If you’ve been on Twitter today or other social media sites, you may have seen the hashtag #BlackOutDay trending. You may have also noticed several photos of beautiful black people on your Twitter timeline. Some users have been confused about the meaning behind this day.
#BlackOutDay is a social media campaign created to celebrate black history and black beauty. This day was also created to help fight negative stereotypes and images as portrayed by the media. YouTube celebrity Frenchesca Ramsey spoke with ABC News about the importance of this day.
“We’re asking black people to share pictures, videos and GIFs of themselves to celebrate our people coming from all different walks of life. It’s a celebration of black beauty and our individuality.
“Unfortunately, in most popular media talking about black people and our bodies, it’s mostly of us breaking the law, being killed or mistreated. So it’s nice to combat these negative images and stereotypes with positive representations of ourselves.”
Ramsey said that a friend on Tumblr asked her to help promote #BlackOutDay. It was originally created by a member named T’von under the Tumblr username “expect-the-greatest.”
Tumblr blogger V. Matthew King-Yarde also helped create awareness to make sure that the campaign would go viral. Yarde also created a logo for #BlackOutDay, as seen above. His friend, Marissa Sebastian, helped brainstorm the hashtag that’s now trending on Twitter and other social networking sites.
T’von wanted to create the campaign after he realized that black people are hardly celebrated on his Tumblr or Twitter dashboard. He wrote his thoughts about it on his blog last month.
“I’m really sick and tired of seeing the ‘European standard of beauty’ prevail. It’s past time for the beauty of black people to be showcased. Black History Month is always excellent, but one month isn’t enough to celebrate our heritage and our beauty. ALL black people are beautiful and worthy of praise and admiration, and Blackout day is a step towards that.”
Ramsey noticed the blog post that T’von wrote and said that she noticed there’s little representation of black women in the fashion and entertainment industries.
“It’s a narrow representation. Black people are not a monolith. We come in so many different skin tones, hair types, personalities. One of my followers sent me a message showing the pictures to her little sister who doesn’t feel confident about her dark skin and hair, and she felt better and more empowered.”
#BlackOutDay has become one of the top hashtags on Twitter in the United States. There were reportedly over 58,000 at noon, according to Twitter analytic service named Topsy. Organizers have already discussed making #BlackOutDay a regular social media event. It could happen on the first Friday of every month.
Of course with celebrating black people, there were people complaining on Twitter and other social networking sites. The hashtag #BlackOutDay didn’t go without its share of controversy. Some users said, “What if there was #WhiteOutDay? It would be called racist?”
Some would argue that since there’s a large representation of white people and European beauty everywhere you look, there wouldn’t be the need for such a campaign. Plus, creating the hashtag #WhiteOutDay undermines the importance of this cause. That is why #BlackOutDay has quickly become an extremely important social media campaign and event.