To celebrate Black History Month, MediaJustice is back with another season of “That’s So Black,” a limited series explaining how everything you know and love about the Internet came from Black people. After all, pop culture is just expired Black culture and social media blurs the lines between the Internet and real life.
- February 7: ‘90s Nostalgia breaks down how Black people created the ’90s aesthetic that people are still wearing IRL and sharing online more than 30 years later.
- February 14: Phonk Music reveals how Black artists created the music behind the most popular sounds across TikTok and Spotify.
- February 21: Gaming explores how Black video game creators made it possible to build the worlds of tomorrow and find our people online through our inventions.
- February 28: Reality TV lays out how Black women are carrying reality TV and shaping Internet discourse with our favorite GIFS.
From how we communicate with one another to how we build community, Black folks continue to be the blueprint for the rest of society. What was once underground is now mainstream and the perfect product for the attention economy.
Since its inception, the Internet (particularly social media) has created environments where Black people can produce our own content, broadcast happenings (that mainstream media outlets choose to neglect and ignore), and convene together to discuss everything from police abolition to our favorite series finales.
Despite all the liberatory possibilities of media, white supremacy, and capitalism continue to extract from our communities. The Internet is yet another site for corporations to profit from our culture while exploiting and dehumanizing our people. The cultural appropriation of AAVE and surveillance and theft of ideas from Black creatives only begins to scratch the surface of the continued violence and commodification we endure online.
Black people, particularly those who are queer, disabled, undocumented, and marginalized, turn to the Internet to share our histories, experiences, and legacies of our people across the diaspora while navigating the tension between the Internet as a tool for connection & liberatory organizing and consistently having to contend with the many risks and pitfalls of relying on white supremacist and capitalist media platforms.
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