On Tuesday, the #ShareTheMicNow campaign garnered national attention as it spread across social media platforms. The social media campaign was organized by Black women including Bozoma Saint John, Luvvie Ajayi Jones, Glennon Doyle, and Stacey Bendet in light of recent protests against police brutality that disproportionately targets Black Americans. According to the organizers, the aim of #ShareTheMicNow was to “magnify Black women’s lives and stories.”
The outcome of the social media campaign was that 46 Black women—including activists, entrepreneurs, authors, and celebrities—spent the day taking over the social media accounts belonging to 46 prominent White women. The organizers of #ShareTheMicNow estimated that these social media takeovers reached an audience of approximately 300 million on Instagram.
Black women like Tarana Burke, Brittney Cooper, Alexis McGill Johnson, and Zerlina Maxwell, among others, were given platforms to speak about the issues that frequently go unnoticed and undiscussed by major media outlets and celebrities. Recent events have proven again that many of these issues disproportionately affect Black communities and Black women.
Johnson, who took over Senator Elizabeth Warren’s (D-MA) Instagram account, discussed the “over policing of black bodies” in workplaces, schools, public institutions, and the healthcare system. Meanwhile, Cooper took over author Elizabeth Gilbert’s account and called attention to the importance of considering intersectionality in conversations about feminism. Cooper wrote, “White women and Black women don’t experience womanhood the same.”
In their mission statement, the organizers of #ShareTheMicNow said, “When the world listens to women, it listens to white women.” Historically, social movements, including the women’s movement, and other social and professional spaces have been criticized for not fostering intersectionality and instead treating women as monolithic. As certain spaces have begun to amplify white women’s voices, in many cases, Black women’s voices have been muted and ignored.
Given the ways in which issues of systemic racism uniquely impact Black communities, including healthcare and police brutality, organizations and individuals have faced added pressure to foster diversity and inclusivity. In drawing attention to intersectionality, the #SharetheMicNow campaign reasserted that achieving justice requires adequately addressing the ways in which Black women remain marginalized because of both their race and gender.
Sources: The Hollywood Reporter 6/9/20; Today 6/10/20; Elle 6/9/20; Los Angeles Times 6/10/20