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Old Struggles New Platforms: Black Athletes, Black Twitter and the Fight for Social Justice


Since the death of Michael Brown Jr. on August 9, 2014, the social media platform Twitter and its Black usership have become central actors in the production and dissemination of news, political action, and protests challenging anti-Blackness. This dissertation explores what I call the Black Twitter Turn as a pivot away from what I term selfsploitation as its primary identifiable cultural currency. The Black Twitter Turn has transformed Twitter into a place to pushback and challenge dominant white racial frames rooted in white supremacy. It also serves as a site for making Black voices and concerns audible and unavoidable as both a community and as a media force. Black Twitter has provided community for working-class folk, Black freedom fighters and also for those considered to be Black elites (athletes and celebrities), furnishing them all with a safe-space to publicly protest anti-Blackness, becoming a homeplace of resistance.

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