Never to be underestimated or duplicated, #blacktwitter brought many entertaining and politically charged conversations to social media in 2014. From the public’s reaction to Pharrell calling himself the “new black” to the support of peaceful protests for Michael Brown and Eric Garner, the comments from this powerful online community were nothing short of amazing.
What is Black Twitter, you ask? Salon’s Feminista Jones defines it as “a collective of active, primarily African-American Twitter users who have created a virtual community that participates in continuous real-time conversations.” Whether it’s a major moment in entertainment, pop culture, or sociopolitical issues, if it happened, Black Twitter had something to say about it.
This collective community of users has no filter, and if you’re easily offended, consider yourself warned. With 2014 in our rearview, here are some of the biggest conversations that happened on Black Twitter last year. 2015 better bring it.
The “new black” idea was conceived and expressed by Pharrell during his interview with Oprah in April. “The new black doesn’t blame other races for our issues. The new black dreams and realizes that it’s not a pigmentation, it’s a mentality,” he explained. “It’s either going to work for you or it’s going to work against you and you’ve got to pick which side you’re gonna be on.” His comments left Twitter fuming:
Pharrell you are not New Black, you are RICH and therefore insulated from the problems affecting the rest of the Same Old Blacks. — New Money Machinko (@MeLaMachinko) April 16, 2014
After hearing his wife rant about wanting Idris Elba, Instagram user @Nova_Isig wrote complaining about the (attractive and talented) actor. The poem later went viral, with people making fun on a man sounding so hurt and intimidated by the actor. Elba eventually responded himself.
Idris Elba didn’t stop & pick up them tampons from CVS. I did. — Michael Felder (@InTheBleachers) February 18, 2014
Idris Elba didn’t help you mix the olive, coconut and castor oil with honey to help you make your hair luxurious. I did. — Jiggy Papi. (@CleezyTaughtU) February 18, 2014
Idris Elba didn’t tell you that your braids were nice even though he knew you were committing hate crimes against your edges …I did that — No Relation (@TheCosby) February 18, 2014
Life is hard when you have to compete with someone who looks like he just stepped out of a Bond film.
#SNLThe addition of Sasheer Zamata to the cast of Saturday Night Live (the first black female comedian in five years) was a great way to kick off the year in Black Twitter, as many tuned in to catch her first live show in January:
— kerry washington (@kerrywashington) January 7, 2014
— Brita James (@BritaJames) January 19, 2014
Jamie Nesbitt Golden kicked off #DangerousBlackKids, response to a society that often sees unarmed black kids as a threat, after the Michael Dunn verdict, in which Dunn, 47, was found guilty of murdering of 17-year-old Jordan Davis over loud music coming from Davis’ vehicle.
#BenzinoShotIn March, the Love & Hip Hop Atlanta star was shot by his nephew while attending his mother’s funeral. But the biggest WTF moment was when he later posted selfies in the hospital with friend and co-star Stevie J. Who would want to take a selfie in the hospital?
When you tell your mom you’re too sick for school and she ain’t buying it pic.twitter.com/LG0UaAnGt6
— Desus Nice (@desusnice) March 30, 2014
Still can’t belive that Benzino photo is real.. Looked like him and Dave Mays were in a play based on Lazirus and Jesus. — James Van Der Fleek (@BosNaud) March 30, 2014
#DonaldSterlingIf you still don’t know who Donald Sterling is, then you were living under a rock in 2014. NBA Commissioner Adam Silver banned Sterling, who was the previous owner of the Los Angeles Clippers, for life after TMZ released a recording of Sterling’s racist rant to his then-girlfriend, V. Stiviano. He received a lot of backlash from celebrities and players. The tape itself is cringeworthy, which added fuel to Twitter’s fire:
I feel sorry for my friends Coach Doc Rivers and Chris Paul that they have to work for a man that feels that way about African Americans. — Earvin Magic Johnson (@MagicJohnson) April 26, 2014
Sterling and his GF sound like they’re reading a wack play script. lmao!! — Chuck D (@MrChuckD) April 27, 2014
In April, extremist Muslim group Boko Haram kidnapped over 270 schoolgirls in northern Nigeria. #BringBackOurGirls was first used on social media by Ibrahim M. Abdullahi to spread awareness for the tragedy, and help aid in the return of those kidnapped. The hashtag brought an outcry of support for finding these women including First Lady Michelle Obama. Even though roughly 50 escaped, 276 are still missing according to the CBC.
