Its a Black Twitter Thang! Pt. 3
Originally published on Wired.com
A People’s History of Black Twitter, Part III
Getting Through, 2016–Present
By the end of the Obama era, Black Twitter seemed like a fully realized world, with its own codes and customs. As it reached new levels of visibility and influence, though, deep-rooted problems began to reassert themselves. Users were hardly surprised.
Sarah J. Jackson, coauthor of #Hashtag Activism: Networks of Race and Gender Justice: When we first got on Twitter, we weren’t worried about people pretending to be Black. We took people for their word. They were who they were.
Judnick Mayard, TV writer and producer: Now y’all over here tryna copy. Everything is a copy of Black Twitter. Every trend, every conversation. Humor. The idea of audacity. Y’all was never as audacious as Black Twitter.
Sylvia Obell, host of the podcast Okay, Now Listen: It starts with us, and then Black culture gets taken everywhere. We can always trace it back to a tweet or a joke or meme or whatever else, because we have that evidence.
Mayard: From the Kardashian body down to the idioms used in ads.
CaShawn Thompson, educator: I think, quite frankly, there is a healthy amount of gatekeeping that we ain’t doing. We let these white folks come at us any old kind of way. Nah. Check them. Stay out of our business.
Brandon Jenkins, TV and podcast host: Black Twitter made a real-time encyclopedia, like an IV plugged into our system. It also created a visibility on Black culture that people never had before. There’s benefits to it, but we never thought about what it would actually mean to be seen.
The election of Donald Trump to the presidency of the United States—and the politics of division he represented—did not shock a great many Black Americans. Still, we reeled, and often turned to Twitter for respite.
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