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Black Is Truly King: When Will America Realize It?


What the hell is an NFT, could probably sum up my feelings for the first half of 2021, a year that was supposed to be vastly better than what we all went through in 2020. How could a year where we saw a pandemic stop the world, lose such greats such as Kobe Bryant and Chadwick Boseman, and watched as Black and Brown bodies continued to be subjected to police brutality, be topped with an even more chaotic news cycle and events? I don’t think anyone knows the why or how no matter how many mercury retrogrades they blame for such disastrous times. As we all thought of ways to entertain ourselves in lockdown, gain inspiration to actually work from home, and overall creative ways to actually get out of bed, there were cultural hot topics that dominated our social media timelines and the news cycle this last year and a half.



Clubhouse


Initially launched in April 2020, the social audio app caused a commotion between iPhone users and Android users, with the former being able to access the popular app. Clubhouse did not just ignite a tech war between the phone carriers but also adapted to a system as American as apple pie - an invite-only “elite” system that only allowed new users to join the app if they were well connected and could score an invite from someone already on the app. Rooms were set up to host panels with experts, and other rooms were set up to talk about the panels that hosted those experts. Some users sold their invites and others felt validated with a sense of community with whatever topic was at hand.


The Black community created shows reimagined popular musicals and performed live over the app for listeners to enjoy. Other users were in awe of being able to speak to their favorite celebrities at any given time. It wasn’t long before Black users realized that perhaps they were giving too much of their content and ideas away for their non-Black counterparts to benefit from. The ruckus that Clubhouse once caused has relaxed a bit, well over a year since launching. Now, Clubhouse is available to Android users, and invites are no longer a thing. Recently it was reported that the app that once beat Instagram, and Tiktok in weekly downloads, only saw 484,000 downloads during the middle of July. Pitching your startup in a room filled with strangers may be a thing of the past, as the jury is still out on the longevity of the app that once brought us all together.


Critical Race Theory


As political divisions have a stronghold on our government, those who are opposed to the progress of race relations in America found a new talking point to ruffle their base. Critical Race Theory (CRT) has made its way into the minds of conspiracy theorists, Fox News viewers, and Republican pundits who are strongly against teaching correct history in classrooms across America, much like their stance against the 1619 project. CRT by definition is a body of legal scholarship and an academic movement of civil-rights scholars and activists in the United States that seeks to critically examine U.S. law as it intersects with issues of race and to challenge mainstream American liberal approaches to racial justice. Seems innocent enough, seeing as though systemic oppression is woven into every aspect of American life. So how do a concept that is 40 years old just make its way into being under such a microscope and the topic of every debate on race? It is the game of politics. Those who oppose progress and are threatened by equality need something that can cause more discourse and political debate, in hopes of striking fear into those who do not take the time to educate themselves. As the debate rages on, the Texas Senate recently passed a bill that would remove a requirement for public schools to teach that the Ku Klux Klan is “Morally wrong”.


Juneteenth


Everyone knows what Juneteenth is, right? Wrong! Up until recently, many did not know the Holiday where mainly Black southerners from Texas celebrated the emancipation of slaves. How could so many Americans not know of this now federal Holiday? If only we had an academic study of the past 40 years, being taught to make sure American’s don't continue making the same mistakes. Originating in Galveston, Texas, Juneteenth became a recognized federal Holiday in June of 2021, days before June 19th. Signed into law by President Biden, many celebrated this well overdue recognition, while others criticized America for nothing more of performing in an effort to take attention off of racism that is still in the workplace, in the medical field, in sports, in Hollywood, in education, and all other institutions that constantly promote liberty and justice for all.


Black Creators On TikTok Strike - The hashtag #Blacktiktokstrike put fear in many white influencers' hearts this year after Black creators on the popular app refused to post any new dances to accompany the latest music that everyone had on repeat. Tired of not getting credit, tired of the algorithm working against them, and tired of not being afforded the same opportunities that white influencers received by copying dances from Black creators, our dancing Brothers and Sisters said enough was enough. In March, late-night talk show host Jimmy Fallon invited TikTok star Addison Rae Easterling to perform a series of eight viral TikTok dances on his show, none of which she created. The creators of those dances were not featured for the segment, nor were they given credit. The strike is working! Ask yourself, when was the last time you struggled to learn a popular dance to a popular song on the app or from your friends or children?


Without Black Culture what would America be? Without our culture, things don't move. From our art to our music. From our dance moves to our fashion. From our voices to our creativity in all aspects of our lives, Black Culture saves America; time after time again. Through all of the glory, it is time to recognize that our culture is under attack and must be protected so that we benefit from what we create.


Check out our Culture Issue.



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