Influencers and 27+ Twitter V. The Nation of Black Twitter, (UK, 2020)

Introductions and Disclaimers

Written 29/04/2020

Disclaimer: this is gonna be a long one, I can’t lie. Grab a cuppa and some biscuits (this is about as British as I’ll ever get in this life). I might even split it in two… we’ll see.

My goodness me! What a week it’s been. To say that I was overwhelmed is an understatement but we’ll settle for that turn of phrase.

Welcome back my lovelies, I hope you’re all staying safe. I’ve been away and will continue to be “away” for the next two weeks because of my final uni deadlines – a full update on all that is pending.

This however, is a post that I just needed to do to process my current emotions.

I don’t really share my personal business on any platform except a little bit here on my blog but even then, it’s never in detail. I will be sharing something quite personal so I just ask that that’s treated respectfully. Secondly, I will not be naming the accused for several reasons: 1) this is a personal article about how I’ve personally been affected by all this 2) I haven’t been on twitter for almost 3 days now so I don’t know if these people have apologised. I do not want to be bashing someone who has potentially given a acceptable apology 3) my blog will not be used to target or deface individuals because that’s just not the energy here. My blog is about progression, so let’s progress with the matter at hand…

Context

Key word:

Colourism – “Discrimination based on skin color, also known as colorism or shadeism, is a form of prejudice or discrimination usually from members of the same race in which people are treated differently based on the social implications from cultural meanings attached to skin color.

For my readers who don’t know what’s been happening on UK twitter and are from different parts of the world, let me give you a little bit of context.

The drama all started over cakes 🤦🏾‍♀️. During quarantine many have found their true calling as sprinkle cake bakers and honestly more power to them. But an accusation was made about a particular Albanian baker and her black fiancé being anti-black. The lady didn’t want to really go unto details – in fact I watched as she resisted giving more information and rather positively decided to provide a list of “Dr. Umar approved Bakers.”

However, many people wanted to know what exactly she was talking about. Another lady having seen this, posted screenshots of anti black, colourist rhetoric from the couple from the years 2012/13.

And so it began.

First it was just people from 27+ Twitter with huge followings. DJs, podcasters, events and content creators or just notable accounts. Everyone on Twitter knows that there’s a “who to follow list” in order to tap into each specific part of Twitter, right? So imagine thé UK black Twitter who to follow list but the 27+ side of it all.

At first I was just shocked and disgusted. So many degrading tweets, specifically aimed at dark skinned women, from people who I followed, interacted with on a daily basis – some even being people I’d befriended. I think the flip actually switched when I saw people I was real cool with had tweeted like that.

See their reason why I only follow about 740 people on Twitter (and very soon even less), is because I know that I have the power to cultivate my online space into whatever I want it to be. There’s no pressure to follow people whose content I do not want to see. In fact – I have people I’m friends with in person but hate their online presence so I block them online. I spend a lot of time on social media before because of my job and now because of boredom. Therefore the things I witness online have to be things that are not damaging to my mental state. I cannot constantly expose myself to craziness. So 740 people – a lot of which I know in my actual day to day life, many I’ve met at events, some I’ve befriended through twitter and others I’m just very cool with. If you see me interacting with people on the TL I’m always trying to learn from them or question them or just bantering. I DM people who I know have knowledge on areas I don’t with questions about law, finance, even book recommendations – because why would I follow you to not interact with you?

So at that point I’m realising that all these people I had let into my space were all people who had shown such strong negative feelings towards black women. I haven’t been sleeping lately because essays 🥴. When I’m tired my emotions are heightened.

I was so angry looking at my screen. I was seeing people say that black women deserved to be raped, are equal to dogs, are ugly and so dark they would disappear in the night and so on. Old tweets prior to their rebrands has resurfaced and I felt sick. I’ve had experiences with colourism as a darker skinned woman so this resurfaced all of that.

Banter To You, Personal For Me

Between 2017 and early 2019, I was making really poor friendship and relationship choices. In addition, I also was following so many people and almost felt an obligation to follow some of them. My online space was a mess. For just over a year I’ve been building a safe space for myself online, blocking and unfollowing anyone that messed with that, regardless of who they were.

I chose to do this after a short but significant relationship. I’ve never shared this on such a wide scale so 🥴 but it’s relevant.

I didn’t want a relationship when I started talking to him. Neither did he. But eventually he’d start calling me his girl and making advances. I turned them down for like 4 months because I really wasn’t interested, until I eventually caught feelings and gave in December 2018. We went on a couple of dates and by the 1st Jan, 2019 it was official. Imagine things were absolutely fine during that 4 month talking stage. Little did I know that this guy was about to become the biggest bastard of my life.

At first it was really tiny things – actually they weren’t little but I chose to believe they were to protect a doomed relationship (I’ve grown a lot from this foolishness). But eventually it spiralled out of control. I like to joke around – everyone who knows me knows I’m cool with banter. But this guy would actively comment on my insecurities and make jokes. At first I laughed them off but eventually I communicated that I didn’t like them – yet he continued. I didn’t have the strength that I had now back then: when I met him, I had just been with a guy who had forced himself on me. I was scared of men. I felt unsafe talking to men. But during that 4 month talking stage he made me feel very safe, very secure. It didn’t matter at the time that he was broke as hell or not the best looking because I felt protected. So when the person I thought could protect me from harm started pretty much insulting me for laughs it messed with me. If that’s how my boyfriend sees me, how on Earth is everyone else seeing me?!

