Jenifer Lewis fights against COVID-19 misinformation

The black-ish costar partnered with Truth Check to combat vaccine misinformation online

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Award-winning actress, activist and black-ish star Jenifer Lewis is tired of the misinformation being directed toward the Black community. “The African-American community is being targeted,” Lewis told theGrio. “And it’s more important than ever that we know how to differentiate what’s fake from what’s fact.”

Photo: Courtesy of The Center for Black Health & Equity

To combat this targeted misinformation, Lewis has joined forces with Truth Check, an initiative led by The Center for Black Health & Equity, to provide African Americans with social media literacy training in hopes of helping users bring their fact-checking skills to determine the accuracy of information they receive about the COVID-19 vaccines.

On its website, Truth Check offers a 20-minute training that enables users to quickly identify misleading information. Lewis said the training is vital, given how sophisticated misinformation campaigns have become. “There are a lot of things out there that can confuse you. What this site did for me is helped to clarify them.”

As African-Americans continue to be disproportionately impacted by COVID-19, Lewis believes Truth Check’s training is a matter of life and death. “The lies affect our health and is affecting our overall quality of life,” she said. “We’ve got to take the time to go past the headline and simply ‘liking’ everything and actually doing our research.”

According to Truth Check, the average person spends two hours on social media each day. Even in such a short amount of time, we can be inundated with “conspiracy theories, odd news stories and headlines” that give the appearance of facts and accuracy. However, Lewis says a commitment to oneself and their community is necessary to push beyond the fake news. “What I want in my life is the truth. I don’t want to be fed lies and I don’t want my community to be fed lies.”

It was a genuine love for our community that led Lewis to join forces with Truth Check. “The bottom is I care. It’s as simple as that. I care about the next generation.” Lewis also noted how widespread misinformation robs us of hope and accountability to each other. “We need to be more patient and kinder during this time. People are mourning. This is still happening. This is still in front of us.”

TheTruthCheck.org is made possible by a $2.5 million grant from the CDC Foundation. In addition to the online social media literacy training, the site also provides COVID-19 fact sheets, quizzes and live chats. Lewis noted going through the training with loved ones and following up with necessary conversations about what they’re reading is important. “If COVID-19 didn’t teach us anything, it taught us that, if one of us is sick, then all of us are sick. We have to be willing to do our part and it starts with wanting the truth and then walking in the truth.”


Candice Marie Benbow is theGrio’s daily lifestyle, education and health writer. She’s also the author of Red Lip Theology: For Church Girls Who’ve Considered Tithing to the Beauty Supply Store When Sunday Morning Isn’t Enough. Find her on Twitter and Instagram @candicebenbow.

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