In the clip above, you can see an example of how Black Twitter comes together and makes fantastic commentary through live-tweeting. Although this is a fictional date, this type of live tweeting through memes, “roasts”, and other kinds of commentary is common to see happening on Twitter (usually led by Black Twitter) for awards shows, sporting events, or any other live broadcast of some sort. In my opinion, this commentary makes the live event so much better and more entertaining. Like when I saw Kevin Durant hit that go-ahead clutch three in Lebron’s face during the NBA finals or when I saw Nicki Minaj come at Miley Cyrus at the 2015 VMA’s, the first thing I did was pull out my phone and see what people were saying about it and what kind of memes have already been made.
As Gail discusses in her lecture, Florini’s main point in her essay “Tweets, Tweeps, and Signifyin’: Communication and Cultural Performance on ‘Black Twitter'” is that “many African American users, who could avoid being identified being identified as racial minorities on a social network like twitter, choose to mark themselves as raced individuals, and to engage in a communicative practice, signifyin’, that has traditionally served to create and strengthen a sense of racial identity.” Florini describes “signifyin’” on Black Twitter, as allowing “black users not only to reject color blindness by actively performing their racial identities, but also to connect with other black users to create and reify a social space for their blackness” (Gail Lecture). What this means to me is that Black Twitter is a place where black users can come together and celebrate their culture. It is the opposite of a place where they have to hide their blackness, like they may unfortunately have to do in some places in society where they aren’t accepted for who they are.
The thing I love the most about Black Twitter though, is that for the most part it is a playful, entertaining environment which is why Black Twitter consistently generates trending hashtags. As stated by Sanjay Sharma, “Black Twitter’s hashtags can be contagious because, they are effectively memes.” It gets everyone involved in these original, creative hashtags that aren’t always limited to Black culture. Which leads me to another great part of Black Twitter, “roasts.” Florini describes “roasts” as “disses” but I feel like the word “diss” has a more negative connotation while a “roast” is completely playful and not meant to be taken personal. These collective roasts bring users together, most times at a friend or a celebrity’s expense, and at the end of the day it is all just jokes.
Here is a clip of DCYoungFly Roasting SouljaBoy after SouljaBoy’s alleged beef with Migos (Trigger Warning: Excessive Language):
DC YoungFly’s (hilarious) roast poked fun at a previously hostile situation and eased the tension, reminding everyone that it’s not that serious.
Can you think of another ethnicity that comes together like Black Twitter on Twitter or another social media platform?
Do you think Black Twitter will have a positive or negative impact on the Black Community in the long run?
Have you ever fell victim to a “roast”, and how did you take it?
Although these “roasts” are meant to just be fun and games, do you think they can be harmful to society as a whole if people take it the wrong way?
Thank you for reading 🙂 Comments, questions, and feedback are appreciated!
Sarah Florini, “Tweets, Tweeps, and Signifyin’: Communication and Cultural Performance on ‘Black Twitter’
Sanjay Sharma, “Black Twitter?: Racial Hashtags, Networks and Contagion”