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Live with Qvemos

Confronting Digital Blackface

Originally aired on Wednesday, April 12, 2023

Let's talk about digital blackface. If you've been on social media, you've seen it: the gifs of Raven-Symoné frantically chewing gum while cutting her eyes from side to side, Oprah Winfrey shouting, “You get a car!” or NeNe Leakes deadpanning, “I said what I said.” When non-Black people use these memes, they are borrowing the expressions and faces of Black people, and that's digital blackface. It's not a fun and harmless social media practice — it flattens Black people's expression into stereotypes and co-opts their voices and culture.

In case you missed it, Qvemos went live on YouTube with two of our favorite internet experts to break down what digital blackface is, confront the harm it can cause, and note steps everyone can take to make social media a more empowering place for women and LGBTQ+ Black people and other folks of color.

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A headshot of Tressie McMillan Cottom.
Tressie McMillan Cottom
Professor, Center for Information, Technology and Public Life at UNC-Chapel Hill; New York Times columnist
A headshot of Rachelle Hampton.
Rachelle Hampton
Host of “In Case You Missed It,” Slate's podcast about the internet
A headshot of Karen Hawkins.
Karen Hawkins
Story editor, Qvemos

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