The #BlackLivesMatter movement has become so widespread and prominent that it has given new life to a much older controversial slogan, “I met God, she’s Black.”
In the midst of Black Twitter making #BlackLivesMatter a consistently trending topic, the online sub community has created a renewed buzz around a collection of t-shirts that are emblazoned with their own viral message.
For most social media users, particularly ones who frequent sites like Tumblr or Reddit, the phrase “I met God, she’s Black” is anything but new.
It has been circulating the web for quite some time, whether it was just resting inside a pair of quotation marks or turned into a bold, eye-catching graphic.
It was more recently that the phrase made its way on to a t-shirt line launched by Dylan Chenfeld, a self-described Jewish atheist.
Chenfeld has also slapped posters with the phrase all over Manhattan in the past few days.
For people who aren’t familiar with the phrase’s humble beginnings on social media, the shirts have also been sported by Drake, one of today’s most successful hip hop artists, and Cara Delevingne, the latest “it-girl” in the world of modeling and best buddy to stars like Rihanna, Michelle Rodriguez and Kendall Jenner.
While interest in the t-shirts has had a spike in the midst of the growing popularity of the #BlackLivesMatter movement, the 21-year-old who started making the shirts actually didn’t intend on being swept up in the movement.
Instead, he says, it was all about pushing buttons and challenging traditional beliefs.
“I like poke fun at sacred cows,” he told HuffPost. “I’m taking the idea that God is a white male and doing the opposite of that, which is a Black woman.”
Chenfeld added that the t-shirts were his way of challenging the beliefs of his Jewish family.
He was only 13 when he decided to step away from all forms of organized religion.
“Sometimes when you get really religious, it becomes sexist and that’s when I tap out,” he said. “And that’s why I’ve never been a super religious person.”
For Rev. Dr. Jacqueline J. Lewis, a Senior Minister at Middle Collegiate Church, the fact that Chenfeld is a self-proclaimed Jewish atheist does not take away from the impact these shirts could have.
“It’s important for people to keep the contemporary conversation going about who God is, what God wants and how we relate to God,” she told HuffPost. “The good outcome is if some Black child somewhere bumps into it and goes, ‘Well maybe…maybe God’s not an old white guy and if so, what does that say about me?’ “
The pop culture quote certainly isn’t the first time God has been described as a Black woman.
The author of “The Shack,” William P. Young, pictured God as a Black woman named Elouisa.
A Black feminist, Ntozake Shange, wrote an iconic book-length poem titled “For Colored Girls Who Have Considered Suicide When The Rainbow Is Enough” in which she says that she “found God” in herself as a Black woman and “loved her fiercely.”