Black Twitter, the infamous corner of the internet in which Black people around the world come together to educate, drag and celebrate each other and those outside of the community. There is a classist idea that if you are not out on the front lines marching, you cannot be an activist. Black Twitter shuts that idea down completely. Activism is one of their driving forces. An abundance of hashtags and movements got their start on Twitter. For example, #BlackLivesMatter, one of the most well-known hashtags and social justice movements, was started by Alicia Garza, Patrisse Cullors and Opal Tometi on the site. On the Black Lives Matter official website, Garza writes,
“I created #BlackLivesMatter with Patrisse Cullors and Opal Tometi, two of my sisters, as a call to action for Black people after 17-year-old Trayvon Martin was post-humously placed on trial for his own murder and the killer, George Zimmerman, was not held accountable for the crime he committed. It was a response to the anti-black racism that permeates our society and also, unfortunately, our movements.”
Since then, they have fought for Philandro Castile, Alton Sterling, Tamir Rice and more. A new hashtag has been spread to shed more light on female victims of police brutality like Sandra Bland and Korryn Gaines: #SayHerName. The truth is, it is 2017. The world is now more connected than ever with other countries, states, cities all at our fingertips. Using social media, especially Twitter to spread messages is incredibly smart.
In addition to fighting police brutality and racism, Black Twitter sheds light to and fights anti-blackness that white supremacy pours into the minds of Black people. For example, there are many hashtags that fight colorism, the idea that light-skin Black people are better/more desirable than dark-skin Black people based on the fact that they are “closer” to White. Hashtags like #UnfairandLovely and #DarkisBeautiful invite women and men all over the internet to share their photos and embrace their skin.
Feminism is another large discussion. As I’ve written about before, mainstream feminism is often unkind to women of color. Black Twitter provides an outlet for those women, it offers them a space to fight for intersectionality and celebrate each other. As girls and women, especially in D.C, began going missing by the dozens per day, Black Twitter became their advocates using the hashtag #FindOurGirls. In one instance, Kennedi High, a missing girl from Baltimore, was found by members of Black Twitter. By finding her Snapchat, discovering more details about her, they were able to find out what happened to her and where she was.
Black Twitter literally found a girl. They are unafraid to expose the effect white supremacy has on society inside and out of the Black community. They are unafraid to ask questions and make moves in the face of every type of violence. They are unafraid to speak out and fight for justice.
Below is a video featuring prominent figures with the Black Twitter community, sharing tweets from the community after Michael Brown was killed, emphasizing how this community has banded together and become its own social justice movement.