On this unicorn day of the shortest month of the year, I’d like to pay homage to an entity that has kept me grounded, alert, entertained, and most of all connected. Let me start off by explaining – I am not a social media participator, but a social media appreciator. I cannot recall contributing to this movement in any way, but (my feeble excuse is that) I simply cannot squeeze my thoughts into 140 characters. Instead, this 140+ word blog post will have to suffice. Black Twitter this is to you. All of the creators, writers, advocators, entertainers, bloggers, millennials, reporters, POC, contributors, gif makers, photoshop masterminds, to all of you I say thank you. You created a movement that is far from being over and I am forever grateful.
Despite getting the standard history lesson in school during my adolescence on icons like Rosa Parks, MLK or W.E.B DuBois during this time of year, I would’ve never noticed it was Black History Month had it not been for Black Twitter and my changing Snapchat filters. I remember there were times in school I’d say a quick prayer thanking God I was born in 1990 and not anytime prior whenever I opened a history book. I just know I’d never have the strength or mental capacity to live the lives many people before me had to endure. Thank you Black Twitter for exposing me to Virginia McLaurin. Her energy is infectious and humbling. I can only imagine the America she experienced and the nation before Negro History Week existed or schools were desegregated or the thought of a black president was a crude joke rather than a possibility.
Since I’m not on the Beyhive email list, you exposed me to #FORMATION… along with the endless satirical ‘journalism’ and controversy surrounding it. I have no idea if a tight black leotard that slayed across the grass of a football field will eventually spur a riot. I just know that in this case the revolution was televised and people (especially the police for some odd reason) got their feelings hurt. For a person who so rarely uses her platform on political issues to get this much heat, you have to wonder if there’s more truth than comedy when the world finally realized Beyoncé is black. I also can’t err to mention Kendrick Lamar’s Grammy performance. Music has given us a 1-2 punch on #StayingWoke this month.
Since I’m on the west coast, I hate that I can no longer live Twatch TV when things are first aired on the east coast. I don’t want to see your tweets when Wheel of Fortune is on over here and by the time I can see what you’ve already watched, you’re tucked away in bed and your tweets have grown slightly stale, but I still enjoyed them anyway. This was the case in Black-ish’s episode ‘Hope’. This modern Huxtable family found a way to explain pretty much the entire spectrum of Black views on recent police brutality issues. From Anthony’s monologue about Obama’s first day in office describing every black person’s fear to Yara’s accurate portrayal of every confused millennial, the Black-ish writers did what no one thought possible – cover such a controversial topic with poise and substance. This episode stretched the actors and our perception of the generational differences black people have on their version of America. We can only hope that these views converge for the better over time because if we can’t strive towards this simple ideal it means that things aren’t changing and the struggle will forever be real.
Until recent years, I’d been a little ignorant of appropriation. From twerking to big butts and lips to exotic nails to extensions, many an unsung black woman will forever be at the forefront of these profitable trends – seeing no dollars of course. At some point in time a non-Black saw something, decided to ‘make it better’ and ‘created’ a market overnight. It’s no secret that white and black music artists have sampled from each other over the years, but recently Black Twitter couldn’t take it anymore. #TrapCovers is a stand against all the watered down coffee shop hip-hop songs that we know and love. Work should never be sung accoustically with a guitar. Neither should Formation, Hot in Herre or Watch Me (Whip/Nae Nae) – but I can’t lie, My Neck, My Back is kinda fun! Anywho, creative Black innovators instead made trap versions of Hello, You Belong With Me, A Thousand Miles, Hey Jude, Baby One More Time, the Star Spangled Banner and more! Thank you, thank you for these gems Black Twitter. Even though some people never understood the point of the hashtag was to make them mad for forcing you to create the hashtag, I respect the hustle as I patiently await for full versions of some of these songs.
Not sure of the chicken or the egg in this scenario… The @ObamaAndKids Twitter account or the #ObamaAndKids hashtag. Either way as you scroll the tweets of both of these pages you begin to see just how much of an impact and influence one man can have and is having on the next generation. Sure, if you’ve been exposed to the harshness of the world you can articulate your views on why you love/hate this man. However, for those who are still innocent and only old enough to like/dislike someone based on demeanor, appearance and first impressions – Obama has clearly left a strong impression on these kids and you can tell in the images that the feeling is mutual. Thank you BT and thank you @MichaelSkolnik for leading me to this gem during this amazing man’s victory lap.
I know I didn’t cover every monumental Black themed trending topic that occurred this month (as a few are: #OscarsSoWhite, #BlackFutureMonth, #BlackPanthersPBS, #BlackHistoryMonth/#BHM), but I just wanted to briefly show my appreciate to you, Black Twitter, on how you’ve kept me aware and entertained this month. Long before a headline on injustice finally hits my phone – you’ve been there. Long before I can put words to my swirling feelings on arising issues, you’ve given me 87+ I can cherry pick and retweet that are more eloquent than anything I would’ve thought to tweet. This Black History Month (and every month really), you’ve continued to open my eyes and shatter the myth that our generation can’t stand together like generations of yore. History books document what was; however, (Black) Twitter cleverly documents what has been, is, and will be. Thank you, thank you for the laughs, the thought-provoking one-liners, the news before they became articles, the wisdom, the silliness, the heartache. Thank you for opening my eyes and thank you for making me realize that while we’ve come a long way, we’ve still got a little while more to go.
Until next time, Black Twitter.
Song of the Day: The Revolution Will Not Be Televised