Hulu’s Black Twitter documentary is a vital cultural chronicle

They say Twitter isn’t real life, but Black Twitter proved otherwise. For years, this phrase has been a way to ignore the real-world impact of social media conversations, especially when they spark radically new ideas. But that’s clearly not true when you look at Black Twitter, the site’s unofficial community of black users. #BlackLivesMatter and #OscarsSoWhite. Hulu’s new documentary Black Lives Matter: A People’s History Wired article by Jason Parham, explores the rise of society and its global impact. Over the course of three gripping and often hilarious episodes, the series cements itself as an important cultural document.

“The way I would define black Twitter is as a place where black culture hangs out digitally,” said Prentice Penny, HBO’s series director and former showrunner. Invalid, in an interview with the Engadget Podcast. “And even though it’s a public space—obviously, it’s Twitter, anyone can get in there—it still felt like you were having conversations with your friends, like you’re in the back of the bus. The dining room, so that’s the energy of it.

In particular, Penny says, Twitter felt special because there was no real hierarchy, especially in the early days. This meant that even celebrities were not immune to being mocked or acted on their social media profiles (eg Rihanna’s popular early Twitter presence). In its heyday, Twitter felt like a place where money or class didn’t matter.

“It was about equalizing a lot of things, that someone you didn’t know in Kentucky could have the same strong opinion as someone you respected, didn’t it?” Penny said. “And I think that’s what makes the venue so fresh, because we don’t have venues in this country that really have a level playing field.”

Twitter also felt really different from other social networks in the late 2000s. Back then, Facebook was mostly about connecting you with school friends and family members – it wasn’t really just a place to hang out and joke around. Twitter’s enforced brevity also made it unique, Prentice notes, because you had to really focus on what you were trying to say in 140 characters.

“Each of the creators [in the series] Twitter had a different idea of ​​what it should be,” Penny added. “Some thought it should be a town square, some thought it should be a news feed… I think there’s something we’re really doing with Black culture. well, since we’re often given scraps of stuff, we have to redefine something like taking the worst of the pig and making soul food… I think we’re really good at accepting things that could be different things. and make it mild for us.’

The documentary explores the many ways Black Twitter uses the platform to both have fun and initiate serious social action. The community has helped make live tweeting TV shows a common occurrence, and that’s one reason Scandal turned into a hit television show.

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