Black Twitter is an awesome force. It has raised consciousness, caused people to lose jobs and, perhaps most famously, provided endless comic relief.
But even when levity is part of Black Twitter’s arsenal, it is often used to highlight certain aspects of serious topics. Black Twitter is a perfect example of the unique creativity and intelligence of Black culture. 2014 was another banner year for Black Twitter, and here are just a few of its shining moments.
Bill Cosby’s PR team made the disastrous decision to ask people to meme Cosby in the midst of over a dozen women stepping forward accusing the famed comedian of sexual assault. The result was a glorious sampling of responses that ranged from hilarious to cringe-worthy to thought-provoking or some combination of the three.
In the Spring of 2014, months before the death of Eric Garner, the NYPD asked Twitter to send in pictures of NYPD officers and members of the community using the hashtag #MyNYPD. Instead of a getting a slew of feel-good photo-ops, the boys in blue got pictures and videos of police brutality over the decades.
— NYPD NEWS (@NYPDnews) April 22, 2014
— DefendedInTheStreets (@KimaniFilm) April 22, 2014
Oh, Don. Don, Don, Don. CNN’s Don Lemon did not have a good year. Between numerous on-air flubs in Ferguson, a horribly conducted interview with one of Bill Cosby’s accusers and getting a couple “awards” for being one of the worst journalists of the year, Lemon found himself on the business end of Black Twitter’s 140-character reads. After suggesting to a woman that she should have bitten her alleged rapist’s penis during forced fellatio, Black Twitter went in with the #DonLemonReporting hashtag to highlight the absurdity of his victim-blaming.
If JFK didn't wanna get shot, what was he doing riding around in a convertible??#DonLemonReporting
— chilltowntv (@chilltowntv) November 19, 2014
Columbusing is basically cultural appropriation and the erasure of the people who started said cultural trend/tradition. Examples of this in media include the New York Times’ tone-deaf piece about women with big, curly hair, and though the piece mention the likes of celebrities such as Sarah Jessica Parker and Taylor Swift, Black people are wholly absent from the piece. Vogue’s piece on the “era of the big butt” gave all praise to Jennifer Lopez. Black Twitter has rightly taken numerous publications and corporations to task for taking stuff that’s not theirs and leaving us out.
— Phillip M. Bailey (@phillipmbailey) November 12, 2014
Black Twitter isn’t always about mocking or ridiculing, and #YouOKSis is a testament to that. Started by feminist activist Feminista Jones, the hashtag has been used to highlight the struggles of and find solutions for street harassment against women, specifically Black women. The hashtag has jumpstarted conversations, provided a safe space for women to share their stories and offered men a perspective about street harassment that they might not have heard otherwise.
How many of us spent the summer watching misogynoirist trolls say Black women/girls don't have the right to be left alone? #YouOkSis?
— Fiqah (@sassycrass) December 26, 2014
The deaths of Eric Garner, Michael Brown and Tamir Rice at the hands of police officers this year sparked a movement of live and online protests that is still going strong. Part of the online effort produced the #BlackLivesMatter hashtag that has been used to reveal the injustice and racism faced by African-Americans and to highlight the value of Black lives.
— jay smooth (@jsmooth995) December 26, 2014
What are some of your favorite Black Twitter moments?
Follow Demetria Irwin on Twitter @Love_Is_Dope and connect with her on Facebook.