Social Media Activism: When Is It Time for Action

The 2015 Triumph Awards, an award show dedicated to recognizing outstanding achievements in humanitarian services, aired on TV One aired for the first time on October 3, 2015. Celebrities honored at the event were Tyrese Gibson,  John Legend, Rev. Joseph Echols Lowery, Wanda Sykes and Rosalind Hudnell of Intel. A key point of the show was a speech by rapper T.I., who was noted as a being a leader in the Black Lives Matter movement. T.I.’s speech dealt with social media activism and outlined its limitations and how he believes it can be more narcissistic than objectively productive. An excerpt from his speech is below.

United we stand
Because we created a hashtag for Sandra Bland
Jumped off the front of the ship and dove into the Internet waves
Swimming with DMs, likes, and comments
Not noticing how much that it makes us slaves
Chained by a man-made device small enough to fit into the palm of our hand
Guess that’s what’s made it easy to swipe to the left and scroll to the next
And forget about Sandra Bland

His speech mimics the call to action that Janelle Monae had when she posted a black and white image of a peaceful march with the caption “tired of retweets. get in the streets.”

How do you feel about social media activism?


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