ARE THERE SIDE EFFECTS TO THE MOVEMENT BECOMING “TRENDY”?
Right now, Black Americans are facing multiple pandemics such as COVID-19 and police brutality. After the death of Breonna Taylor, George Floyd, and Ahmaud Arbery, many Americans were posting #BlackLivesMatter to spread awareness. CNN US reported: “People are tweeting about Black Lives Matter now more than at any point in the movement’s history.” In evidence, Pew Research Center claimed after George Floyd’s death, #BlackLivesMatter has been used about 47.8 million times on Twitter. Since Black Lives Matter is trendy now, what are the side effects?
In 2013, #BlackLivesMatter started by three black women, Alicia Garza, Opal Tometi, and Patrisse Cullors as “response to the acquittal of Trayvon Martin’s murderer.” In the section heading What We Believe, Black Lives Matter stated: “In the years since, we’ve committed to struggling together and to imagining and creating a world free of anti-Blackness, where every Black person has the social, economic, and political power to thrive.”
Additionally, a positive side effect of #BlackLivesMatter is bringing exposure to the unfairness that Black people face daily because of social media. For example, the eight minutes 46 seconds video killing of George Floyd on Sky News. Omar Wasow, an Assistant Professor in the Department of Politics at Princeton University, with a Ph.D. in African American Studies, a master’s in government, and Statistics from Harvard University. Wasow said, “Part of what social media does is allow us to see a reality that has been entirely visible to some people and invisible to others.” Since those injustices are becoming visible, people outside the Black community can’t ignore the racial injustices anymore. Gladly we won’t have to fight it alone.
After seven years we reach a place where many of us feel comfortable to say, “Black Lives Matter.” Furthermore, a negative side effect of #BlackLivesMatter is people using the movement to stay on-trend. Companies are saying ‘Black Lives Matter’ because they feel like they are obligated to; otherwise, they will lose money. USA Today shared a story titled ” ‘Boycott for Black Lives’: People plan to stop spending at companies that don’t support BLM.” For that reason, many companies whose action does not match the Black Lives Matter movement will falsely market to customers because it is beneficial to them. For example, L’Oréal on Instagram saying, “speaking out is worth it,” which was called out by Munroe Bergdorf, who is a black transgender model fired by the company after she spoke out against racism and white supremacy.
Black Lives Matter is more than just a trend. The purpose of the movement is to create a world free from anti-Blackness. Stop using the movement to publicize a diverse image for ulterior motives because Black people will keep on being black even when the trend is gone while you will move on to the next fad.