Jeremy Meeks is a convicted felon whose mugshot went viral in June after the Stockton, Calif. police posted it on their Facebook page. It inspired the hashtag #FelonCrushFriday, where pictures of felons Twitter users considered attractive were shared. (The hype around his photo also led to reports that Meeks landed a modeling contract, which was eventually proven to be false.) This man was never dreamy to us, but many others seemed to think so:
— Erica MillerTime (@3allin0ut) January 1, 2015
— Mrs.Taylor (@KrissBrowne) November 5, 2014
#JustinBieberRacistAn old video of a 14-year-old Bieber making racist jokes found their way online in 2014. Following his first apology, more footage of the Canadian singer joking about racial slurs made its way to the public. Beliebers found every way they could to defend the star, but others weren’t convinced, considering this yet another reason to dislike him:
The actress received backlash for her comments on Ferguson and Michael Brown that she now describes as being naïve. Still, Black Twitter let Palmer have it when she showed up to the Ferguson protests in a skirt and heels:
Keke Palmer really went to the protest like she was on Rip The Runway — The Notorious T.I.M (@BionicBombshell) August 18, 2014
Keke Palmer wore some damn stilettos to Ferguson. She wasn’t there to help. She was there for the photo op. — Larry Beyince (@DragonflyJonez) August 18, 2014
#EricaMena, #BowWowWhen the Love & Hip Hop star and 106 & Park host Shad Moss (previously known as Bow Wow) announced their engagement, the world couldn’t stop talking. Mena was in a public relationship with Cyn Santana just a few months prior, which fueled these hilarious reactions and skepticism from social media. Chill zone is nowhere to be found:
I ain’t even hatin on Bow Wow. Every nigga falls in love with a full blown whore once in his life.
— Tony Rock (@TONYROCK) November 19, 2014
Now wow checked Tony Rock for talking reckless….. I can’t take bow wow serious tho. I tried. — Ryan_Nicole_ (@Minnie__804) November 19, 2014
#NotDemBellsLifetime decided to air The Unauthorized Saved by the Bell Story based on the book by star Dustin Diamond. Diehard SBTB fans weren’t impressed by the film, and much of the cast publicly dissed Diamond’s version of the story. Black Twitter wasn’t a fan either, thus sparking the hashtag #NotDemBells. Oh and someone did find Eric the extra:
#RavenSymoneDuring her interview on Oprah: Where Are They Now?, the actress discussed how she doesn’t like labels, eventually saying she didn’t see herself as African-American. Black Twitter smelled Pharrell’s “new black” theory seeping in again and didn’t like it one bit:
Raven Symone knows she’s famous for being on arguably the greatest black sitcom of all time right? — Parappa Tha Trappa (@GuyNamedTawanda) October 6, 2014
The collective side eye/shade being directed Raven-Symone’s way right now could power cities. Nay, NATIONS. — Bim Adewunmi (@bimadew) October 6, 2014
For ONCE I want these New Blacks to keep it funky. Just say “I’m too rich to be bothered with being saddled with blackness,” Raven Symone. — New Money Machinko (@MeLaMachinko) October 6, 2014
Lifetime aired an unauthorized story of Aaliyah’s life (Aaliyah: The Princess of R&B) based off of Christopher Farley’s book Aaliyah More Than a Woman. Along with upsetting her family, producers did not having the rights to her music, leaving fans feeling empty, offended, and confused by the film. Timbaland, longtime producer and friend of the singer, went in on the movie and the executive producer Wendy Williams, while the questionable casting sparked epic Lifetime movie memes:
See a clip from Aaliyah: The Princess of R&B, below.
#SolangeWeddingNot to be overshadowed by her older sister (or that elevator), Solange married boyfriend Alan Ferguson in New Orleans in November. The stylish ceremony and fly wedding pictures gave everyone reason to swoon:
These Solange wedding pictures are going to make me depressed. Wtf? How can she look so celestial? — Bantu. (@BeingUpile) November 16, 2014
Wow Solange’s wedding images are epic. So much life and mood and texture and the palette is dreamy. It’s Black ethereality and gloriousness. — Trudy (@thetrudz) November 17, 2014
#BlackLivesMatter, #HandsUpDontShoot, #ICantBreathe2014 brought race relations in the U.S. to the forefront after numerous tragic cases of police brutality. When the officers responsible for the deaths of Michael Brown in Ferguson and Eric Garner in Staten Island were not indicted, outrage ensued. The latter prompted the hashtag #ICantBreathe in reference to Garner’s final words. Everyone from actors to professional athletes have been wearing t-shirts with the quote, as support for these injustices has gone global.
i am deeply disappointed in the non-indictment of the police officer who killed Eric Garner. The Dept. of Justice must step in now. — Russell Simmons (@UncleRUSH) December 3, 2014
Eric Garner died cuz he was selling cigs by the single. That’s a crime in NYC. Death is inexcusable. Police behavior sure looked inexcusable — John Nolte (@NolteNC) December 3, 2014
#ElizabethLautenThe former GOP staffer publicly criticized President Obama’s teenage daughters on her Facebook page. (As the Communications Director for Rep. Stephen Fincher of Tennessee, you’d think she would’ve known better.) Black Twitter moved very quickly, ultimately leading to Lauten’s resignation. We know what time it is:
Don’t forgot this either.She’s an equal opportunity offender #Ferguson #p2 #ElizabethLauten #BlackTwitter #UnitedBlue pic.twitter.com/0olWpMtdKS — & then there’s Maude (@proudliberalmom) December 1, 2014
[Photo Credit: Getty Images]