By now you’ve probably seen a flood of helpful Instagram articles about unpacking white privilege and being a better ally. There are hashtags like #PullUpOrShutUp dedicated to calling out hollow corporate efforts from brands to position themselves as progressive—the challenge asks brands to release the number of black employees they have at a corporate executive level. Even K-Pop stans have been putting their fan cams to work blocking police snitching apps.
While digital activism must always be tied to efforts to affect tangible material change, the creative anti-racism efforts that Gen Z are throwing down are something of a marvel.
Twitter users are sharing fake celeb gossip to promote petitions and anti-racism resources
So we know social media has a massive problem with Fake News, inflammatory ads and clickbait. Now, fake headlines are being used to spread petitions for the victims of police brutality and murder. Clicking on a thread about Rihanna’s hugely anticipated album R9, for example, leads you to a list of Black Lives Matter resources and petitions demanding justice.
Another involved an upcoming collab between Supreme and Louis Vuitton, the creator sharing in a tweet reply that “if you were looking forward to buying something from this, then you're legally obligated to donate to one of the organizations listed.” As of right now, a fake thread about how Jay Z ruined Beyoncé and Rihanna’s friendship stands at over 100,000 retweets. Fake news for a real cause. Love it.
TikTok users are making educative anti-racism videos
TikTok, much to some teachers' dismay/delight, has become a powerful educative force for informal history, politics and social theory lessons. Now, it’s also being used to spread ideas about defunding the police, unpack gas-lighting about protestors and ways society could exist outside the constraints of capitalism.
In one video, @mens_rights_activia breaks down how protesting is framed as “disruptive,” kneeling during the national anthem is framed as “disrespectful.” After going through the ways the Black Lives Matter movement is dismissed and minimised, she concludes, “I’ll say it for you: you just don’t want us protesting police brutality or systematic racism in ways that you cannot easily ignore or that make you feel uncomfortable. Now was that so hard to say?”
It’s an important point to be made, and one that definitely wouldn’t get air time from mainstream media sources, which continue to focus on the destruction of property rather than the loss of human lives.
The Gen Z activist Gem (@urdoinggreat) has declared “the revolution will be tiktok’d” and garnered a following on both Instagram and TikTok for their short, effective videos. Their videos offer commentary, insights and plain old exhausted activist humour about government responses to COVID-19, performative allyship and ongoing police brutality.
Breaking down the seemingly impossible idea of what a protest without police could look like, the work they’re doing is not only inspiring but could plant the seeds of actual culture change. As of writing, they have more than 700,000 likes on their TikTok videos.
Using YouTube ad revenue to donate to Black Lives Matter causes
The 20-year-old makeup Instagrammer Zoe Amira has put her skills to work in another innovative way. The Gen Z influencer created a YouTube video that enables people without the financial means to donate to use their streaming power instead. The video, titled “how to financially help BLM with NO MONEY/leaving your house (Invest in the future for FREE)” features black musician and visual artists and is packed with ads.
The idea is to leave it running in the background so that it passively racks up views on the ads, which will then be used to donate to protester bail funds, help pay for family funerals, and support other advocacy groups.
Though some people have mentioned that there are certain conditions you should follow to ensure it gets the maximum ad revenue—like muting your computer not the YouTube volume and watching a few videos before you repeat this one—it has now raised an estimated $30,000 in ad revenue. You love to see it, literally.
If you’re looking for more ways to support the Black Lives Matter movement, Syrup has a list of resources here. It's what Harry would want.