For the last three years, at least, Black Twitter has been drawing attention to the issues of critical importance to the African-American community, and having a bit of fun while poking at the irony of racism in our society.
No longer viewed as a group of social media watchdogs, Black Twitter’s backlashes offer valid criticisms and have had the power to galvanize support for change and apology. In 2015, Black Twitter solidified its presence as a group that has major influence that can wield significant power over the the public’s perception of race-related issues and force mainstream media to pay attention to those who are often marginalized or left out of the the discussion altogether.
Using hashtags, Black Twitter offers commentary that would seldom be seen in traditional media spaces, and acts as the social media version of a 24-hour Black news cycle. This year was a banner year for Black Twitter, with some of the most memorable hashtags that some say “broke the internet.”
Here is a list of 16 of those hashtags that helped to spark a continued conversation on race in America this year.
Still in full effect, Black Lives Matter remains the the quintessential civil rights movement of this millennium. While the other hashtags may wax and wane in their existence on Twitter, #BlackLivesMatter has been a mainstay for well over a year and is the most popular Black Twitter hashtag. Not only is it the most popular and most widely used, it has traversed into a movement for justice that extends beyond social media and will continue to be this generations “We Shall Overcome.”
This past June, former president of the Spokane, WA chapter of the NAACP, Rachel Dolezal, was outed as a white woman who had been passing as a Black woman for at least a decade and lied on her job application to the organization. Dolezal went so far as to alter her appearance and claim that a Black man, unknown to her family, was indeed her biological father. Dolezal was outed by her family. Black Twitter responded to the cultural appropriation through humor with the #AskRachel hashtag.