The relationship became ridiculous when he told me that “he still had options” but for some reason I accepted his apology and stayed. He kept telling me that I needed to gain weight – bro my body was so peng?! Never in my life had I ever felt insecure about my body. I left that relationship with completely new insecurities, ones that I didn’t even think twice about before. And even tried to gain weight for him like an idiotic idiot. Then he finally said that he was having a discussion with our mutual friend and had concluded that “you’re not my type but I just happen to be with you anyways because that’s life.” Negro what?!

There’s two sides of every story but if you speak to this guy he’ll tell you that he was an absolute bastard to a woman who did THE MOST for him. I’m not the type to expose all of the details of that though. Eventually he started airing me because he “wanted to push me away”. “I don’t deserve you”, he said like an idiotic idiot idioting. I ended the relationship right there. It took me a total of 2 days to get over him, the person. But it took me a year to recover from the things he had said. I slipped back into self harming a few weeks after that relationship ended. A few months later I stayed away from men completely, feeling insecure, ugly, and unsafe both physically and emotionally. I had to rebuild my confidence. I had to undo all of the crap he made me feel. I’m still kind of undoing it but now I’m confident and proud to be me so when you see me tweet about how beautiful I am – I beg let me live.

When I saw that he also had be called out for being anti black women, my anger switched into something else. I became upset and all those memories resurfaced. If I had known that he had a “hate black women phase”, I would’ve never gone near him.

So whilst this was banter for everyone else – and believe me I found the jokes funny at points too – I was deeply troubled by thinking I could’ve have avoided ever being with a guy who pretty much dated me to tell me how much he didn’t like about me.

People keep saying that those people have changed and can’t still be the same people they were 8-10 years ago – for some – yes absolutely. But for some, like my ex, they’ve just transformed that hate into bullying behaviours that they would impose on their partners in a relationship. See it’s cool to date a black woman now. We’re in fashion. If you don’t, you’re questionable and perhaps a coon. But you’re gonna date her and express your self hate whilst being with her, what’s the point?

I’ve also experienced sexual abuse in the past and I’m a bit…

So seeing the tweets about black women being animals and deserving to be r*ped, the homophobia, the colourism all in one go – I just kinda stopped loving myself for a little bit. (This is as personal as it’s ever getting.)

Influencers

When the influencers, rappers, stars who we, BLACK WOMEN, created and supported – even financially, started being exposed as being self hating, racist, anti black women, colourists, that was the final straw for me.

I was so shocked that so many of the people o had supported had had a phase when they tweeted pure hatred towards black women.

I had to unfollow the accused. I didn’t bother asking anyone any questions, I just removed them because I was too upset to really even be questioning anyone, friend or not. I deactivated my Twitter and got on with my essays.

What’s The Verdict, Your Honour?

There are people, like my ex, have taken their hate and transformed it into ugly and maybe irredeemable characteristics. People who will bring their notepad apologies to the Twitter court of law and EXPECT to be forgiven and accepted and supported how they once were. I’ve read apologies that have pretty much said “it is what it is, I said what I said, sorry and that but that’s nuff said.” Lol are you kidding a me?!

But others have truly grown into self loving black men and women. I cannot instruct anyone to cancel everyone. I don’t entirely believe in cancel culture. I think how you respond to the people you’ve hurt is what matters. I just need to hear a sincere apology because I’m not incapable of forgiveness.

What We’re Not About To Do

It makes little to no sense to me that whilst rioting online about influencers who have torn down and degraded black women in the past, we tear down these influencers appearances in the exact same manner. They did this 8 years ago when some of them where 13-17 and when Twitter was a very different place – please it’s 2020 – what’s your excuse?

Do not become like the people who hurt you. That renders all the outrage pointless. This is another thing that drove me to deactivate. People were talking about people’s dead babies and dead parents. Are you OKAY?! In fact the real question is – are you even angry? Or is this just Twitter bants for you to collect retweets from? I didn’t want to keep retweeting and pushing the drama, I didn’t want to keep infecting my space with all this madness or get carried away by the need to post something to be funny. So I deactivate and I’m here writing.

So What Now?

By the time I post this, I’ll be back on Twitter and almost done with university. I’m hoping that sincere apologies have been issued in my absence, I’m hoping that those on the receiving end have weighed their anger and actions carefully and not fallen into the trap of becoming like the accused. I’m hoping we as a community can recover. I’m hoping that discussions about colourism are now welcomed and openly had. I’m hoping that the accused actively try to assess whether they truly have grown from their past or whether they’re telling us that they have that so that we can accept their brand.

We cannot condemn these people to a life of being hated by their own unless they show us no true remorse. But as an individual I find circumlocution counterproductive. If don’t want you in my space – I’ll unfollow and that’s that. We don’t need this to be all we talk about because that would just suck all the positivity out of our social spaces.

And to those who are currently 13-17 – I beg don’t be an idiot. Learn from this madness and take the steps towards loving and accepting who you are by surrounding yourself with positivity. My melanin queens – keep slaying, don’t feel any less beautiful because of this.

In fact, let’s just end this long arse article right here because I’m over it.

Everyone else, don’t be an idiot, Stay blessed and stay safe.

Knees

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