Posting on Instagram Isn’t Enough
Posting on Instagram Isn’t Enough
BY : ZARNA SURTI | IMAGE COURTESY OF @BLAIRIMANI
We are all in love—hopelessly, desperately, at every moment in time—with the internet. Whether it’s obsessively googling your most-likely-a-cold symptoms or scrolling through every social media feed on your phone, we’re hooked. But even though we live in an age of endless memes and oddly-comforting kinetic sand videos, some of the largest benefits of the internet are rooted in two simple things: digital communication and conversation.
If it weren’t for the internet, you most likely wouldn’t keep up with that random person you went to highschool with—you know, the one who has two kids, a beautifully furnished loft, and a Rottweiler—oh, and they enjoyed a particularly picturesque vacation to Morocco recently. Yes, it can be a bit much, but you get the point. One thing we might not want to know, however, is something that comes with all social media territories—the always interesting and controversial subject of politics.
Social media has consistently been a breeding ground for discussions around politics and the government. It can sometimes be ugly, sometimes educating, and sometimes overwhelming. There’s never been a more important time to have the conversation, but often, social media activism (also referred to as clicktavism) feels like a one-off viral moment. Even though the ability to reach millions of people is an obvious benefit, digital activism absolutely has to come face-to-face with physical action to make an actual difference.
For example, you recently saw your feed flooded with posts about saving net neutrality or fighting against lifting the ban on trophy hunting—and although we might not have even discussed these issues so openly before the internet, how many users who posted actually did anything about it? For everyone one person who acts, there are hundreds—maybe thousands—who don’t. On the contrary, there are others, like myself, who are guilty of not posting enough. Although we might be actively helping the situation offline, we aren’t bringing awareness to the issue when we should be. The best case scenario would seem to be a balance, of awareness and activism both online and off.
Below, we recommend five women of color-focused social media accounts to follow. Each of them includes activists who take it beyond just posting—you could say they’ve found the perfect balance of politics, awareness, and of course, the perfect selfie.
You might remember the first time you heard of Blair Imani. In July 2016, she was famously arrested at a Black Lives Matter protest in Baton Rouge in a response to the killing of Alton Sterling. This put her on the map as an activist, but she’s been one long before that. Blair is a beautifully intelligent, queer, black, Muslim woman, who has worked with organizations like GLAAD, appeared on MSNBC, and guest lectured at Yale University—not to mention she was presented at Harvard University for the inaugural National Muslim Women’s Leadership conference. She’s an activist who uses social media to help spread the word to truly help minority communities.
Ericka’s activism came to the forefront when she went topless at Brooklyn’s Afropunk Festival in 2016, showing her double mastectomy scars. She’s a Black Queer Femme activist, speaker, and award-winning sexuality educator whose voice is rooted in “leading thought around human sexual expression as it intersects with race, gender, chronic illness, and disability.” Not only is she one of the most authentic voices on social media, she also leads open conversations constantly and even started her own podcast recently.
Started by everyone’s favorite model-turned-activist, Adwoa Aboah, Gurls Talk is a self-proclaimed movement. It’s become a safe and trusting platform for girls to openly share their experiences and feelings, and along with this space comes their social media channels—full of current news, live streams, politically actionable events, and community gatherings. In one of their most recent posts about ending slavery in Libya, they chose to tag organizations to support within the Instagram post—a great example of ways to lead digital activism to physical activism.
Desi-Kenyan writer and editor Lara Witt has been on our radar for awhile now. She’s an intersectional feminist who has written for everyone from BUST to Teen Vogue to Harper’s Bazaar, and is currently the Managing Editor for Wear Your Voice. Her goal is to “provide platforms for marginalized voices with a focus on having other black, indigenous, and people of color writers tell their own stories and narratives.” Her feed is constantly full of POC goodness and minority-based news you’ll love keeping up with.
Go to their Instagram page and you’ll see their beautiful profile photo: a black circle with the words “#NoTrumpism” in all white. Their voices and identities are as clear as that profile photo: pro-POC, anti-Trump. Over the past nine years, Afropunk has become more than just a music festival—it’s a cultural movement that celebrates people of color and provides a safe space for inclusivity and creativity. Started by Jocelyn Cooper and Matthew Morgan, each one of their social feeds celebrates POCs and the work they’re achieving every single day. You’ll also see physical activations at each of their events supporting various causes and minority-driven political issues.