Black Stories Matter

Criticism_freedman_defender_webSamuel G. Freedman at VQR:

During the summer of 2013, shortly after George Zimmerman was acquitted of the fatal shooting of an unarmed black teenager named Trayvon Martin, word leaked out that a juror was already shopping around a prospective book about the case. One particular Twitter user, Genie Lauren, was so outraged that she logged on to condemn the literary agent who was representing the juror. As Lauren later explained, “I didn’t think it was right that someone would make money off of this tragedy.” Almost immediately, thousands of other people began tweeting at the agent, a protest petition circulated online, and the book project was dropped.

By some readings of recent history, this episode marked the emergence of Black Twitter, a term that refers to the concentrated, effective, and proudly parochial use of the social-media platform by African Americans. In the years since the Zimmerman trial, Black Twitter has been an information-sharing and opinion-shaping phenomenon for everything from the BET Awards to the Michael Brown killing in Ferguson, Missouri. Black Twitter, of course, gave birth to the hashtag that became a slogan that became a movement: #BlackLivesMatter.

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