was growing up, I thought these kids were rebelling against their parents because they had nothing else to do with their lives. I always figured once they realized being a punk doesn’t earn you a living they would slink back to their rich parents’ houses.

In my neighborhood, being known as a punk was the last thing you wanted. If somebody introduced you like, “Oh he’s a punk, you ain’t gotta worry about him,” you’d know that guy was a chump. In my experience, most black people do not consider being a punk a good thing.

Then again, you’ve got bands like Bad Brains, but I don’t know how many black people go to their concerts. I would imagine it’s a very small number compared to the black turnout at R&B and hip-hop concerts.

I’ve even heard some people call Prince a punk. I don’t know if that’s true, but I do know that if he wasn’t rich enough to pay for PC he’d get punked in jail, that’s for sure. For those of you who haven’t been to jail, PC is protective custody. For those of you who already knew what PC is, check your back pockets, because you might be leaking. You know what that means? It means you’ve been punked.

RON HEMPHILL

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